An effective management is about getting works or things done through people. It is the capability of a person to perform in the complexity of the organization as a restrained or subtle, insightful, incisive performer that determines the success as a manager. For a person to work in a group either as a member or a leader in order to achieve a common goal it is essential to be interdependent and interactive among the group. This interactive skill is also called as interpersonal skill, people skills, social skills which help to build the social competence level. Social competent people are those who possess these necessary skills to produce desired effects on other people in situations in terms of influencing someone to work harder, make a deal, make an effective negotiation, or support someone in a crisis situation. This is also a very important consideration in fields like management, social networking, education and relationships. It determines how we communicate with bosses, superiors, subordinates, peers, family and everyone around us.
Interpersonal skills can be learned; most people learn how to relate on the basis of experience, through unstructured and unintentional processes of trial and error. Sometimes this approach is successful but at times it can be ineffective and unreliable. This social skill set helps in influencing others which is very important when working in an organization at a managerial level and you need to influence your subordinates to work towards achieving a target or goal. Many people working in organizations experience problems when attempting to influence others. Sometimes the source of difficulty is perceived to be rooted in a particular relationship and sometimes it is experienced as a more general inability. People react to this perceived problem in different ways; some give up trying and accept the impossibility of introducing any significant change while some respond by trying harder and becoming aggressive. They devote more energy to influence others and achieving results but when things do not go their way it leads to frustrations. The most effective people however seem to be those who expect to experience resistance in their attempts to influence others, but still have a way around to get things done. I faced a similar situation when I started managing a team for the first time, which is described below.
In my previous employment, I got promoted to a Managerial role and became the clearing In-charge handling a team of 8 members. This department handled high transaction volumes and cheque clearance on a daily basis. It was the first time that these staffs reported me directly on any clearing matter. Overall it was a very new experience for me to perform as a manager. First I allotted individual job roles to everyone so that each one of them could focus on the required part and complete it accurately within the given timeframe. It was very important that all of my team members including me worked cohesively to deliver the task efficiently. Despite of clear work allocation and proper supervision of work; we still strive hard to do fire fighting in meeting deadlines and there was huge pressure on the team. In due course, I realized that this was primarily because I had not considered the team’s inputs when doing the work allocation, and as such many people in the team were unhappy with their work. Post realizing this I corrected this, got the team’s feedback and did reallocation of work. Although not everyone was still happy, I built a reputation for being considerate and listening to the team, which increased the motivation levels and helped in improving our team’s productivity
This chapter taught me that self awareness is closely linked to the ability to read the behavior of others, construct course of action and deliver an effective performance. People who have a high level of self awareness understand how their own values, beliefs and subjective theories influence what they see and do. In order to raise the awareness of how theories in use influence the way interaction with others can be managed, it is essential to observe own self of action. This can be possibly done by reflecting on patterns of past behavior and monitoring it. It is also important to be open and responsive to others feedback.
In my previous company where I worked as a bank officer, I faced many situations where it was important to have a strong interpersonal skill. As a front office executive I was supposed to directly deal with the customers, understand their needs, and give them quality service. Many a times, I came across very demanding people who are tough to please. There was an instance when a very high net worth customer holding a priority account with our bank wanted to close the account because of some transaction issues. Apart from that he was very disappointed by my colleague’s behavior, so with an angry attitude he came to my desk and asked to close the account. At that time I had two options, one was to close his account or try to pacify the customer and retain the account. I handled the case very effectively; offered him a cup of coffee, listened to him properly, understood his requirements, and gave him the solution. He was so happy with my attitude that he changed his decision and continued banking with us.
The concept of micro skill approach to develop interpersonal competency gave me a clear picture of the steps to be followed in building the interpersonal relationships like accenting, following, listening, helping and negotiating. Utilizing these ideas which I learned from this chapter, I can further develop on my skills to strengthen it and implement in future for building stronger interpersonal relationships and use it in face to face encounters to arrange my behavior so that it is in line with the objectives.
Summary of critical incident
During our first tutorial we were asked to select our team members and form a group. The tutorial had 30 students from different nationalities and is designed to give the students an opportunity to interact with classmates from different places, know their culture and exchange values. I was very keen to be in a mixed culture group so that I can utilize this opportunity and learn of different cultures. But unfortunately no one was willing to include me in their group. Everyone was comfortable in making a group with people from their own nationalities. I tried to do likewise and asked an Indian group to include me. They refused saying that they are already a big team of 5 members. I felt sad wondering why none of my team mate wanted to consider me in their group. Later three members joined the tutorial and I teamed up with them, but still kept wondering about what happened. I realized that maybe since I did not socialize with people, they did not know anything about me and hence preferred to include known people. Thereafter I voluntarily stood up, introduced myself, and started socializing with my classmates.
The ability to work effectively within a group either as a leader or member requires good interpersonal skill. As my other friends were speaking various languages, I found it difficult to fit into their discussion which is known as cross cultural communication barrier. Some of my classmates had difficulty communicating in English and therefore were shy in discussing with me. But I made them comfortable by listening to them for long hours, understanding them, helping them in clearing their doubts. I tried to determine my strengths and weaknesses from the competency tests that I have appeared previously.
Reflecting the findings of my chosen self analysis toolkit
The psychometric test results indicate that I have a very lively social manner which I can leverage to build a good working atmosphere and to support others in developing their own ideas. I can easily integrate into a team, both as a leader as well as a member. The Worlds personality test defines me as performer with ESPF style which means I am sociable, optimistic and open to others. However my personality trait is authoritative and indicates that I like to have autonomous-decision making. I am good at arguing rather than convincingly and prefer to actively influence my group members. This functioning style may not fit in all situations; in case of my tutorial groups, I should not try to dominate and have my own way of independent decision making. This would portray me as an arrogant person; rather I should try to have more interactive session which allows equal opportunities to all to participate in discussions. This will encourage team spirit and I can still continue to motivate them as and when required.
Implications for future career or personal development
Post completing MBA, I intend to rejoin the banking industry and hence it is important that I improve my interpersonal skills which will enable me have an effective communication. This will be required for both professional as well as my personal development. The test result emphasized my core strengths as confident, sociable, organized while my weaknesses is that I deliberately follow my own convictions therefore find problems in predefined objectives which contradicts my viewpoint. I realize I need to leverage my strengths and work on my weaknesses to build a better personality.
Summary of critical incident – II
I would like to share another incident from my tutorial activity related to decision making skills. One of our tutorial activities required us to analyze a case study in which we had to put ourselves in the shoes of a train driver and had to decide on which rail track to choose in a difficult situation. There were two rail routes; a running track in working condition and an unused track closed for some unknown reasons. At a distance ahead there were 10 children playing around; 9 of them were playing in the used rail track and only 1 child was playing in the unused route. At that time the train approaches, and we as the driver of that train had to decide on which track to take. This was indeed a tough decision as the lives of small children were at stake. I analyzed from 2 different aspects; considering the emotional value perhaps it was better to divert the train in the unused route so that 9 children can be saved. But logically, it did not seem appropriate; taking the unused track may cause derailment, which in turn would put the lives of thousands of passenger in danger. Therefore as the driver my decision would have been to take the used track and not put the lives of all passengers at stake. We had some interesting discussions in the class; with few people sharing the same thoughts as mine, while others argued that it does not make sense for killing 9 children over 1, they believed our conscience would never allow that. Another classmate gave a very different opinion saying that it is better to run the train towards the 9 children so that they will learn a lesson and never repeat this again to which Frankie, our tutor laughed and said, “Will they realize after their death that they shouldn’t play in such dangerous place?” Finally the correct decision should have been taking the used track as the 9 children would be used to trains approaching on that track and hence would move out on time. However this analysis helped us in determining the emotional intelligence factor and we realized that as future leaders we may have to decide between things which may have contrary emotional and logical values.
Reflecting the findings of my chosen self analysis toolkit
The Jung’s typology test indicated that I am a logical and well organized person. But it also says that I decide more based on feeling rather than thinking. This indicates that I am an emotional person and mostly I take decisions based on how I perceive things. Decision making capabilities based on situations sometimes require us to see whether the judgment benefits a larger mass or not. In such cases emotional values have to be controlled. My weakness is my inability to control my emotions at times, especially in stressful situations.
Further from the Johari Window test, I found that my friends perceive me as indecisive. I respect this feedback and believe that my emotional quotient many a times makes me indecisive. Therefore I need to improve decision making abilities in order to become a successful manager in future.
Implications for future career or personal development
As I intend to return to the banking Job and continue my career as a Manager, I realize I need to leverage my strengths and work on my weaknesses. As a manager, I would be required to take tough decisions on the spot. I need to learn to show more maturity in dealing such situations and therefore I need to develop my reasoning skills, control my emotions and thereby improve my decision making abilities.
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