Crucial Interpersonal Skills for Managers

Image of woman teaching interpersonal skills to colleague.

Interpersonal skills comprise a wide range of capabilities that allow us to effectively communicate, cooperate, and work alongside others. Research has shown that many employers continue to leave interesting positions open because they feel that the applicants they meet do not display the communication and interpersonal skills required.

These days, many universities try to inculcate these abilities by teaching ‘soft skill’ subjects such as Conflict Resolution and Negotiation, but if you graduated from university over 10 years ago, you may not have necessarily been lucky enough to receive training on these vital skills. Discovering and honing these skills, however, are crucial when it comes to achieving optimal business success.

Image of woman teaching interpersonal skills to colleague.
Woman teaching interpersonal skills to colleague.

Why Investing in Interpersonal Skills Pays Off

Research indicates that the average small business owners in Australia are aged between approximately 45 and 54. The case is the same in other parts of the world, including the U.S., where the average age ranges from 48 to 54. Like our American counterparts, many of us may therefore  have missed out on interpersonal training at university. It is never too late to expand our abilities, though, and when it comes to investing in personal and professional improvement, this is one area that definitely pays big dividends because in essence, it can help with everything from management styles to the way we communicate verbally in writing, or handle occasional setbacks in presence of our team or clients.

What Interpersonal Skills will Training Help You Achieve?

When you invest your time and money in a course aimed at teaching core interpersonal skills for managers, some of the key subjects will include:

  • Clarity of verbal communication: Many managers possess expert knowledge on their field, but may not be natural writers or orators. Interpersonal skills training will always involve an analysis of the language you use, with an aim of helping you speak clearly and concisely for optimal results, and always in plain English.

    body language photo
    Photo by malias
  • Body Language: Psychologists often say that our body language is far more important than the actual words we use. To hone your abilities in this respect, your course leader may record videos of you during a role play, pointing out body language that may close you off from the people you wish to communicate with and making practical suggestions.

  • Listening: Many of us make the mistake of listening to our colleagues only long enough to answer back with our own thoughts or ideas. Listening does not simply involve being quiet and nodding in agreement; it is a skill that needs to be sharpened and enhanced with the right body language and mindset. This can be one of the hardest tasks for managers to learn, yet also one of the most useful. Managers can discover highly useful information just by asking for feedback and really listening to issues with goals, roles or process expressed by staff.

We have mentioned just a few important interpersonal skills, though interpersonal skills courses also teach students how to negotiate, handle problems and setbacks, and more. If you are interested in honing these skills, reading and self-help can certainly make a difference, although investment in a well structured course taught by seasoned professionals is the way to go if you wish to make a big difference to your small business.

Jenny Holt

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