In my previous assignments I have attempted to shed some light on the 3 capabilities which I have identified; which were namely the Leadership skills, Knowledge skills and the Interpersonal Management skills. Each of these 3 skills is crucial for a good manager and each holds its own significance in the building of a solid character.
For the purpose of this research paper, I will be concentrating on the Leadership and Interpersonal Management skills upon which I have already talked about before. Harnessing these two characteristics would help growth on the individual level and gives an insight into a person’s overall character as viewed from some external source.
Leadership is a value arousing skill (Heifetz, 1994). Recalling any such moment where I have taken the mantle of leadership I would most definitely have to quote of my academic experiences. Groups and teams are a fact of life during one’s academic years and in said groups and teams there are often conflicts arising which without the presence of a team leader, lead to failed deadlines, substandard work quality and overall unpleasantness among team members (Maister, 2002).
I can clearly recall the last time I was part of a group and it was in said group that I got a chance to play the role of the team leader. The decision of me being team leader arose due to my past experience in the topic and when the time came to choose the leader from amongst the team-mates I had the expertise in the subject.
Even though I was not experienced much in any leadership position, I was able to do a sufficient job as the group leader and it made me appreciate the tough job that it is to lead people towards a single goal so as to make the achievement a shared vision (Purpose of Leadership, 1997). However, one thing I learned was that Leadership is never static as the role of a leader keeps changing in modern times and anybody who has a proficiency in some skill would take on the leader role when work related to his area of specialization arose. Without any leadership there would hardly be any sense of where the team was headed and it would be meaningless progressing further (Kelly, 2007).
Interpersonal skills are also very important in recent times as people of every walk of life have to interact with others to get their jobs done. Previously it was the belief that some jobs required very little interaction with other individuals, such as finance related jobs and other desk jobs where the employees would have minimal socializing (Hayes, 2002). But now the field has changed with people interacting with others for the exchange of knowledge, and for socializing purposes.
An incident regarding where I had to demonstrate my interpersonal skills arose when while arranging for a charity event for which friends needed help, I had to visit different markets and deal with numerous people over getting sponsors and getting arrangements done. Through the course of this excursion I had to interact with numerous people and demonstrate communication skills which involved interacting with people at all levels, such as common laborers and store owners. This feature of interacting with people at all levels is beneficial in the sense that it helps later to impress employers (Seneca, 2001).
Through the course of interacting with people I was able to get some good contacts that would come in fruitful for future use while also overcoming my dread of speaking to strangers and becoming more comfortable talking to people (Hargie & Dickson, 2003).
Measuring one’s leadership skills, one must first recognize the types of leaders that exist. There is some argument as to whether there are 6 types or 7 types of leaders but personally I prefer to side with the 7 types argument. Based on 5 criteria leaders are placed into the types of the transformational leader, the enforcer, the deal maker, the administrator, the visionary, the serial entrepreneur and the spin doctor (Taffinder). The five factors upon which leaders are determined are: impose context, have conviction, generate critical mass, challenge and change and they make and take risks.
With respect to the definitions provided, I would rank myself as an Enforcer. This is due to the fact that I am risk averse when groups are concerned and tend to stick to tested and tried guidelines. I am highly confident when taking actions and try to motivate team members in a manner that they have the feeling to achieve something (Brill & Barth, 2008).
I avoid taking unnecessary risks since the responsibility of leading a team in my opinion does not permit one the opportunity to take risks. If the risk pays off that’s well and good, but if the risk does not, then the leader is responsible for the outcome of events. This responsibility I believe takes away the liberty that a leader should have and should make him more serious towards leading his followers to attaining the goal (Ball, 2003).
Judging anyone’s interpersonal skills is not so easy as it involves feedback from external sources. When others tell one how well they are performing, then one can be any statement regarding the success or failure of it.
I would say that I am sufficiently endowed with my interpersonal skills. I would come to the conclusion taking into account the success rate when dealing with others. I have often had to conduct affairs with other external groups and so far I would say that I have done a very good job in carrying out interpersonal dealings.
Researchers suggested that self analyzing when related to interpersonal skills should be avoided by researchers since the judgement would always be biased and the answer would be uninfluenced in very rare case (Rubin, Palmgreen, Sypher, & Beatty, 2004). This goes back to the point mentioned that since people are unaware as to most of what they do, determining the efficiency of their success in Interpersonal Communication is very hard to do.
A concept known as Self Monitoring usually leads to greater success in determining a person’s interpersonal skills. Self Monitoring is a trait exhibited by famous good public speakers, as they were very receptive of their audiences and could adapt their presentation as per the response from the audience.
Many politicians such as Bill Clinton for example have been reported to have strong Self Monitoring skills. Viewing myself through outside eyes I have surmised that in the short time that I have become more pro active in interacting with others, I would say that I am quite successful in interacting with people and can easily carry forward a conversation and can entertain and communicate with others effortlessly (Corbin, Corbin, & Lindsey, 2007).
If compared to the extent required in the managerial world and professional world, I would have to say that the skills I possess are somewhere between acceptable and need slightly more improvement. Since leadership is a situational issue, with leadership sometimes being given and other times not, only time can tell how well one has performed.
Some situations require more insight and expertise whereas others are relatively simple as all you have to do is inspire your team and it successfully finishes the task on its own (Drucker, 1995)I have usually encountered the former as I haven’t yet witnessed any intense leadership role where I’d have to make decisions which would lead to greater consequences.
Interpersonal skills are essential for any business activity and comparing it to the market levels I would say that some improvement, or refinement, is needed. Even though I am not hopeless with my interpersonal skills, it is still a far away from being absolutely perfect. I believe I possess enough skills to at least get the basic jobs done.
To improve upon my interpersonal skills, I have decided to listen to the suggestions stated. Smiling more often when talking to others, being more appreciative of others comments, paying more attention to others, practicing active listening (applying stuff that I have learnt through listening to others), bringing people together, trying to resolve conflicts, communicating early, and in a humorous manner, trying to see other people’s perspectives and avoiding complaining are some measures that I plan to adopt in order to improve my interpersonal skills (All Business). Following these tips I plan to become more popular in crowds and become more receptive to others when interacting with them.
These tips would help me in making a more favorable impression in front of others and become a popular and pleasurable person to talk to. And that in turn would make communicating with others more easier for me and more often. Currently what I’m lacking due to inexperience with interacting with others would be resolved if I strictly follow these mentioned tips.
To develop my leadership style I must first note where I fall behind other successful leaders, and in this case, I have identified that I am highly risk averse and in return wind up hindering group from reaching its full potential. Taking more risks, but with the consent and full information being provided to the group so that they can give their feedback as well, I will try to move towards becoming a Transformational Leader who not only gets the job done, but inspires the followers to think of the goals as their goals as well and have a combined motivation towards the job as well.
Leadership and interpersonal skills are very important for today’s managers as it is the manager’s job to get the tasks done while keeping a strong healthy relationship between all levels of the employees (Koellner, 2002).
Currently I am more than capable of handling the simple situations which may arise on a day to day basis, but to actually handle situations which may affect a larger scale, I need to work harder to build my skills so as to become a Transformational leader (Argyris, 1976), who is the best type of flexible leader, and to have good links which can only be forged if the interpersonal relations I have with others are good. Without strong interpersonal skills, no one can actually get the full whole hearted support from others. A person should seek external opinions to actually gauge where he is standing since these are inherent qualities and people are not qualified enough to correctly identify their skills.
All Business. (n.d.). Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills. Retrieved April 28, 2009, from All Business: http://www.allbusiness.com/human-resources/careers-career-development/11134-1.html
Argyris, C. (1976). Increasing leadership effectiveness. R.E Krieger.
Ball, J. (2003). Managing People. Retrieved April 28, 2009, from http://www.accountancy.com.pk/articles.asp?id=54
Brill, F. S., & Barth, R. (. (2008). Leading and Learning. Stenhouse Publishers.
Corbin, C., Corbin, C. B., & Lindsey, R. (2007). Fitness for Life. Human Kinetics.
Drucker, P. F. (1995). The Practice of Management. Harper Collins.
Hargie, O., & Dickson, D. (2003). Skilled interpersonal communication. Routledge.
Hayes, J. (2002). Interpersonal skills at work. Routledge.