What Are People Skills?
While discussing the potential of certain employees with a HR manager, a question was raised by the HR Manager… What Are People Skills? At first, this sounded like a simplistic question yet the more we discussed it, the more complex it became.
So, let’s take a look at this key term – People Skills.
There appears to be certain factors that resonant with the term People Skills – other than People are involved. There appears to be six key elements when looking at people skills:
- Communication – this is a given, yet highly misunderstood. You must be able to communicate effectively with all types of people. A key trait is the ability to recognize the style of others and easily flex to their style while delivering their message. When individuals fail to flex or even recognize the diversity of style, well, their people skills take a negative hit.
- Understanding – Individuals who possess great people skills have the ability to put others at the front of the line in everything they do. They seek to understand others – motive, intent and meaning – before imposing their own ideas or thoughts.
- Open – Our concept of open is rooted in two key related areas. First, an effective individual is open to comments from others – in fact, they tend to seek out the opinions of others for new and creative ideas. The other part of open is related to a person’s mindset. Is it open to every one’s ideas, comments, or thoughts? Open minded rather than closed mindedness is a valuable indicator of people skills success. Closed minded individuals usually cut people off during conversations or express their thoughts immediately into the conversation – stopping any “open” dialogue.
- Agreeable – Here’s a trait that some individuals (usually with poor people skills) don’t understand how to use or the power of agreement. I’m not saying to violate your principles or ethics here – what I’m saying is to agree first and then have a dialogue. Too often, a person will argue over any point – just to be right. Well, when you openly argue you actually shut down the flow of dialogue and opinion. It is better to agree and then point out a possible point of misunderstanding. Then the discussion remains objective rather than entering the world of emotional reaction.
- Questions – Individuals with superior people skills usually have mastered the skill of asking questions. Getting others involved and participating the use of good questions means others are invested in you. When you ask questions to learn about others thoughts rather than telling others your thoughts, you open the door to respect. Others will respect you more since you cared enough to involve them first.
- Smile – this last point sounds corny and it could be. Yet, it tends to work for many people when dealing with others. A smile opens the door, mind and heart, while an attitude shuts down most things – like relationships. A smile is an honest emotion that shows appreciation and acceptance of others. Try it you will like it!
I’m sure there are other points to be made regarding “People Skills” and I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments section below. I would appreciate your sharing your ideas about what constitutes people skills.
We have been coaching technically competent individuals on people skills for years. This has lead to our reputation of getting people promoted. Being technically competent alone will not get a person promoted, it’s how the get others involved and motivated that get them promoted. If you have been told to improve your people skills, you may want to contact us for “people skill” coaching. Call today at 901-757-4434.