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How Good Are Your Interpersonal Skills?

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 1/3/2014

Building good interpersonal skills is crucial to your success as a Project Manager. Without being able to effectively communicate with your team, you may experience unhappy or dissatisfied workers, making it easy to miss goals and objectives.

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    Behavior and Interaction

    Become a Good Team Leader According to NC State University, interpersonal skills are “All the behaviors and feelings that exist within all of us that influence our interactions with others." That’s a bold statement—but in reality, if you’re a project manager and you can’t manage these behaviors and interactions in a positive way—you’re missing out and that could affect your projects. Below, find my list of interpersonal skills you should implement to have a happier work environment and trusted teams.


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    How Interpersonal Are You?

    Interpersonal skills are often grouped into three categories according to All PM.com and they include:

    • Values – How we view the world around us
    • Personal Commitment – How we think and act
    • Soft Skills – How we interact with people

    This nice short list, however, doesn’t offer a large list of interpersonal skills, but it does offer a good starting point to determine that list.

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    Under the “Value" Umbrella

    The Value Umbrella Our values influence our interpersonal behaviors and in varying circumstances such as:

    • Positive Attitudes – If you are a leader and walk around all day with a pessimistic attitude or offer negative comments or behaviors, how much do you think your team respects or trust you? They don’t, so turn those negatives into positives.
    • Organization Skills – Your values reveal how well you stay organized, schedule projects, and are concerned about timelines. If you’re wishy-washy about any of these things, you need to show some commitment.
    • All for One – If you think the world (or team, or management) is against you—all the time—no matter what you do—you’re not being a good Musketeer. Learn how to guide and don’t spend so much time on what people think of you—the rest will fall into place.
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    Under the “Personal Commitment" Umbrella

    Also on our list of interpersonal skills are those that include actions and thoughts including:

    • Communication – Your team can’t read your thoughts and they won’t understand how to act or work as a unit if you don’t communicate with them. Learn some effective communications skills and implement a great communication plan that works and is accessible to all.
    • Hands-On Commitment – If you’re an absent manager, how effective can you be? If you’re more interested in what’s going on after work than you are the project at hand, you need some hands-on interaction with your team and stakeholders.
    • Recognition Efforts – These are important and bar none, your team expects recognition for a job well done. If you take all the credit for your team, they’ll soon distrust you and perhaps not jump when you need them. This is a top must-have on the list of interpersonal skills you need.
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    Under the “Soft Skills" Umbrella

    How well do you interact with people? Are you shy, over or under-demanding, unsure, tough, or illusive? Try implementing some of these needed interpersonal skills.

    • Leadership Style – You can be a tough leader and still be effective. The most important thing here is to identify your leadership style, make it work for you and build on it.
    • Fairness – How fair are you when it comes to team performance? Do you always play favorites to one team member or another? If so, you can bet the farm your team notices this. Play fair and be open and honest with your team.
    • Teaching Skills – Do you actually teach your team on a new project management methodology or process—or do you just throw stuff their way with no direction or tools? Learn to be a teacher and you’ll become a better project manager.
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    What Now?

    Work on developing your people skills. Converse with your team members to get an idea of how they feel about the project, their tasks and other members of the team. Try taking a class or seminar on the topic, or picking up a book to learn more about the issue.

    Seminar companies such as Fred Pryor Seminars offers classes throughout the US and online. Skillpath also offers courses in effective management in both onsite and e-learning atmospheres that will help you improve as a leader. This list of interpersonal skills is a great starting point, but if your skills are lacking, find a mentor or take some courses to enhance your interpersonal achievements.

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    References

    NC State University retrieved at - http://www.ncsu.edu/counseling_center/resources/personal/interpersonal_skills/interpersonal_skills.htm

    All PM retrieved at - http://www.allpm.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1409

    Image Credit (FreeDigitalPhotos)

    Image Credit (FreeDigitalPhotos)