Studies show that many leaders’ failures are attributable to interpersonal skills such as building relationships, leading teams, developing a positive work environment, effective communication and inspiring trust (Eblin, 2011). These skills become even more important when the basic element of the business is the person. It is evident that leaders must master these skill sets to be successful as a leader in their industry. RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT: Interpersonal Competencies Must Haves As a part of the four key factors in emotional intelligence, relationship management involves the “soft” or personal side of management that has a direct impact on the aspects of the business (Durbin, 2010). “Interpersonal skills are goal-directed behaviors used in face-to-face interactions, which are effective in bringing about a desired state of affairs” (Hayes, 1991, p14). Following is a closer look at three critical interpersonal competencies that a successful leader must have. Communication Skills
Listening – Nichols and Stephens (1957) estimate that 45 percent of all communication is spent listening while far less is spent speaking. Communication is essential to the success leaders and the most influential portion is listening but listening is more than just hearing. Listening is the active engagement of communication to search for complete understand of the meaning of another’s message (Hayes, 1991). To be a superior listener one must be able to read verbal and non-verbal messages to obtain the full meaning (Hayes, 1991). Hayes (1991) speaks about four main types of listening that successful leaders possess. Comprehensive listening – This type of listening is used to obtain facts such as in lectures of interviews. Information gathered from this listening type is retained for future use (Hayes, 1991).
Evaluative listening – Information gathered from this type is used to make judgments concerning persuasive messages of others such as sales offers. This includes the evaluations of positives and negative of the message (Hayes, 1991).
Empathic listening – This listening type is used when the speaker needs someone to listen and understand. This could be a leader in a counseling situation or a team member with a sensitive personal matter. The listener demonstrates a willingness to understand the message (Hayes, 1991).
Appreciative listening – This is listening for pleasure (Hayes, 1991). Included in this is listening to music, poetry or hears one’s own successes. Building relationships in the workplace can be built on appreciative listening. Discussing with peers topics that encourage friendships build business partnerships that lead to leadership success. Non-Verbal Listening – “There is more to listening than meets the ear” (Hayes, 1991, p40). An effective leader will communicate being knowledgeable of non-verbal messages being sent. Vocal tone, facial expressions, bodily positioning, and rate in which words are spoken can all convey a message. There are three roles of non-verbal communication. Repetition/Complimentary – This type of communication example would be pointing while giving directions. This simply confirms or repeats what is being said verbally (Durbin, 2010).
Substitution – In place of verbal communication, the messenger uses a non-verbal behavior such as shrugging of the shoulders (Durbin, 2010). For example, when asked ‘how did the interview go?’, the other may respond with a thumbs up gesture.
Contradictory – This is when the verbal and non-verbal communication does not match. For example, “banging the table and shouting ‘I’m not angry’” (Hayes, 1991, p40)
Influencing – Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself and ideas without violating the rights or offending others (Durbin, 2010). As problems evolve in the workplace solutions will come from several sources. The leader that is able to...