There are a number of skills that contribute towards the improvement of a company in the field of management. The workforce in a given organisation is required to have, among others, good communication and interpersonal skills. Jehn (1995, p. 257) is of the opinion that interpersonal skills help to improve the efficiency of the human resource. The employees know what is expected of them and work in harmony towards the achievement of a common goal.
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The current essay is written against this background. In this paper, the author provides an analytical perspective into how interpersonal skills contribute towards enhanced efficiency in an organisation. A critical analysis of this subject reveals that interpersonal skills are essential in efficient organisational management. In light of this, the author evaluates this concept from three main perspectives.
Firstly, the definition outlines the specifics around interpersonal skills. Jordan and Zanna (1999, p. 462) points out that a holistic understanding of interpersonal skills is achieved by evaluating various definitions of the phenomenon. Secondly, the author evaluates the factors that contribute towards effective interpersonal skills. Finally, the discussion outlines the various factors behind poor interpersonal skills. To this end, the author evaluates the pros and cons of this set of skills within the framework of a contemporary organisation.
Interpersonal Skills: A Critical Analysis
The global business environment has become increasingly competitive. Companies are doing their best to gain the necessary presence in the market. According to Anderson (2010, p. 58), competition in the business world is designed to attract consumers to a particular brand. Jordan and Troth (2004, p. 196) point out that companies can use a number of techniques to expand their client base. One of these strategies is consistent and reliable customer service.
Effective customer relations call for the application of several sets of skills on the part of the employees. One of these sets is made up of interpersonal skills. The capabilities are essential in improving customer relation and, by extension, the efficiency of an organisation. The reason is that the consumer is a major determinant of the success of any business organisation.
Interpersonal skills cannot be taught within a classroom setting. Black and Lois (2008, p. 18) defines them as the character traits of an individual. The attributes are based on the ability of the person to interact with others around them. Productivity of an organisation’s workforce is enhanced when the employees have good interpersonal skills.
The reason is that they are able to work as a team towards the achievement of the firm’s goals. Good interpersonal skills help the individual to adopt a positive attitude and outlook in their day-to-day activities. The attitude reflects in their output in the workplace. Black and Lois (2008, p. 18) support the opinion that interpersonal skills cannot be taught in a classroom. However, Anderson (2010, p. 58) argues that these capabilities can be acquired in life depending on an individual’s personal characteristics.
The definition of “interpersonal skills” points to their relevance in contemporary business organisations. For example, a study conducted by Muir (2000, p. 143) found that most Fortune 500 companies have prioritised interpersonal skills in the criteria used in selecting employees. The capabilities require an individual to foster listening skills. Jehn (1995, p. 260) argues that interpersonal skills also require some element of communication. In this regard, the communication aspect calls for the engagement with a consumer in a two-way dialogue. As such, the employee can effectively interact with the consumer.
Interpersonal skills cannot be defined in one particular aspect. Jordan and Zanna (1999, p. 468) agree with this assertion. According to Jordan and Zanna (1999, p. 468), the fact that these skills cannot be acquired in a school set up is important. In light of this, it would be erroneous to stick to a particular definition. In addition, it is noted that several components of interpersonal skills are constantly evolving.
For instance, Jordan and Zanna (1999, p. 464) suggest that these capabilities can be defined from the perspective of the organisation’s efforts to target the consumer. However, internal interactions among employees in a company also call for interpersonal skills. In this regard, a proper definition of these talents should be one that brings together the consumer and an organisation’s workforce in an effort to achieve improved operational efficiency.
Factors that Contribute towards Effective Interpersonal Skills
In the previous section, it emerged that interpersonal skills are dependent on an individual’s character traits. In light of this, it is noted that efficiency in these capabilities is realised as a result of interplay of various factors. Kurien (2010, p. 30) argues that interpersonal skills are geared towards meeting certain objectives in an organisational framework. For instance, they are essential in establishing the needs and requirements of consumers. In this regard, consultative dialogue ensures that all the particulars relating to consumer demands are established. Consequently, a company is able to efficiently address the said consumer demands.
Communication is a key aspect of interpersonal skills. A study by Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) found that companies act as service providers. The efficiency in the provision of services depends on how best the provider communicates with the consumer. In this regard, Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) recommend a two-way dialogue. The conversation allows the consumer to ask all the relevant questions regarding a given product. The interactive nature is one way of addressing the needs of the market.
Two-way dialogue is beneficial to the consumer. However, one of the shortcomings of this technique is that it is time consuming. Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) suggest that proper feedback system should be put in place to support two-way communication. The costs associated with responding to every consumer’s concerns are too high for business. That notwithstanding, companies can outsource the customer relation department to enhance the two-way dialogue. In the long run, the strategy helps to improve interpersonal skills through effective communication
An Attribute of Caring
Interpersonal skills are associated with consumer relations. According to Janasz, Dowd, and Schneider (2014, p. 34), customer relations are purely meant to support interactions with the consumer. In this regard, one is required to develop an attitude of care, especially towards the needs of the client. Companies cannot teach people how to care. However, they can foster an atmosphere of caring. According to Guillen and Florent-Treacy (2011, p. 24), such an environment is a catalyst for improved interpersonal behaviour. For instance, good communication skills are developed among employees. The result is an improvement in performance at work.
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An atmosphere of caring emerges from the way employees interact with each other. Consumers are required to trust that a company has their interests at heart. According to Nader (2000, p. 18), a caring environment is based on the levels of communication in a company. Verbal and non-verbal communication is essential in developing good interpersonal skills. For instance, one is required to be attentive and make eye contact when interacting with customers. A caring atmosphere is crucial in developing interpersonal skills. However, it should be supplemented by professionalism. Professionalism ensures that consumers do not abuse the empathy created by an atmosphere of caring.
Bridging the Social Distance
The business environment helps to generate some social stratification due to the diversity of products. According to Jehn (1995, p. 257), social distance emerges when some socio-cultural-economic factors create lead to class stratification in the market. Jehn (1995, p. 257) points out that education and economic status determines how two individuals relate with each other. Most products developed by companies bring about the social distance common in many markets. For instance, vehicle makers create the impression that some luxury vehicles are exclusively for the affluent. However, good interpersonal skills help to bridge this social distance.
However, it is important to note that social distance in certain markets cannot be bridged due to the nature of the focus group. Eliminating this gap contributes to the development of good interpersonal skills. For instance, Nader (2000, p. 18) makes reference to this concept when discussing the emergence of good communication skills. At the same time, Anderson (2010, p. 58) explains that bridging the social distance supports the development of etiquette in customer relations.
Interpersonal Skills and Social Networks
In the business environment, social networks are essential in developing interpersonal relationships. Nader (2000, p. 18) argues that these networks enhance interpersonal skills since they enhance interactions between consumers and organisations. The systems improve the interpersonal capabilities of an individual. However, caution should be exercised when creating good interpersonal skills. Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) argue that social networks should not diminish the level of professionalism in a give practice. Social networking can be abused if left unregulated. In light of this, good interpersonal skills must always focus on pleasing the consumer, albeit to a reasonable extent.
Reasons behind Poor Interpersonal Skills
Poor interpersonal skills affect the performance of an organisation. The study by Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) suggests that inadequacies in these capabilities are common in cases where companies fail to cater for the interests of the consumers. For instance, value to consumer emerges when a company invests in the development of an environment of care. In this regard, organisations that lack an atmosphere of care foster poor interpersonal skills. Such scenarios are evident in cases where a workforce fails to relate with consumers in a proper manner. In this section, some personal attributes are discussed in relation to how individuals interact with each other in an organisational framework.
Guidance and Counselling
Interpersonal relationships are dependent on emotional aspects of an individual. In this regard, emotional downfalls are common. Murphy and Arnsparger (2010, p. 56) points out that guidance and counselling is necessary in an organisation since it provides solutions in cases of emotional distress. However, there are companies where this social service is not common. Unfortunately, such organisations lack the necessary interpersonal skills. To this end, it is realised that these skills transcend the emotional aspects of an individual.
Absence of a Team Spirit
Team spirit is essential in developing efficiency in an organisation. It encourages proper interaction within and without the work setting. Anderson (2010, p. 58) argues that when team spirit is absent, employees lack the etiquette needed to support social interactions. Such a situation is common in the medical profession.
According to Black and Lois (2008, p. 18), team spirit in the medical profession enhances performance of the employees and the experience of consumers. The members of staff are able to provide high quality services when the level of communication is proficient and professional. The absence of team spirit hampers the development of a caring atmosphere, which is crucial in a hospital framework (Black & Lois 2008, p. 18).
As previously mentioned, listening skills are a key ingredient in the emergence of good interpersonal skills. Black and Lois (2008, p. 18) point out that most countries in Europe emphasise on competence in relation to relational skills as recruitment criteria. Lack of team spirit contributes towards poor interpersonal skills. The result is a degradation of a company’s brand.
Efficiency of an organisation is determined by how a company interacts with its consumers. Black and Lois (2008, p. 18) point out that a workforce with good interpersonal skills attracts more consumers. The interactive element of relational capabilities fosters engagements in the workplace. In this essay, the importance of this element was highlighted. As mentioned in the introduction segment, interpersonal skills are essential in efficient organisational management. Effective management of an entity is dependent on how employees interact with each other and with the consumers. The current essay lays the ground for future research on the subject of organisational management and how it relates to interpersonal skills.
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