Interpersonal skills may rarely be taught at business school, but they’re vital to the success of any leader in the business world. If you’re running your own small business, your interpersonal skills come into play whenever you deal with employees, vendors and suppliers, investors, and customers or clients. You can hone your interpersonal skills by exploring these areas for development.
Focus on clear communication in your dealings with everyone, from the lowest part-time employee to the most important client. When you’re clear about what you expect and need from employees, tasks are likely to be completed well and on time. Focusing on clarity and completeness also minimizes confusion and enhances productivity.
Part of clear communication is listening. When you listen to customers carefully, you’re better able to meet their needs and keep them happy. Listening to your employees promotes respect throughout your company and makes it easy to head off any problems. Use active listening skills to make sure you’re understanding what the other person is trying to communicate, and ask for clarification when needed.
Connecting with employees on a regular basis helps keep lines of communication open and fosters a positive working environment around your workplace. Greet employees each day, and make it clear that your office door is open if anyone wants to communicate with you. Each interaction you have with your employees is a chance to put your interpersonal skills into play, even if you’re just wishing someone a happy birthday or looking at their family photos.
Active participation with your employees also expresses your leadership. Make sure that the introverts in the room get to express their opinions when you’re holding internal meetings, and use questions to draw out minority opinions. Use problem-solving techniques that focus on solutions rather than letting problems become entrenched to keep your employees working as a team.
By focusing on communication, including active listening and a drive toward solutions, you can keep your employees and customers involved and happy.