If you are an empathetic and thoughtful manager, chances are that at times your staff will approach you with their personal problems that might be affecting their work, or home life, or both.
Here are some ideas to help you in these sometimes awkward situations;
* Make sure your team member sees that you take such problems seriously. This means you may have to leave the office and go somewhere quiet. Constant interruptions from phone, emails, other employees, etc. show that you aren’t really concerned. If it’s really not a good time for you, say so, and immediately set aside a specific time to discuss it with them
* Encourage your team member to talk by listening actively. Be re-assuring by not judging, and by rephrasing and summarising. Ask questions to clarify, if necessary. Your behaviour is the key to a successful session. Try to be empathetic and supportive
* Note any hidden meanings, like blame or over-sensitivity. Listen to expressions and mannerisms and especially watch body-language
* Isolate the problem. Having got through the web of detail and emotions, identify the core problem and its probable cause. Analyse the true problem, not just the symptoms
* Work towards solutions. Remember that the aim is for your team member to solve the problem for themselves. Ask what options they see. If necessary, make tentative suggestions, like ‘how about this for an idea…’ or ‘one option might be….’. Decide what the pros and cons might be
* Encourage them in whatever decision they make. Naturally, there will be many areas where you simply aren’t able to offer advice, and you may have to suggest they see a professional to sort out some of the deeper problems they may be experiencing
* Finally, never betray a trust. Your team member will appreciate it if the discussions are kept private, unless they agree to having someone else help out. Remember your purpose in all of this…to help the team member through the situation.
Sometimes, all they want is a hearing ear, someone to bounce their problems around with. Resist the temptation to give advice in areas you are unfamiliar with. Just asking the right questions can sometimes help. When you’ve done the best you can, your team mate may be able to solve it themselves, or at least find a way forward. And you might gain yourself a high-performing employee again.
Interpersonal skills and communication skills go hand in hand but are not the same thing. Communication skills involve your ability to convey an idea, but your interpersonal skills convey your ability to do such in a manner that is appealing. Your interpersonal skills define they way you interact with your employees. People with bad interpersonal skills usually have bad communication skills by default.
As a manager, you shoud constantly be striving to improve your interpersonal skills. Here are 5 things you can do to become better at dealing with your fellow managers, coworkers, and team members.
Try your best to connect with the people you work with. Communicating is one thing – identifying with them as you communicate is another.
Something we don’t necessarily talk about enough is your level of interpersonal skills. Your interpersonal skills dictate your ability to communicate and deal with other individuals on a regular basis. If you lack interpersonal skills you may find yourself labeled as difficult to communicate with, stubborn, aloof, or any of a number of negative descriptions.
In order to develop great interpersonal skills you need to focus on four main qualities. These can be summarised easily by remembering the STAR acronym.
Get all four of these factors under control and you’re bound to build beautiful relationships with your team members and fellow managers. Let one slip and you may just find you aren’t necessarily a favourite within your office.