How Can Leaders Support The Development Of Interpersonal Skills?

Communication Strategies Leaders Can Utilize To Aid The Development Of Interpersonal Skills

If you are a leader, manager, or aspiring startupper hoping to lead their own team one day, thinking of employment development strategies must be one of your top priorities. While training and upskilling usually receive more attention, that doesn’t mean you should forget about interpersonal skills. These competencies, also known as soft skills, will define the future of your organization and help you accomplish with greater ease any goal you set. In this article, we will discuss 6 communication strategies you can utilize as a manager to support the development of interpersonal skills and help your employees grow professionally.

6 Strategies To Foster Your Workforce’s Interpersonal Skills

1. Give Credit

If you want your employees to communicate openly and effectively, you will have to kickstart the process yourself. A great way to get your employees to open up is to show your appreciation towards them. For example, don’t you usually give some form of praise or reward to employees who exceed expectations or accomplish a significant goal? You should be doing the same for interpersonal achievements. When someone goes out of their way to help a team member or expertly navigates their way out of a conflict, you must recognize that. This way, not only do your employees feel appreciated, but also their self-confidence grows, urging them to keep striving to better themselves.

2. Devote More Time To One-On-One Meetings

Often, managers and leaders interact with their reports in a team setting, where, naturally, not everyone gets the same attention. If you want to truly know your employees and understand which interpersonal skills they lack and how they can hone them, you will have to find the time to meet with them one-on-one. These meetings are great for helping you foster a personal relationship with your employees, offering them a safe space where they can voice their concerns and aspirations for the future. Together, you can discuss which areas require improvement and figure out solutions that are best suited to your employees’ needs and preferences.

3. Encourage Cross-Functional Collaboration

Another way to support the development of your staff’s interpersonal skills is to encourage collaboration across different departments. Often, employees only work with people from their department, thus limiting their exposure to new ideas and perspectives. Cross-functional projects will break these invisible barriers between different teams and encourage employees to view the challenges other departments face and how they overcome them. This will not only help develop their empathy and creativity but also their adaptability. Moreover, trust will be fostered between employees, thus decreasing tensions, promoting camaraderie, and supporting everyone in developing their communication skills.

4. Give Regular Feedback

Providing feedback on a person’s interpersonal skills is sometimes difficult for managers. If not done properly, it can come off as critiquing someone’s personality rather than performance, and that’s something you never want to do. At the same time, feedback is crucial for ensuring that employees are constantly evolving in their roles. When you give employees feedback, make sure you are objective and non-judgmental. Focus on their strengths and discuss areas that require improvement together to reach the best possible outcome. This way, you can foster communication and express your interest in helping them grow their soft skills.

5. Practice Empathy And Compassion

Interpersonal skills development is a process that can be rather long and even difficult for some people. Therefore, it’s crucial that throughout it, you remember that no one is the same and everyone is trying their best. Being judgmental or too insistent will make things harder for you, as it will cause your employees to close up and distance themselves from their colleagues even more. Instead, be compassionate, try to understand where everyone is coming from, and keep a positive attitude. This way, even when your employees are having a bad day, they will feel safe asking you for help, thus contributing to a more supportive work environment.

6. Lead By Example

The process of developing a team’s interpersonal skills starts and ends with you. If you are displaying the behaviors and soft skills you are asking from your employees, sooner or later, they will do the same thing for you. For example, if you don’t practice active listening, empathy, and effective communication, how do you expect them to learn these behaviors and use them in the workplace? The truth is that a leader sets the tone for their team, and their behavior is the primary factor that affects the company culture. So, keep that in mind before you turn to your employees and ask them to improve their communication skills.

Conclusion

Interpersonal skills are crucial for the development of successful businesses and productive workforces. Leaders can play a crucial role in fostering these skills by implementing communication strategies that urge their employees to get out of their comfort zones and practice their interpersonal competencies. This way, they create an open work environment that supports communication and facilitates company and employee growth.

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