In the recently launched book, Leadership Vol. Two, From the Trenches, I had the opportunity to speak with a few seasoned leaders to gain perspective on in-house management challenges.
I see and hear time-and-time again how frustrated managers lead teams that severely lack interpersonal skills. Now us older dogs can all sit here and blame the Millennials until we are blue in the face, or we can start mentoring on self awareness and willingness to improve.
Having previously worked in an agency environment where things were more relaxed, it was a bit of culture shock to flip over to the client side on an in-house team. I’ve seen and heard some cockamamie behavior that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One of the skills I personally had to begin working on, and quickly, was my interpersonal skills.
In my mind, these are the top-three, crucial interpersonal skills that we need to hone for our own growth and the growth of our teams:
- Communication style
Think about how and when you are communicating with your team, peers and clients. Where are the pain points and what is going well that you can do more of? Consider making adjustments on your end to improve those pains and see what happens. Remember, it’s generally not just the other guy that is at fault for misunderstandings.
Share ideas. Don’t take all of the credit. Don’t talk over each other.
To me, the meaning of collaboration is interacting with others. This often translates to geting off your tush and asking your peers their opinion so you can brainstorm new ways of approaching a challenge together. Ask your network to help you look at an issue from a different angle or simply share a well designed piece that makes you happy and explain why. The bottom line is, you have to take the initiative to talk to one another.
- Temperament: Oh sorry, I really meant “tude.”
Don’t jump to conclusions. Don’t judge. Don’t throw people under the bus.
We all know how it feels to be judged by someone who knows nothing about your day-to-day and it’s a sucky feeling. So as a first step, lead by example and don’t do it to others. We all get treated badly from time-to-time and in my experience, when you react just as poorly as the offender you create a domino effect of nasty that never really goes away. My advice is take the high road and lead by example. Be the grown-up.
And for the love of Pete, please take the “tude” out of everything you say and do. It’s not professional and you are not in your own living room while at work. You’ll see when you remove the “tude,” others will follow.