For a long time, IQ was lauded as the measurement of how likely one was to succeed. Many years and much research later, it was shown that in actual fact one’s EQ (emotional intelligence) is a clearer indicator of potential business success than not only a high IQ, but even of relevant previous experience.
The EQ is closely related to interpersonal skills. For someone in a managerial position, interpersonal skills are especially important. Interpersonal skills become more and more important as a person moves up the managerial ranks.
Whether you’re looking out for someone with managerial qualities, or you want to make sure your current managers have all the right skills, these are some of the interpersonal skills an effective manager should have.
Communicating clearly and concisely
One of the most vital interpersonal skills is effective communication. Managers need to be able to clearly and concisely communicate across instructions, feedback, and any other point ideas. Good communication requires that one know how to break down a message into simple parts and distil the core message from extraneous fluff. It also entails knowing how to translate the message for the specific listener. For instance, communicating across a technical matter to a junior trainee would be done differently than to a senior executive.
Good communication is not a one-way process, however. A manager also needs to be able to listen. Effective listening means listening attentively and being able to put one’s self in the speaker’s shoes. Good listening also includes being able to pick up on nonverbal cues, make allowances for cultural differences, and knowing that sometimes what’s even more important than what’s being said is what’s being unsaid.
In a work environment, conflict is always going to be an element. The thing that many people don’t realise is that conflict need not be a bad thing. Conflict can be healthy. It’s how the conflict is handled that is important. A manager needs to be able to deal with conflict without losing their temper, give constructive criticism rather than personal attacks, and defuse tense situations fairly.
Conflict needs to be handled tactfully and positively. However, even though conflict can be healthy, there are times when it is unnecessary. Is the manager someone who can resolve unnecessary conflict before it even starts, or is he the instigator of it?
When working with people every day, building rapport with them is very useful. This establishes trust, mutual understanding and unity – all vital when working as part of a team. Also, being able to be on good terms with everyone will go a long way in smoothing out potential issues. However, it’s also important to know where to draw the line between being someone’s superior and their friend.
A manager who lacks interpersonal skills generally doesn’t make for a good leader. Thankfully, it’s easier to improve an employee’s EQ than their IQ. So if they are lacking in any skills, they will likely be addressed in management courses. It’s important that managers know how to play well with others, as this will boost productivity, performance and morale.