The fourth tent pole of the Leadership tent puts into one cluster the interpersonal or ‘people skills’ of the leader. Interpersonal skills include: communicating powerfully and prolifically, inspiring others, building positive relationships, developing others, and being open to new ideas. Along with Character, this pole is thought to support the most canvas on the tent.
There is evidence that says leadership is expressed through the communication process and is the impact that one person (the leader) has on a group of other people. It is the direct expression of the character of the individual and is often the window by which people understand the personal character of the leader.
Leaders who exhibit good Interpersonal skills will generally display the following:
- Strong communication skills
- Being open and receptive to new ideas
- Developing the skills and talents of others in the team
- Inspiring others to high performance
- Working in a collaborative manner with others
- Being open to, and responding positively to feedback
- Effectively resolving conflict
- Strong influencing skills
- Building positive relationships with others in the team
- Recognizing and rewarding the contributions of others
- Building the self-esteem of others
- Teaching others in a helpful manner
- Being an effective team member
On the other hand, leaders who do not have good interpersonal skills commonly:
- Are difficult to get along with
- Do a poor job of communicating plans and ideas
- Fail to explain the purpose and/or importance of assignments
- Wait too long to give others feedback or do not give feedback at all
- Do not work well with people who have different backgrounds and perspectives
- Fail to inspire commitment, high energy, and a winning attitude in their teams
Data shows, however, that if leaders have interpersonal skills alone, they have a fairly low probability of being in the top 10 percent of all leaders in a firm. Interpersonal skills are often considered to be a companion set of skills to Focus on Results – a leader will be more effective if he or she is strong in both of these capabilities. Both skills are valuable and lead to success, but the combination of being excellent at both skills together substantially increases the probability of overall effectiveness.