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PEOPLE SKILLS – THE DIFFERENTIATOR

 

By Dr. S.P. Chauhan*

Having a high level of technical skills and extensive experience may not necessarily contribute to high level of performance or rise in career. So what are we missing? Obviously, the answer is “People Skills”. People skills can be defined as a set of skills which help an individual to interact and relate to people effectively for achieving organisational goals. ‘People skills’ is the ability to develop and nurture relationships for getting the best from people. While relationships are important, relationships should be balanced with results. This means “Results not at the cost of relationship and relationship, not at the cost of results”. It is the ability to tolerate differences in people, understand and appreciate the qualities of others and not expect others to always toe the line. Some of the people skills and attributes are detailed below:

Ability to Relate to Others: It is the ability to make others feel respected and important without degrading oneself.

Ability to Trust Others: Trust is the foundation of any relationship. You can develop “trustworthiness” in others by first trusting them.

Effective Communication Skills: An important way of getting better results from others is to communicate with them your expectations from them.

Listening Skills: While communication is an important part of people skills, listening is even more important in the communication process. Listening is very important as listening means that you respect the other person and he/she is important for you, as listening is “YOU” centred and communicating is “I” centred.

Genuine Interest in Others: You can get support, guidance and help from others when you are able to show genuine interest in them through active listening, thoughtful questions and understanding of their concerns and perspectives.

Good Judgment of People: The ability to judge people for their worth is a pre-requisite to the decision to have the right people and investing in them.

Coaching, Counselling and Mentoring: People working with you do not fit into one category and hence you cannot have a standardised approach to dealing with them. There are people who have a relatively high level of competence but they can be developed further by coaching. Then there is a second category of people who do not perform well because of certain reasons. You are then required to understand their problems through patient listening and understanding and counsel them. A third category includes those who are high performers and have the inherent capability to take up even more challenges and responsibilities. These people need mentoring for their own development and for contributing even more to organisational goals.

Ability to Motivate and Support your People: Motivation is the key to higher performance. When you motivate keeping in view the capabilities of your people and follow it with necessary support, you can get willing cooperation of your people.

Flexibility: Openness and receptivity to other’s ideas and views is the hallmark of a person high on people skills. Rigidity on the other hand spoils relationships and distances you from others.

Honesty & Integrity: "People skills" is all about drawing people to yourself and what better way of doing it than by your own behaviour and action. Honesty and integrity is the foundation of anything to do with people, as they say “walk the talk”.

If you already have an above average level of knowledge & technical skill and higher level of people skills, you have a distinct advantage of giving your best and getting the best from your people. Thus “People Skills” are certainly the Differentiator when other things are equal.

 

Dr. S.P. Chauhan

* Prof. (Dr.) S.P. Chauhan
Professor (OB & HR) and Officiating Director
Asia-Pacific Institute of Management,
3&4, Institutional Area, Jasola
New Delhi – 110025
Spchauhan1954@gmail.com

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