The Benefits of Building Social Skills
Leading people effectively means knowing how to interact with them in positive ways. This makes social skills a crucial ability for leaders in today’s workplace.
In 2023, social skills make up half of the most important skills organizations seek in their leaders.
I’ve written about the importance of human and relational skills in leadership before. In my previous newsletter on this topic, I discussed the varied terminology used to describe “soft” skills and gave some tips for how to work on social skills.
Today, I want to focus on how developing this skill set benefits you, your team, and your organization.
How Human and Relational Skills Benefit Leaders
Developing interpersonal skills enhances the effectiveness and success of leaders in several ways. Some key benefits include:
Communication is an important social skill to develop because the best leaders express themselves clearly, concisely, and persuasively. The better you articulate your ideas, visions, and expectations to people whose brains work differently than yours, the more you foster understanding, collaboration, and trust with your team.
Leaders with strong social skills build more positive relationships. When you are empathetic, approachable, and responsive, you build trust, loyalty, and mutual respect. Building strong relationships leads to better teamwork, cooperation, and support, creating a positive work environment.
Conflict is inevitable in any organization. Leaders with developed social skills can effectively manage and resolve conflicts by employing active listening, empathy, and negotiation techniques. This helps you facilitate open and constructive discussions, find common ground, and work toward win-win solutions.
Social skills are closely linked to emotional intelligence, the ability to understand and manage your emotions and those of others. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can recognize and regulate their emotions and understand their team members’ emotions. This enables you to respond appropriately to different situations, motivate and inspire others, and make informed decisions.
Networking and Collaboration
Socially skilled leaders are adept at using their strong communication and relationship-building abilities to network both inside and outside of the organization. They can leverage relationships to collaborate, share knowledge, gather diverse perspectives, and explore new opportunities. Effective networking expands your influence, opens doors for partnerships, and facilitates personal and professional growth.
Adaptability and Change Management
Socially skilled leaders are better equipped to navigate through change and uncertainty. They can effectively communicate change initiatives, address concerns, and engage their teams in the process. The ability to adapt, listen, and respond to different perspectives facilitates smoother transitions and increases acceptance and commitment to change.
How Interpersonal Skills Benefit the Team
As I’ve mentioned before, people just want to be seen, heard, understood, appreciated, inspired, and feel they matter. You can meet all of these needs for your team more easily by developing your human and relational skills. Some ways leaders with good social skills meet these needs include:
Leaders with social skills foster an environment of open communication. They actively listen to their employees, value their opinions, and encourage them to express their ideas and concerns. This open communication allows employees to feel heard, respected, and valued, leading to increased job satisfaction and engagement.
Supportive Work Environment
Social skills help leaders create a supportive work environment where employees feel safe and comfortable. By demonstrating empathy, understanding, and approachability, Human Leaders encourage employees to seek help, ask questions, and share challenges. This supportive environment promotes employee well-being, reduces stress levels, and enhances overall job satisfaction.
Development and Growth Opportunities
Human Leaders are invested in the development and growth of their team members. They provide constructive feedback, identify strengths and areas for improvement, and offer guidance and support. Employees benefit from personalized development plans, training opportunities, and mentoring relationships, which contribute to their professional growth and advancement.
Collaboration and Teamwork
Socially skilled leaders foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork. They encourage cross-functional collaboration, facilitate effective team communication, and promote a sense of shared purpose. This allows colleagues to benefit from improved teamwork, knowledge sharing, and diverse perspectives, leading to enhanced creativity, problem-solving, and overall team performance.
Recognition and Appreciation
Social skills help leaders effectively recognize and appreciate the contributions of their employees. Human Leaders acknowledge individual and team achievements, express gratitude, and provide meaningful rewards and recognition. This recognition boosts employee morale, motivation, and job satisfaction, creating a positive work environment.
Leaders with social skills are effective at resolving conflicts fairly and constructively. They encourage open dialogue, mediate conflicts, and work towards win-win solutions. By resolving conflicts, employees experience reduced stress, improved relationships with colleagues, and a more harmonious work environment.
Career Support and Advocacy
People benefit from leaders with social skills who act as advocates for their careers. These leaders provide guidance, mentorship, and opportunities for professional growth. They support employees in reaching their career goals, advocate for their advancement within the organization, and provide necessary resources and opportunities for success.
How Social Skills Benefit the Organization
Organizations derive several benefits from having leaders with strong social skills. Some key ways include:
Improved Employee Engagement
Leaders with social skills can effectively engage and motivate employees. They create a positive work environment where employees feel valued, heard, and supported. This boosts employee morale, satisfaction, and loyalty, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity.
Enhanced Team Collaboration
As I mentioned earlier, socially skilled leaders promote collaboration among team members. This fosters a collaborative culture where individuals work together, share ideas, and contribute their unique skills and expertise. Strong team collaboration leads to increased innovation, problem-solving, and overall team performance.
Stronger Employee Relationships
Leaders with social skills excel at building and maintaining relationships with employees. They create a sense of trust, respect, and psychological safety, which encourages open communication and feedback. Strong employee relationships result in higher levels of job satisfaction, better teamwork, and improved retention rates.
Positive Organizational Culture
Leaders who prioritize social skills contribute to the development of a positive organizational culture. They set the tone by modeling respectful and inclusive behavior. This fosters a culture of collaboration, trust, and mutual support, where employees feel valued and motivated to contribute their best efforts. A positive culture attracts and retains top talent and creates a competitive advantage for the organization.
Effective Change Management
Socially skilled leaders play a crucial role in managing change within organizations. They can effectively communicate the reasons for change, address concerns and resistance, and rally employees around a shared vision. Their ability to empathize, listen, and involve employees in the change process leads to higher acceptance and commitment to change initiatives.
Stronger External Relationships
Leaders with social skills also benefit organizations by establishing and nurturing external relationships. They excel at networking, forming partnerships, and building rapport with stakeholders, clients, and customers. These relationships can lead to strategic alliances, increased business opportunities, and improved organizational reputation.
Assess Your Human and Relational Skills
I cannot overstate just how much everyone benefits when you strategically invest in developing your human and relational skills. To get started take the Human Leader Index™ (HLI).
The HLI consists of 67 questions designed to measure your people leadership strengths and areas of opportunity. Upon completion of this complimentary questionnaire, you will receive a personalized report with your results.
Once you have your results, grab a copy of Be Human, Lead Human: How to Connect People and Performance. It contains exercises and resources to help you create a strategic roadmap to start elevating your leadership, including your social skills.
Growing your social and leadership skills is essential if you want to climb the ladder and drive organizational success. For more insightful content to help you elevate your leadership, be sure to subscribe to this LinkedIn newsletter and explore my blog.
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