Good people skills are often referred to as soft skills. They are skills that enable a person to attract, relate well and co-operate with, interact with, possibly lead and manage, and get the best out of people. These skills are extremely important in life for every individual, though their importance greatly increases especially for people with leadership and managerial responsibilities. I believe you appreciate the value of these skills. Don’t you? Now, let us have a look at them.
These skills are numerous and include active listening, effective communication and teamwork. Ability to appreciate, motivate, influence, develop genuine interest in people, empathize etc also falls under people skills. Mediation, tolerance, fairness, emotional accommodation, negotiation, anger management, conflict management are components of these skills. Understanding body language, etiquette, emotional intelligence etc are all recognized as people skills.
Why then should these skills be a prerequisite for a manager? It is said that management is the art of getting things done with and through people. Managers work with people – they deal with and control people and things. They plan, organize, lead and direct, control and monitor, communicate, motivate etc. Do you think that, as a manager, you can accomplish these objectives if you don’t know how to relate and interact with people? Certainly not. What then is in these skills that make their possession vital for you a manager? Let’s consider some perspectives.
- Attracting and retaining people. If you have good people skills you are able to attract and retain good talent from the labour market. When you get the best, their technical and professional competencies and skills can collectively be utilized to achieve enterprise goals and objectives, through your leadership as a manager. With the right team of people you are certainly on your way to success as a manager. Even when managing, these skills help you as a manager, assess people and select the best. Your fairness makes you a balanced individual and this brings staffs closer to you.
- Good working relationships. The establishment and maintenance of good working relationships also depend on these skills. Your ability in this respect, as a manager, helps maintain an atmosphere of co-operation and team work and this improves productivity. Good working relationships help communication thereby enhancing your performance as a manager. Controlling and monitoring staffs also become easier if you have their co-operation resulting from good relationships. You can also build trust and confidence amongst the staffs and this earns you respect as a manager, enabling you to effectively lead and direct.
- Good working environment. Creating a warm and interactive environment is also a must for a manager. Such environments encourage brainstorming and free sharing of ideas and other information and these add value to your managerial role and hence the organization. Staffs also get motivated and fully engaged thus adding to achievement of objectives. A charged and energized working environment aids your achievement as a manager. Your openness to new ideas encourages good learning mistakes and innovation. Proper talent management improves productivity.
- Disposition, decision and action during challenges. With these skills you are generally calm and confident even in the face of challenges and difficulties. Your attitude towards people and the problems, coupled with your decision and subsequent actions, depend a lot on these skills and also determine the results that you eventually get. Wrong disposition, wrong analysis and understanding hence erroneous decisions and actions make you fail in your managerial and leadership role. Self control helps you to be a successful manager. You can also handle workplace conflicts adequately.
- Winning with people. Such skills enable you to have win-win scenarios by using winning techniques and winning language. As you inspire, commit, involve, recognize, praise and reward your people you make them work towards overall enterprise success. Your attributes such as kindness, carefulness, courtesy etc makes you likeable and all these enable you to win with people and hence achieve organizational goals and objectives.
Should you desire to learn more about such skills and a lot more on business management skills, check out Clayton’s book entitled The Wise Entrepreneur at Amazon.