Project Management

Interpersonal Skills and You

Oftentimes, we’re led to the assumption that interpersonal skills are just ancillary filling with which to pad our résumés. In actuality, the reverse is true. Interpersonal skills are the proverbial meat and potatoes of the business world. Michelle Labrosse of Quality Digest has more tips to share on the topic of honing those people skills.

Interpersonal skills matter and professional organizations are starting to notice. In fact, the PMBOK includes an entire section dedicated to what might be called the ‘people principles.’

Lead and Motivate Teams

Perhaps foremost among these skills are leadership, team building, and motivation. Someone who is good with people is able to build trust without using fear tactics, can align people to fit their ideal roles, and is well versed in the art of applying a variety of motivational incentives in situ.

Communicate Persuasively and Decisively

All of the above listed traits require an additional proclivity for effective communication, good decision making habits, and a knack for influence and persuasion. It almost goes without saying that good communication is the glue of any team, just as the ability to influence is a key trait of one who can motivate. And of course, any effective leader must be able to influence their peers and constituents.

Be the Office Diplomat

Reinforcing the argument that interpersonal skills demand the bulk of a manager’s attention is a host of other critical traits. One must be aware of global issues, meaning company politics and culture. One must also, like an international diplomat, build trust among coworkers, diffuse conflicts while acknowledging dissenting opinions, and coach underperformers into excellence.

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Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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