I have people skills, I am good at dealing with people…

The Rare Leader™ is always interacting with people.  The Rare Leader™ is able to utilize intuition to sense what people are feeling and thinking.  The Rare Leader™ has the ability to interact positively, actively listening, understanding, and responding to different behavioral styles.  The Rare Leader naturally proves he or she can focus on others rather than self.
“Well, look, I already told you. I deal with the #*@#$% customers so the engineers don’t have to. I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can’t you understand that? What the hell is wrong with you people?!”… Tom Smykowski responding to Bob Slydel – Office Space
Tom was a leader of the Software Engineering Team at Initech, a company plagued by excessive management.  When pressed, Tom really felt his number one skill was “dealing with people”, because had “people skills”.  

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of people skills, unfortunately I think too many times about managers like Tom, who really do think their people skills are second to none.  Even though Tom is a fictional leader, from a fictional company, from a movie, it is in fact, rare to find real leaders from real companies with great people skills.  The reason Tom felt his people skills were so strong, is that he was so focused on himself, rather than the Team members he was leading.
Great relationships with people do start and end with the skills and behaviors you show in establishing powerful, long lasting, relationships of trust, collaboration, and shared success.  
Do you have great intuition?  Can you connect the dots of what you observe about the people you lead?  To properly observe, you need a keen ability going beyond what you might easily see, hear, or touch.  Intuition takes you inside the character of the people you lead, to sense and understand what they are thinking and feeling.  What does the connection tell you?  Connecting the dots and applying your intuition about people is similar to the skills you find as a visionary, using data and trends to see into the future.  Your intuition should enable you to see the future possibilities between yourself and other people.  
What is your ability to interact with others?  Are your active listening skills refined?  Does it come naturally to listen intently and be able to repeat what you heard…word for word?  
After listening, can you understand what the other person is really saying?  What is their hidden meaning?  What action are they seeking from you?  Do they desire you to offer a response full of ideas, suggestions and directives, or are they merely seeking a listener with empathy?  
What is your response?  Does your response come from truly caring about what they have to say?  Or, is your response quick, to the point, enabling you to move to your next agenda item of your day?
Perhaps the hidden challenge for the Rare Leader™ with relationships is adapting all of these skills to the “human factor”.  After all, like snowflakes, no two human beings are alike.  This gives you great opportunity to develop your intuition, interaction, listening skills, understanding, and response, to varying styles and diversity of people.  This adaption to diversity draws from the Core of your Character.  This adaption to diversity of behavior styles in your Team, is the test of the integrity of your Character.
In the end, your relationships with others have no grounding if you continue to focus on yourself first.  This was really Tom’s issue when self analyzing his number one skill at Initech.  I see this same issue when observing, assessing, and coaching leaders who fail at building positive relationships as a proven characteristic of becoming a Rare Leader™.  The core of these failings continue to look back at a narcissistic self involved, “me first” Leader.  
Who do you focus on?  What is your style?
  1. Do you have great intuition?
  2. What is your ability to interact with others?
  3. Are your active listening skills refined?
  4. Can you understand what the other person is really saying?
  5. Does your response come from truly caring about what others have to say?
  6. Can you prove you do focus on others rather than yourself?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you, 
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach, 
Contact Steve Riege via: twitter, or his website.
2 Responses to I have people skills, I am good at dealing with people…
  1. Caroline
    July 14, 2010 | 2:59 pm

    Very insightful… thanks for the great tips on making sure we actually have the "people skills" that so many people claim to possess!

  2. Steve Riege
    August 30, 2010 | 7:43 am

    Caroline,
    Thanks for your comment.

    You encourage others to put these questions to work. Your call to Integrity is wonderful.

    You might also enjoy the March postings where I focused on Integrity of Character.

    Enjoy!

    Steve

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