How To Assess Interpersonal Skills

Managers may be asked to identify the interpersonal skills needed to effectively carry out the roles within their team.

Managers can identify the interpersonal skills needed for each role by speaking to the individuals in their team and reviewing their job descriptions. It is also useful to identify which customers and stakeholders the individual works with. In more senior roles the need to communicate broader organisational themes such as vision and strategic goals will impact the interpersonal skills that might be required.

When reviewing job roles, we can apply certain criteria to help us decide which interpersonal skills are needed for the role.

Examples of criteria might include:

  • the role has responsibility for direct reports
  • the role requires direct customer interaction
  • the role involves making decisions that directly affect customers
  • the role requires the person to deliver presentations/briefing/business cases
  • the role requires the training of team members
  • the role includes representing the team throughout the broader organisation
  • the role requires the person to be able to work on his or her own without supervision
  • the role requires the person to be able to handle difficult and challenging situations

Judging different roles against criteria like this will enable us to form views on the interpersonal skills and behaviours needed to successfully undertake that role. For example, making decisions that directly affect customers may mean that interpersonal skills such as patience, being an effective listener and the ability to negotiate are key for the role.

Having direct reports may mean that the person will need to be able to be collaborative and develop creative solutions to problems as well as being patient and a good listener. Depending on the level of the management there may be a need to demonstrate and live out the values of the organisation.

If the role does have responsibilities for direct reports and includes performance management, support, training etc. we can begin to build a picture of the interpersonal skills and behaviours that might be needed, such as patience, listening and being a team worker for the person occupying the role to be successful.

Good Luck!

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