People Skills for Leaders: 12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient #PeopleSkills

Leaders, people skills are critical to success. Yet in a demanding business pace, people skills are often last on the learning list.

Luckily leaders and teams can build proficient people skills while attending to critical business. The proficiency starts with attitude and flows into people skills behavior!

People Skills: Image is Light Bulb

Leaders, 12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient People Skills Image by:Sean MacEntee

Image by: Sean MacEntee via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Proficient People Skills: Hold and Use These 12 Thoughts

  1. An open mind creates phenomenal results.

    Most people feel respected, honored, and uplifted by an open mind. Both in output and in morale, it produces positive results. There are some exceptions yet overall it is a winning thought. Build proficient people skills from an open mind.

  2. Cultural awareness strengthens people skills and results.

    We are global while local. Technology connects us yet we must be able to build upon that. Would you want to reconnect with people who showed no awareness of your world? Strengthen the proficiency of your people skills through learning about different cultures.

  3. Personal integrity gives you tremendous influence.

    When you own your mistakes, offer apologies with no excuses, and constantly improve your self-awareness, your people skills will naturally shine.

  4. Teams strengthen a leader’s reality.

    When we remember that our vision, understanding, and experience gains momentum with a team’s perspective, we are more likely to respect their input and collaboration. Build proficient people skills from this awareness.

  5. Understanding people leads to influence.

    Most leadership is actually influence in action. To effectively influence others — team members, customers, and even your boss — understand what they care about. Knowledge of others builds proficient people skills.

  6. Know when your people skills naturally shine.

    Complete this sentence: I am best at people skills when ____________________________. Identify when you usually interact well with others. Is it when you are happy? Confident? Relieved? Celebrating? Respected? In need? In difficulty? When is it? Capture what you do during these times and apply it across the board. Your natural pattern can build proficient people skills.

  7. People skills deliver in tough times.

    Contrary to popular belief, people skills are not a sign of weakness. In tough times you can draw on the good will you have built through people skills to deliver otherwise unachievable results. “Because of our long standing relationship, I’ll do it for you.” That’s an homage to your great people skills!

  8. People skills are not just for extroverts.

    If you are more introverted than extroverted, repaint the image you have about people skills. It is not about gregarious, outspoken, high energy behavior. People skills is stepping outside of your own perspective to understand and interact effectively with others. High extroverts have just as much adaptation to make as introverts. Both can succeed if they seek to understand.

  9. Bonds are not bondage.

    Many leaders having a driver personality crave end results not relationships. In fact, many believe that bonds with others are a detour to success and a trap that stops them just short of the finish line. Yet unless these leaders truly do everything themselves to reach success, bonds with others are the road to the finish line. Knowing the difference between bonds and bondage builds proficient people skills.

  10. Finding fault stops progress; finding solutions ignites success.

    One of the riskiest people skills moments for leaders is during a crisis or failure. That trigger voice that says: “Who’s at fault?” can bury future collaboration forever. Great people skills can guide the organization back to success and to a culture of accountability. A focus on success, not blame, can build proficient people skills.

  11. If you overlook team problems, success overlooks your teams.

    Morale matters. It impacts results. Team member people skills affect morale of the team and the results of the organization. “They are not children. Let them work it out themselves.” These beliefs cost the organization money and sacrifice success. Accept the truth about morale and you build proficient people skills.

  12. Get over being comfortable; get versatile.

    Global business success requires constant growth which means the discomfort of change. Focus on the versatility that people skills bring to your success and you will build proficient people skills!

Thoughts drive behavior and create a chain of reactions. Hold these thoughts about people skills and build valuable bonds that strengthen results.

Which of these thoughts rings strongest to you? Or would you add to or delete something from this list?

From professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leaders, 10 Ways to Ignite Greatness Without Leaving Scars
3 Moments When Your People Skills Can Fail & How to Avoid That

©2011-13 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please first email for terms of use. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, customer service, customer experience, and teamwork. She turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

21 Responses to “People Skills for Leaders: 12 Essential Thoughts to Proficient #PeopleSkills”

  1. Jon M says:

    Kate, Excellent thoughts on people skills. The one that resonates the most with me is – Teams strengthen a leader’s reality. Strong teams make everything better: people, leaders, initiatives, etc. Great stuff, as always! Thanks! Jon

  2. Khalid says:

    I am best at people-skills when my views are respected 🙂

    Thanks Kate for yet another creative post 🙂


  3. anneegros says:

    Great thoughts Kate.
    I am best at people skills when I am with others doing brainstorming and team builiding activities

  4. You might say, on No. 6, that developing people skills is also about stepping outside your comfort zone if you’re an introvert. My natural tendency is to be an introvert, but I’ve successfully learned how to step outside of my comfort zone and to pursue business opportunities. A person can either sit on the sidelines forever or he/she can take a chance and try to accomplish something.

    The same might be said for No. 10. A person who settles for being comfortable is likely to be left behind in this fast-changing world.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Yes yes yes Jason. Not always easy yet stepping out to try or learn something new is the essence of long term success.
      Thank you for highlighting this!

  5. Marvelous list that’s rarely included in a world focused on systems and tactics. Thanks!

  6. Alli Polin says:

    Excellent, Kate! I think that the one that speaks to me most at the moment is number 11 If You Overlook Team Problems Success Overlooks Your Team. I’ve heard too many leaders saying that they have better things to do than help their team work out their problems. Really? What could be more important? The line you used is one I’ve heard far too often. We need leaders with the People Skills to know that relationships are the catalyst for exceptional work.

    Thanks, Kate!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you Alli. I value your opinion on the role that leaders play in team morale. It is so critical. Thank you — truly for weighing in on this discussion!

  7. LaRae Quy says:

    Great Kate! I was drawn to #12 Get over being comfortable; get versatile. Fear of discomfort will prevent you and your team from ever truly taking the risk of being innovative. If it doesn’t work, don’t let the team fall apart or become discouraged! I think the process will prove to be much more valuable than whether or not the project failed or succeeded.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks LaRae! It’s own of my favorites as well. And you are right on target in highlighting how people skills affect innovation.

      Always pleased to have your views on these posts.
      Warmest wishes,

  8. Ara Ohanian says:

    Kate, great post, your last point resonates most clearly. The word “comfort” should not be in a leader’s vocabulary. For success, a leader needs to be uncomfortable because he/she has a variety of people on the team, uncomfortable because difficult decisions must be made, uncomfortable because direct reports grow and rise faster than she or he does.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Wonderful insight Ara. There are many privileges that seem to come with leadership AND many obligations. Being the model of growth is one of those obligations and that of course can cause discomfort.

      Thank you for commenting and contributing. I hope you will share your wisdom and experience often here at the people skills blog.

      Warmest regards,

  9. Nnamnso Okorie says:

    These steps are wonderfully great. Building people skills remain the best way to reach the unreached. In doing this the golden rule applies-do to others what you want them to do for you.When we treat people honourably, we will get honourable results.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Nnamnso,
      I really like your assertion: “Building people skills remains the best way to reach the unreached.” GREAT way of saying it.

      I invite you to join our online people skills community. We have presence on G+, LinkedIn, FB, and Pinterest. For more info, go to the people skills page on this site and you can connect to your preferred social stream >

      Also, we have a people skills Twitter chat (#peopleskills) every Sunday 10am ET.

      Warmest wishes of thanks for contributing your insights to this blog post and hopefully our online community,

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