Interpersonal Skills – do you have them?

People regularly use words like “strong interpersonal skills” when describing themselves and companies often ask for good interpersonal skills when looking for new staff. From our experience, few people can give a useful description of what Interpersonal skills really are, but CEB (previously Saville Holdsworth),  a global leader in Talent measurement, gives us some useful insight.  They say that Interpersonal Ability comprises 3 factors:-

1) Interpersonal Sensitivity – shows concern and respect for others feelings, demonstrates an interest in others opinions and tolerant of different needs and view points.

What happens when there is too little

  • Steamrolls over others
  • Alienates / gives offense to others
  • Comes over as insensitive
  • Lacks empathy
  • Fails to pick up on others ideas
What happens when there is too much

  • Gets too involved in others’ problems
  • Overly influenced by others’ feelings
  • Avoids unilateral decision making
  • Sacrifices task accomplishment for  needs of individuals

2) Teamwork – cooperates and works well with others in the pursuit of team goals, shares information, supports others

What happens when there is too little

  • Seen as selfish
  • Restricts team progress
  • Creates disharmony
  • Doesn’t help others
  • Fails to acknowledge others’ contributions
What happens when there is too much

  • Overly compliant / too ready to go along with consensus
  • Afraid of competition
  • Unwilling to challenge
  • Avoids taking unilateral action
  • Suffers from ‘group think’

3) Building and maintaining relationships – Able to establish and maintain relationships with people at all levels, puts others at ease, promotes harmony and consensus through diplomatic handling of disagreements and potential conflict.

What happens when there is too little

  • May find self in conflict with others
  • Makes others feel uncomfortable
  • Creates disharmony / discord
  • Disagreements escalate
  • Has difficulty forming new relationships
  • Can be tactless
What happens when there is too much

  • Avoids playing devil’s advocate
  • Avoids expressing discordant views
  • May be too diplomatic – others may not get the message
  • Avoids potential conflict at all costs
  • Conflict remains unresolved

Recognise yourself?  If so, would any changes help you become better recognised in your current position or be more attractive to a new employer?