#PeopleSkills Neutrality: Careful! Neutrality is Not Always the Goal
by Kate Nasser | 2 Comments »
People Skills Neutrality Is Not Always the Goal!
A recent online experience made me aware that some believe that using great people skills means you must be neutral. This is a myth. Neutrality is rarely the goal of people skills. It is also a very risky myth. It can drive people to put aside people skills when they want to express their views or take a strong stand.
Let’s Get Over the People Skills Neutrality Myth
We use great people skills for many reasons that have nothing to do with being neutral:
- Assessing other’s needs and feelings
- Listening and empathizing
- Creating productive dialogue
- Presenting our views without attacking others
- Expressing our views with words & body language
- Working through difficulty and negative emotions
- Facilitating and arbitrating
- Negotiating win-win deals
- Leading and inspiring others
Clearly, people skills neutrality is rarely the goal. In fact we use people skills to work through difficulty vs. avoid it. We use them to treat others fairly which is different from being neutral. In business we use people skills to be professional and objective whether we are neutral or not.
Also, we must remember that being neutral can come across as detached and unfeeling. In the presence of injustice, people may see neutrality as siding with the oppressor. Moreover, people often see a leader’s neutrality as incompetence and abandonment. Don’t confuse great people skills with being neutral. Use great people skills to open dialogue, explore differences, and build and sustain relationships.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
Leadership: Fairness is Not Neutrality
Leadership Calls: Are You Ready to Answer?
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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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A key point on neutrality. I believe people should come into meetings with an open mind. Maybe more importantly is to come in with a growth mindset, knowing that we don’t have all the answers or doing it the way we have always done it are good ways.
A further distinction then might be between neutrality and openness and neutrality and growth mindsets.
We need to be fully engaged throughout.
I like your distinction between neutrality and an open growth mindset. Some may think we are playing with words yet words matter. Neutrality has taken on a meaning of being less active or even inactive on an issues. Although some don’t make the distinction between being neutral and being open, it was clear in the recent People Skills global Twitter chat on the topic of Impact of Being Neutral that others do.
Your final comment above “we need to be fully engaged throughout” wisely sums it up.
Many thanks for your contribution here,