Interpersonal Savvy... What You Need to Lead!

5 min read | Erin Defoyd

Leading Women: Interpersonal Savvy

As we look towards another month (at least) of quarantine, many of us may feel like we have settled into some kind of new normal. Whether you’ve drastically adjusted to where and how you work, or you’ve unfortunately been displaced from work due to pandemic related lay-offs, the truth is that leadership in the pace of change today, has never been more important. As we discussed in our recent blog -- change is the only constant in life -- and that is so very true at this present time. While we must accept what’s out of our control and work to settle into a new normal, abandoning any of the core leadership competencies for managing change is not an option. 

So, today we wanted to share with you info on the leadership competency:
Interpersonal Savvy.

Interpersonal Savvy is “relating well with all kinds of people - inside and outside of the organization, building support, relationships, using diplomacy & defusing high tension situations.”

We are starting with a focus on this competency -- because let’s face it -- while we may be settled in and accepting of the reality of this current crisis, there is no doubt we are stressed, grieving, and operating in the midst of so many unknowns. And this can have a significant impact on how you are relating to the people in your organization (and home too) in any of the following ways:

  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Listening Skills
  • Teamwork
  • Empathy
  • Dependability
  • Negotiation
  • Problem-Solving
  • Decision-Making
  • Assertiveness
  • Attitude

We should be asking ourselves how we are relating with colleagues and peers in the midst of today’s environment in any or all of the areas above. Even while distanced, without work, or simply operating the best we can -- let’s remember the importance of leading and modeling interpersonal savviness. So while you may be exhausted, working from home with kids in the background, and with the same deadlines and assignments even in this new environment, reflect on a few examples of what we mean with these two skills…

  • Verbal communication: "How am I speaking to my teams?" "Are my emotions and environment having an impact on how I’m coming across while on the phone 1:1 or team calls?" "Should I take a moment to think, before I speak?” 

  • Non-verbal communication: “Am I making eye contact, even while on a video call?” “What am I doing with my body posture, to show that I’m engaged?” “Is my phone or other electronics obviously distracting me?” 
  • Ask yourself how you are doing in all the areas listed above...

And guess what -- this period of quarantine -- might just give us the best opportunity to strengthen these skills! Here are some ideas for how you can make the most of this time: 

  1. Request feedback and input from those you are stuck with at home! What you receive will be raw and unfiltered, but can also provide tremendous insights that could improve relations in your family, that may also apply to work. You can also use this time to get feedback from colleagues -- your leadership through demonstrating a commitment to personal development in the face of adversity is sure to inspire those you work with.

  2. Take an online class, download a podcast or read a book on how to improve your interpersonal skills. Our favorites here at Leading Women include “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown, “How we Lead matters” by Marilyn Carlson Nelson, and “Managing Up And Across” by Harvard Business Review Press.

  3. Engage a leadership coach -- this is where we at Leading Women can help! Our individual coaching sessions for you, or someone on your team, will provide an arsenal of tools to help develop not just interpersonal savviness, but many other leadership competencies as well.

  4. And, be sure to subscribe to our blog (or share it with a colleague) to receive more information on the other competencies of managing change.

Lead ON!

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Read ON! 

Part 1: LEADERSHIP at the pace of Global Change...

Part 2: Interpersonal Savvy... What You Need to Lead!

Part 3: Organizational Agility: Getting “It” Done

Part 4: Leading Through Uncertainty: Dealing with Ambiguity

Part 5: Managing Complexity: The Up Close & Wider View

Part 6: Navigating Change with Resiliency