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Interpersonal Skills Influence Performance

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  • 1. Leading printing executives into the futureInterpersonal Skills Influence Job PerformanceBy Jerry ScherPublished: June 11, 2013I challenge you to find a well written job description for management, sales, marketing and even IT positionsthat doesn’t mention the importance of having strong interpersonal skills as a pre-requisite. But as I continue toask what those skills/competencies consist of, too frequently folks struggle with a comprehensive response. Andto a certain degree they even have difficulty explaining why these competencies are important. So I would liketo shed some light on both of these issues – why one needs them, what they really consist of and how we canmeasure them.WhyIn your personal or business life your ability to interact with others may be a big differentiator in how successfulyou are. Frequently referred to as interpersonal or soft skills, one’s ability to communicate effectively, handleconflicts, sense and respond to others needs and diplomatically persuade others to your point of view are criticalbehavioral competencies. While in most jobs it is essential that you have a pre-determined degree of knowledge,technical expertise and skill, without interpersonal skills you certainly will struggle with those all-importantrelationships. These struggles can negatively impact your career as well as your ability to function as part of ateam. Most jobs today require that you be able to engage others, both internally and externally and it’s yoursocial skills that can make all the difference.As the job market continues to progress, our multi-generational workforce and dramatic changes in technologywill continue to result in the creation of different kinds of jobs. One’s ability to solve problems, make criticaldecisions, communicate effectively – verbally and non-verbally and manage diverse working relationships willrequire that candidates and employees strengthen their interpersonal skills. Whether we are focused on executiveor management positions, customer facing jobs, operational positions or creative IT jobs –the people skills thatare so difficult to define and develop are becoming increasingly more vital.WhatWhenever we want to manage behavioral change we first have to measure the attributes we want to manage orcoach. And while we can identify specific traits and competencies it is important to note that individual traitsalone do not tell the whole story. If we can identify traits that are either gentile or dynamic and assess the degreeof balance that exists between them we are able to relate these traits to how effectively one interacts with others.Measuring one’s ability to function as a productive team member as well as the degree of behavioral versatilitythey possess is critical information when considering a candidate for a job as well as how you design anindividualized coaching strategy for an existing employee. And keep in mind that if we are attempting to changeour own behavior or coaching an employee, we must first begin with self-awareness.Based on extensive research and the need to focus on developing interpersonal skills, HarrisonAssessments™ has identified a range of traits and competencies that represent one’s interpersonal skillswhichcan easily be measured. These competencies include both essential and desirable traits:
  • 2.  Diplomatic – the tendency to state things in a tactful manner Helpful – the tendency to respond to other’s needs and to assist or support others to achieve their goals Optimistic – the tendency to believe the future will be positive Outgoing – the tendency to be socially extroverted and the enjoyment of meeting new people Assertive – the tendency to put forward personal wants and needs Influencing – the tendency to try to persuade others Self-acceptance – the tendency to like oneself Self-improvement – the tendency to attempt to develop or better oneself Frank – the tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point and forthright Warmth and empathy – the tendency to express positive feelings and affinity towards others Tolerance of bluntness – the level of comfort related to receiving abrupt or frank communications Flexible - the tendency to easily adapt to change Collaborative – the tendency to collaborate with others when making decisions Open-reflective – the tendency to reflect on many different viewpoints Manages stress – the tendency to deal effectively with strain and difficulty when it occurs Relaxed – the tendency to fell at ease or calm while workingIn addition they have identified traits that should be avoided when interpersonal skills are important: Blunt – the tendency to be frank while lacking diplomacy or tact Defensive – the tendency to focus on self-acceptance while avoiding self-improvement Dogmatic – the tendency to be certain of one’s own opinions while at the same time not open todifferent ideas Harsh – the tendency to be overly strict or punitive when enforcing rules and procedures Dominating – the tendency to be assertive with one’s own needs while failing to respond to otherpeople’s needs Permissive – the tendency to be overly empathetic, failing to enforce necessary rules or make necessarycorrections to subordinate’s behavior Authoritative – the tendency to make decisions without collaborating with othersEach of the traits described above play an integral part in how an individual will build and maintainrelationships and work as a creative contributor to a team.HowSo how can we actually assess all of these traits and competencies so that we can predict an individuals’ degreeof interpersonal skills? The SmartQuestionnaire™ designed by Harrison Assessments™ measures more than150 traits, competencies, work preferences and interests. The questionnaire is administered on-line in less than30 minutes. Utilizing cross-referencing technology, it provides the equivalent amount of information of 2700multiple choice questions and the questionnaire has a built-in lie prevention system that ensures test validity andconsistency. By identifying the critical traits related to one’s interpersonal skills and creating a behavioralcompetency template, Harrison Assessments™ can predict an individual’s strengths and challenges related totheir degree of interpersonal skills. Consider how valuable this information could be when recruiting, hiring ordeveloping your valuable employees.If you are interested in learning about your own interpersonal skills; use this linkhttp://www.peakfocuscoach.com/product/interpersonalskills and follow the directions.Or if you would like more information about how to more effectively identify and assess your all-importantinterpersonal skills, contact Jerry Scher at jerry@peakfocuscoach.com or 404-931-9291. For information aboutHarrison Assessments™ – the highly acclaimed assessment technology – visit
  • 3. http://peakfocus.harrisonassessments.com/index.htmlStay tuned to this continual series – as we continue to focus the challenges of building an effective team.Email | Print | Order ReprintsJerry Scher has been engaged in the graphic communication industry for over 35 years, Jerrys primary goal -make those around him more successful.
  • 4. www.peakfocuscoach.comPeak Focus LLC © 2008-2013 • All rights reserved.Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY.About Peak Focus, LLCPeople. Performance. Profitability.Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and strengthen your team. Witha mix of resources that we’ve created ourselves, as well as several powerful toolswe’ve carefully assessed and believe in, we combine our passion and experience toguide companies and individuals toward optimized performance. Select your teammembers with confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, and learnhow to coach your entire team more effectively by engaging the experts at PeakFocus.For more information and access to free resources, please visit our website atwww.peakfocuscoach.comEngage With UsFree tools, resources & updatesLIKE us on FacebookCheck out our blogFollow us on TwitterFollow us on LinkedInAbout What They Think?WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization;offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence,industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and specialreports on emerging technology and critical events. WhatTheyThink also hosts webinarsand live events that are timely and relevant o today’s busy industry executives along withconsulting and speaker services that leverage a talented pool of writers and industryanalysts.