Leadership Nuggets

"But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave." Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:26, 27 NLT)

Leadership Nugget: People skills

Dear leader,

How many people have you met that just rubs you the wrong way? There are some people that you meet and you just won't get along with even as a Christ follower; and you really do try to find that common thing that would make you endure a conversation with them. I have met a few in my young life, even managing such relationship right now. I think sometimes, there is just that 'personality conflict' as we say in management language but also when you get to the root of things, the other person might just have some serious social or psychological problems which translates itself into bad behaviour with other people. 

 Personally, I find this the most challenging of my leadership experience. How do you keep smiling and being friendly when you would reduce your stress if you never see the person again? Hmm... life is not that simple unfortunately nor is the role of a leader that easy. A leader does not have the luxury of waiting to get along with someone before they lead that person.

We meet different types of people in our daily life; we 'click' instantly with some people especially those that we have things in common with and the relationship is easy and smooth with very little effort. But, there are other people that we need to work at making the relationship work in particular, when we work together and we can't really avoid interacting with them.

People skills is one of the core skills a leader must master. Simply put, people skill is having the ability to interact with (all kinds of) people. This skill includes especially communication and managing emotions (emotional intelligence). We already explored communication skills in a previous leadership nugget articlehttp://wecanleadershipinstitute.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/leadership-nugget-self-awareness-part-3.html . So the focus of this article would be on emotional intelligence - managing emotions. Emotional intelligience is the ability to recognise and understand your emotions and those of other people, and leveraging this to manage relationships. A person with this ability is aware of their impact on people and also understands other people's feelings. This awareness when used effectively, builds a strong interpersonnal relationship amongst people.

Apart from learning the art of communicating effectively with people, learning how to manage our emotions is quite important. We react or act to things or situations through our emotions. Our expressions tells a lot about our feelings without even saying a word. It is said that people might forget what you said but they would not forget how you made them feel. Emotions comes to play when dealing with people. The appropriate show of emotion goes a long way in resolving conflicts.

If you want to improve your people skills, consider and learn these skills when relating with people:
  • Control your temper; do not react immediately with anger or in anger and never respond to emails when you are angry.
  • Carefully consider the words you use with people (you can always see people's reaction to what you say from their expression or body language unless they've mastered the skill of managing their emotions!).
  • Consider words other people use a lot; it gives you an idea what is important to them.
  • Reflect humility in words and behaviour. Believe me, it does not make you look stupid and makes you the wiser person in the relationship.
  • You need a bucket full of patience.
  • Persevering in the face of challenges; do not give up on people or situation. Your perseverance can motivate and influence your followers.
  • Learn to appreciate in words and actions.
  • Take time to learn people's interests (ask them or find out from other people who are close to them) and use this as a starting point.
  • Go the extra mile when it comes to people.
God has created each one of us unique, then life throws in its own challenges. Your experience with people is a learning opportunity, that can help in improving your people skill.
As you are learning or improving on how to get along with other people, likewise some people are learning how to get along with you. Last tip 'treat people the way you want to be treated'.

Have a wonderful week. Remember to let your shine all around you and add value to someone's life this week.

For more leadership tips, get your copy of 1001 leadership tips for emerging leaders by Adeola Akintoye. Available through Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Publisher.co.za and other major online book stores.

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