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Leadership Skills and People Skills to Build a Team Environment

Below is a list of leadership skills and people skills that can be used to help you build stronger relationships and more of a team environment in the workplace. Below are three Human Incites (People Skills) that, when you understand them, will help you build trust and rapport more easily and resolve conflicts. In addition, below are seven people principles that will help build a team atmosphere, help you communicate more effectively, and build trust in the work place.

Human Insight #1: How to Build Trust and Rapport Quickly

 

  • Human beings enjoy being around and are influenced by people they like and trust.
  • In general, people are far more interested in themselves than in others.
  • When you become genuinely interested in others, they will like you and trust you more.

 

 

Human Insight #2: How to be a Great Conversationalist

 

  • The most interesting topic for most people to talk about is themselves.
  • The person who asks the most questions tends to control the conversation.
  • Use the 80/20 rule. Let the other person do 80% of the talking.
  • People will know like you and trust you more if you ask questions about what interests them.

 
 


Week #1: Build Trust and Rapport with People Quickly  

Leadership Principle #1

Avoid Criticizing and Complaining

 

People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be—not what you nag them to be.

–S. N. Parker

 

My college football team had an offensive coordinator who was arguably one of the most brilliant minds in the game. However, he used fear and criticism to motivate his players. If someone missed a block, he’d yell and curse. If a player dropped a pass, he’d shout profanities and ridicule the player. Consequently, the players were focusing on their mistakes rather than their successes. The coach eventually moved on, and after he left, morale improved dramatically. The very next year, the team won their first bowl game in years and went on to eight straight bowl games in the following years. The practices were the same. The fan support was the same. The only thing that changes was the atmosphere on the field during the practices and the games.

 

Think about some of the greatest leaders you’ve known. Are they people who quibble and complain about irrelevant issues? Do they point out every mistake? Probably not. In fact, they probably do just the opposite. They’re probably masters at keeping others focused on the relevant and pointing out every improvement. Any jerk can complain or criticize – and most do. But real leaders are the people who build others up, not tear them down.

 

Typically, when we point out mistakes that others are making, we are doing so in order to create a behavior change in the person. However, when we point out mistakes that others make, the automatic human reaction is to get defensive or shift blame elsewhere. People rarely make a change in their behavior as a result of criticism.

 

In section three, we’ll cover seven ways to create behavior change in others without raising resentment. Each of these tips will work much better than constructive criticism.

 

The next time you feel like you need to complain or to criticize someone, think about the outcome you want. Do you want that person to change his behavior? If so, by criticizing, you will cause the person to want to defend himself. This booklet is full of principles that you can use to build trust with and ultimately influence others. The next time you want to criticize or complain, try silence as an option.

 

 

Leadership Principle #2

Look at things from the other person’s point of view.

 

 

It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others.

–Alfred Adler

 

One of the most primary desires of human beings is to be understood and esteemed by others. We want people to see things from our point of view. Sometimes we want this so badly, that we disagree with and argue with points of view that are also valid.

 

A business owner I know hired a young man who, in his first year, broke all of the sales records for the company. This young man had fantastic ideas that would revolutionize the way the company sold its services. The owner was very cautious about implementing these ideas though. He had spent years building his company and was very careful about making changes. The salesman debated and eventually argued with his boss, and the boss, after being backed into a corner, argued back. Neither had the courage or the foresight to take a step back and try to see things from the other person’s point of view.

 

The frustrated salesman finally gave up a promising career and quit. The boss lost a great salesperson, because neither took the time to understand the other.

 

This very thing happens day after day in businesses and families all across the country. Human nature is that we always believe that we are right. Guess what? The other guy thinks the same thing, and if we dig in our heels, he will dig in his heels as well. All that we have to do is take a step back and say, “Why is this person thinking the way that he is thinking? Why is he acting the way that he is acting?”

 

That little moment of clarity can add a tremendous amount of understanding on our part and will help us build rapport with the other person very quickly. We don’t necessarily have to agree with the person, but just looking at things from the other person’s point of view is a big step forward.

 

If we want people to like and respect us, do the opposite of what comes natural and see things from other’s point of view. When we understand others, we are much more likely to be understood by them.

 

 

Leadership Principle #3

Smile more.

 

 

The man who gives little with a smile gives more than the man who gives much with a frown.

–Jewish Proverb

 

One thing I learned in high school and college was that if I wanted people to take me seriously, I had to have a serious, stern look. I learned that if I was to be “in charge,” I had to look unyielding. Then I got into the real world and realized that the stern, unyielding look came across to others as a scowl. One morning, I came into the office and my boss pulled me aside and asked, “What’s wrong? Are you OK?” I told him I was fine. He looked at me and said, “Then somebody should tell your face.” He told me that my grimace made others think that I was unapproachable. I made a change that day. I began smiling more (granted, I didn’t feel much like smiling, but I faked it.) Low and behold, people began smiling back. Eventually, they even began to make small talk. It was amazing.

 

I told this story to my class once, and one of my class members took it to heart. He went home that night, and when his wife met him, he smiled a very big grin at her. She was so shocked, that she asked what had happened. He told her that nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He did tell her he was just glad to see her, and he was glad that she was his wife. When he woke up the next morning she had made him breakfast for the first time in two years. You can bet he is smiling more often today.

 

Many managers and supervisors have an “open door policy,” but because of the atmosphere that they create, no one ever walks through the open door. When someone has a problem or needs help, they walk up to the door, just about to walk in, and they see the negative countenance. Most people just turn around and decide to come back later.

 

A neutral expression can be just as unconstructive. People don’t like to guess about whether someone that they work for or work with is in a good mood or bad mood. A genuine small can do a lot for you and for the people around you because it will make you more approachable.

 

Smiles are also contagious. One well placed smile can go along way to improving morale and building rapport.

 

 

Leadership Principle #4

Make an effort to remember names

 

 

 

A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest most important sound in any language.

–Dale Carnegie

 

Have you ever been in one of those situations where you run into someone that you have met before and can’t remember that person’s name? It can be an awkward situation for both you and the other person.

 

When we remember someone’s name, we’re telling him, “You’re important.” Therefore, when we forget a person’s name, we may leave the opposite impression.

 

Do you want great service at a restaurant? Call the waitress by name when you place your order. Want to be the center of influence at a party? Introduce people you just met to others at the party. People love to hear their own name. In fact, Dale Carnegie said that, “a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest most important sound in any language.”

 

One of the first things we teach in our High Impact Leaders course is a simple way to remember names. It is a technique that is so simple that many people in a class of 25 will be able to recall the first and last names of every single person in the classroom within the first hour of class (You can find a short summary of this technique and others on our website at https://www.leadersinstitute.com/resource.)

 

In 1988, Harvey Mackay wrote a book called Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive, and he wanted to get it published. When he found a publisher that would talk to him, he had the audacity to request that the first edition print 100,000 copies. The publisher thought that Mackay was nuts. No publisher would print that many copies of a book written by a first time author. Then Mackay pulled out his Rolodex and showed the publisher how he new over 6,500 people on a first name basis, and he consciously kept in contact with each one. The publisher took a chance, and ended up selling over 300,000 copies of the first book.

 

Harvey Mackay used his ability to remember people – remember their names to build his world-famous envelop company, and then used the same relationships to build his writing and speaking career.

 

You can do the same thing. If you want to be a good people person, focus on remembering names.

 

 

Leadership Principle #5

Avoid placing the burden of your problems on other people.

 

 

A prudent man will think more important what fate has conceded to him, than what it has denied him.

–Baltasar Gracian

 

Have you ever known someone who, after any setback, had an excuse and typically laid the blame elsewhere? I’m ashamed to say that at one point in my life, I was one of those people. The economy is down. My sales manger is not distributing the “good” leads. Joe was responsible for that. I had one for any occasion. Luckily, at one point in my career, I had a good friend that sat me down and said, “You can continue to come up with more excuses, or you can solve the problem.”

 

It hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn’t the economy, it wasn’t my sales manager, and it wasn’t Joe who was causing me to fail. I realized that every mistake or problem that had ever occurred in my life had one common variable. ME!

 

At that point, I took a really good look at myself. I looked at some of the mistakes I had made and asked myself, how can I avoid making the same mistake again? I used every obstacle as a learning experience. Don’t get me wrong, I still make excuses on occasion, but they are few and far between, and they no longer define me. Since I made that conscious decision, my career has really taken off.

 

There are actually some people out there who make themselves feel better by bringing other people down. They revel in their ability to know who had a heart attack, who is getting divorced, who is stealing office supplies, and more. The more they can bring other people down, the better that they feel.

 

Unfortunately, when the gossip starts, it’s easy to get caught up in it. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Lofton used to say, “Misery loves company.” So just one person in your office with this type of mentality can cause the morale and team atmosphere in your office to drop like a stone.

 

Good leaders are the ones who stop this type of behavior in its tracks by just refusing to participate and standing up for coworkers who aren’t their to defend themselves. If you want to be a great leader, avoid placing the burden of your problems onto other people.

 

Leadership Principle #6

Assume Responsibility for Clear Communications.

 

 

The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.

–Daniel W. Davenport

 

Communication is a two-way street. In order for communication to be successful, we must have a successful speaker and an effective listener. If either party is not present, miscommunication may occur. However, there are things we can do to reduce miscommunication.

 

For example, I used to work for a man who had been extremely successful in our business. I was fairly young, but I had a number of great ideas that I frequently told him about. I noticed, however, that when I shared many of my ideas, he discounted them immediately. Sometimes, I would leave his office upset and tell some of my coworkers how he wouldn’t even listen to me. Often, when these coworkers agreed with my ideas, they would bring them back up to the boss at a later date. He always seemed to be much more open to the ideas when he heard them a second time. I realized that we had a communication problem, but I took responsibility. I learned that if I wanted my ideas to be heard, I needed support from my coworkers. Many times I would plant the seed with the boss and then tell someone else the idea. Often, the idea would be implemented with a few weeks.

 

We all listed to each other at different levels depending on circumstances that are present. The leader is the person who takes into account these circumstances and the character of the listener in order to make sure that the communication occurred.

 

For instance, if you know you are communicating with a person who is not really detail oriented, and you give instructions verbally just once, you have a very small chance that the person with follow through on your instructions. So for that particular person, it might be a good idea to follow up with an additional phone call or email. Or, you might have to send some written instructions to the person. Regardless of how you follow up, if you want to ensure that the communication occurs, you have to go above and beyond the call of duty.

 

To be a great leader, take responsibility for clear communication.

 

 

Leadership Principle #7

Practice good listening skills.

 

 

 

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.

–Wilson Mizner

 

My first year in sales, I read a book about how to be a good Listener. The book said that if I wanted to be a good listener, I should make eye contact, say “Uh huh” a lot, and then paraphrase what the person just said. I couldn’t wait to go on my next sales call. I asked my prospect a question, made solid eye contact, said “Uh huh” a lot, and then said the words I read in the book over and over… “So, what I hear you saying is…” Take it from first hand experience; this type of listening does NOT work. My prospect looked at me like I was from Pluto and said, “If your having trouble keeping up, maybe I should go a little slower.”

 

Don’t look for techniques on how to listen better. The people who are great listeners do so because they want to, not because they learned a new “technique.”

 

I’ve noticed that there are three types of listeners. Selective listeners listen mainly out of self-interest, and will practically ignore you unless you are talking about something that directly concerns them. Responsive listeners listen just enough to form an opinion or a rebuttal. They tend to interrupt a lot. The highest level of listener is the focused listener. This person ignores all distractions and focuses totally on the speaker.

 

In any given conversation, we will typically slip from one of these types of listening levels to another. The key is to get our minds off of ourselves and onto the other person. If we are genuinely interested in the other person – if we really care about the other person – we will automatically spend more time in the focused listening level.

 

Want to be a good listener? FOCUS on the other person.

 

 

Week #1 Recap: Building Trust and Rapport

 

  • Day 1:     Avoid criticizing and complaining.
  • Day 2:     Look at things from the other person’s point of view.
  • Day 3:     Smile more.
  • Day 4:     Make an effort to remember names.
  • Day 5:     Avoid placing the burden of your problems on other people.
  • Day 6:     Assume Responsibility for Clear Communications.
  • Day 7:     Practice good listening skills.

 

 

Human Insight #3: How to Resolve Conflicts

 

  • People love to be agreed with.
  • People hate to be disagreed with.
  • People like other people who agree with them.
  • People dislike other people who disagree with them.
  • People who are good at resolving conflicts look for some point of agreement and use good people skills to get others to see a different point of view.

 


Author: Doug Staneart, Date Published: February 20, 2015

Doug Staneart is president of The Leader's Institute ®. He is based in the Dallas, Texas Region. He is a specialist in corporate team building activities and custom presentation skills seminars.

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