Leaders, Avoid 8 Common Causes of People Skills Mistakes #LeadMorale

The value of great people skills in business is well established yet people skills mistakes abound. Avoiding those mistakes allows your people skills to be the language of connection for employee engagement, customer experience, leadership, and teamwork.

Whether you call it interpersonal skills, soft skills, emotional intelligence, or people skills — the singular goal is to transcend differences for a positive result.

People skills brilliance blooms from self-awareness and generosity. The blunders tumble out of moments of fear and short-sightedness. The happy news is that the 8 common causes of people skills mistakes are easily avoidable.

People Skills Mistakes: Image is Someone Falling

People Skills: Avoid Tumbling into Common Mistakes Image by:WorldOfOddy

Image by World of Oddy via Flickr Creative Commons License.

The 8 Common Causes of People Skills Mistakes

As The People Skills Coach™, I see brilliance and blunders in the leaders and teams I coach and train. Here are the eight common blunders you can replace with your brilliance.

  • Thinking you must choose between civility and honesty. I continue to read blog posts and see leaders make this needless mistake. Civility is how you deliver your honesty. It’s not a choice between civility and honesty. Good manners do not stop success. Alternative: Deliver honesty with civility not bluntness with emotion.

  • Confusing good judgment and judgmentalism. Good judgment is born of different experiences. It can bring valuable debate, innovation, and success. Judging people (judgmentalism) degrades others and blocks opportunities for success. Alternative: See each person as a possibility for a team win.

  • Forgetting or denying that every conversation communicates and creates emotion. People skills blunders abound in those who focus purely on their own message and never on honoring other people. People skills brilliance lies in the awareness of how your actions impact others and in the generosity to adapt. Stay on the right road: Speed success by honoring others. Avoid the detour to the land of disrespect.

  • And avoid these people skills blunders …

  • Fear of losing. When people fear losing and focus only on winning, ironically they often lose. Fear widens the gap between people. People skills tumble as fear-driven behavior comes across as selfish and inconsiderate. The chance for engagement, support, and mutual agreement is slim. Alternative: Become self-aware. Spot and stop fears from driving your behavior.

  • Mistaking listening and adapting for surrender. Picture a happy boorish clod who never listened or considered other’s needs. When I asked about his behavior, he replied, “The world belongs to those who don’t surrender.” Attention everyone, the world belongs to those who listen, interact, influence, and create a win for all. None of these things constitute surrender!

  • Focusing on the stressful moment rather than a desirable outcome. Differences can cause stress yet they don’t have to derail people skills and a favorable outcome. Focus tip: When the stressful feelings surface, remember your options and choose wisely.

  • Believing that confidence and humility cannot co-exist. Regardless of personality type, a person can be both confident in their message and humble in delivering it. Key thought: Humility is flexible and open to learning and that delivers success.

  • Clinging to a comfort zone. The greater the craving for self-comfort, the greater the risk of people skills mistakes. The comfort zones of personality type, cultural background, educational level, and occupational focus, are ripe for people skills blunders. Gentle reminder: The comfort zone is full of sitting ducks and it is not as safe as it feels!

The Heart of the Matter

Adapt to close the gap and reap the benefits of exceptional people skills.

Question: What people skills brilliance or blunders have you experienced?

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

Related Posts:
Pleasures That Calm When Dealing With Toxic People
Humility in Leadership: Myths, Fears, and Truths on Todd Nielsen blog.
7 Steps from Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest

©2012-2024 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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7 Responses to “Leaders, Avoid 8 Common Causes of People Skills Mistakes #LeadMorale”

  1. Ryan Setter says:

    Wonderful post, Kate. Although I cannot think of any concrete examples at this very moment – although, I’m sure a ton will come to me later – I’m sure that the most blunderful experiences for me will share the same theme. This is the kind where I’m witness to acts that affect others in such a way (your point #2) that I, myself are compelled to “make-up” for the poor behavior of the offender (usually a total stranger) because it would almost be a crime to let the affected keep feeling the way that they were made to feel. A bit extreme, but I am surprised by how often I am witness to thoughtless behavior; however, I always remain hopeful that we can be an an example and show a better way!

  2. Kent Julian says:

    Excellent post, Kate! Thanks for sharing your ways on how to avoid the 7 common causes
    of people-skills mistakes. A great list to watch out for in relationships with others.

  3. Ron Bender says:

    I find that many people seem to “listen with their answer running”, meaning that they are just waiting close-minded for enough of a pause in the other person’s speech to insert their opinion or jump onto their soapbox. This is not communication, it is self-centered pontification! I prefer to listen attentively, rephrase the other person’s statements, and then agree or explain why I might not agree.

  4. Great post, Kate. I love the way you gave some alternatives and thought tips. I find all of these causes can happen, yet can be developed through skill and practice. Thanks, Robert

  5. Karen says:

    I agree that people mistake cooperation for surrender. The fear of surrender is at the root of a lot of negative behavior. I see this especially where men and women interact.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      That is a big one Karen — I agree. If someone starts out with seeing most everything as competition and needing to conquer, then any “give” feels like surrender to them.

      When we see life as collaborative, then “giving” seems like cooperation, not surrender.

      Many thanks for adding your perspective here.
      Warmest regards,

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