The first thing that we must understand when we think of honing our interpersonal skills is that we must make useful assumptions. Assumptions determine the way we behave. In fact our assumptions play an important role in determining behavior. In turn behavior produces experiences. Surprising though it may appear, experiences reinforce the initial assumptions. Therefore whatever you assume to be true, you act as if it’s true and you look for proof. The challenges is to make a useful assumption rather than a limiting once. Useful assumption gives you an informed prospective on your own behavior and the behavior of others. This way you can lead to a worthwhile outcome. Otherwise you will inhibit your creativity and resourcefulness to trigger negative reactions in you.
The next important point is that you must assume positive intent. Normally your conduct on any project in which others are also involved is based on your intent about the project. If you are looking for fast completion then your focus will be on action. Here you’re likely to undermine the participation of other people around you. This may result in their thinking that you have a pushy behavior.
When accuracy is your priority, you will slow down things in order to look for finer details. Here you may tend to hinder action of others. This might lead to their feeling that you are being negative.
Sometimes you may look for approval by someone. In this case you may put his/her need above your personal interest. You may be perceived as unreliable.
Lastly if gaining recognition drives you, you are likely to become excessively assertive. You would want to be seen, heard and recognized by the concerned people. And if it doesn’t happen, you are likely to lose temper, in which case you will be perceived as distracting and destructive.
Assuming positive intent will mean that you keep in mind all what has been said about and take decisions in your best interest.
The third important lesson in interpersonal skills is that you must know exactly what you want. Knowing your desired outcome is a fundamental key to a purposeful and productive interpersonal behavior.
The next important point the regarding interpersonal relations is that you must become an excellent listener. People want to be heard. It’s possible that you may get to know what the person wants to say and start speaking. This should never be done. Never ever, deprive anyone of his right to express. If the person is important and you want to build relation then, you must listen to go deep. A leader or a manager who listens attentively attracts people. They hold him in high esteem.
Next, you mind your language. Language is extremely important for making or breaking relations. Choose your words wisely. One wrong word may upset a person for a lifetime. One participant (a university professor) during one of my workshops remarked that our tongue is very strong and heals itself very fast. But the wounds the tongue creates in the minds of others, sometimes don’t ever heal during a lifetime.
Further, one must remember that relationships are about perceptions. Not only you should have appropriate regards for others but it’s necessary that they must perceive the same. A CEO of a multinational company had said that you must be good to others, but it is equally important that they realize and appreciate that you are good.
Each person is an individual. There are likely to be differences but also some similarities. So whenever you want to build up relations you must start identifying similarities first. Then try to bridge the gap so far differences are concerned. And, all these actions should be taken in good humor. Keeping your wits about you is essential. It’s difficult for people to tolerate highly emotional and volatile persons.
Last but not the least, it must be said that whenever you find differences and you want to influence the person concerned, do that in stages. Don’t try to achieve everything in a jiffy. When you work in stages, both you and the other person get time to think, contemplate and see the advantage of working together.
Thanks for reading.