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  • Writer's pictureLinda Milun

How You Can Be More Effective In Interpersonal Connections

Living interpersonal connections effectively is of utter importance – especially for leaders! That’s why today you will get to know what interpersonal effectiveness is and I will hand you three guidelines that will help you improve your skills.

What exactly is Interpersonal Effectiveness?

It summarizes the skills we need to attend relationships successfully:

The ability to meet your own needs while maintaining healthy relationships and self-respect!

e.g. At work, it would help create efficient interactions with, staff, employees, colleagues etc.

What we need to keep in mind is that the ideal is to accomplish all three. However, there will be situations when you will need to choose one over the other. E.g.:

  • You are responsible for the safety of your team in a stressful and dangerous situation. You will most likely give commands and don’t pay so much attention to how empathetic you are interacting with each individual because you need to make sure all team members have to leave the building

  • You want to take your staff out for a dinner and had a place in mind, but you get to know that your team prefers a different place, so you would probably cancel the place you intended to take them and instead book at their preferred location. Here the relationship is the most important factor and not what you wanted.

  • You have your own online business and some customers talk in a rude manner or demand refunds for products they damaged: You would not say in this kind of situation “Customer is king” because you have a healthy amount of self-respect and you place a boundary. That could look like: placing customers who violate basic moral standards and respectful interactions on a black list.

What can be common causes of having trouble executing interpersonal effectiveness?

  • Lack of skills in interpersonal effectiveness: not knowing how to apologize

  • Emotions – anger causes escalation of conflict

  • Indecisiveness & ambivalence: sending mixed signals due to your confusion about what you want

  • Short-term goals distract you from long-term goals

You could say that Interpersonal Effectiveness has three domains:

1. Objective Effectiveness:

The ability to clearly state your needs and wants and to have a satisfactory outcome of interactions. A question that can help you is: What do you want as an outcome from the interaction & how can you achieve that?”

The acronym DEAR MAN presents a guide on how to accomplish that:

  • Describe – be clear & specific when you explain what you want

  • Express – Don’t force others to assume, instead be clear in expressing your feelings.

  • Assert – Don’t beat around the bush! Say what you need to say!

  • Reinforce – Reward good/ desired behaviour! Affirm why your desired outcome is positive!

  • Mindful – Keep always focused on the goals of the interactions. Don’t lose yourself in arguments!

  • Appear – Enable yourself to appear more confident through posture, tone, eye contact & body language.

  • Negotiate – Be willing to face & initiate negotiation! Find Compromises!

2. Relationship Effectiveness:

Maintaining and nourishing the relationship through positive interactions. A question that can help you is: How do you want others to feel about you after the interaction & how can you achieve that?

The acronym GIVE will show you how to put this into practice:

  • Be Gentle – Be prepared to accept “Nos” from others! Don’t attack or throw tantrums! Don’t threaten or judge!

  • Be Interested – Show genuine interest: Listen actively to the other person and do not interrupt!

  • Validate – The validation of feelings & opinions is important: Acknowledge & respect how others feel & think about something or someone! Keep in mind: validating does not equal agreement.

  • Easy – Choose an attitude that takes things easy – not careless, but relaxed and calm!

3. Self-respect Effectiveness:

Staying faithful to your own beliefs, standards and values! Living and acting on your self-respect. Treating yourself with respect will enable you to accept the respect of others. The main questions are: How do you want to feel about yourself after the interaction & how can you achieve that?

You will find the acronym FAST useful:

  • Be fair – be fair with everyone, that includes you too. e.g. not making people responsible for what they didn’t do wrong

  • No apologies – only apologies for justified reasons. Apologizing too much can damage your credibility.

  • Stick to values – don’t compromise to please people. Be faithful to your values.

  • Be truthful – Don’t exaggerate! Don’t manipulate others by pretending to be helpless! Don’t lie!

How can you improve your skills?

Have a look at each domain and acronym. Assess yourself via a scale 1-10 (1= lowest): How satisfied are you with your performance in F, A, S, T and overall self-respect effectiveness. Then you start actively working on the area(s) where you observe a lack in skill. Don't work on it all at once. Target the one that seems to be the most relevant. Give yourself enough time and patience to work on it.

If you are not content with your progress or you just want great and effective support, then contact me for coaching sessions! I am happy to help you grow and to be for you the best possible support you could imagine!

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