People Skills Shock: Leaders, Would Your Teams Ever Say This?

People Skills Shock: Leaders, Do Your Teams Think Business Is Impersonal?

It was a sudden moment of silence in one of my customer experience workshops. Half-way into the program on customer expectations and customer care, one of the participants blurted out …

Why do we have to focus on how we treat people? It isn’t personal; it’s business.

The other participants just stared at her. The silence was deafening. Later they expressed their shock to me privately. They couldn’t believe it. Did she really say that? How could she not know that you interact with people in business?

People Skills Shock: Image is cartoon saying "No! I don't believe it."

People Skills Shock: Leaders, Do Teams Know the Value of People Skills? Image by Tom Simpson via Flickr.

Image by Tom Simpson via Flickr Creative Commons License.

People Skills Shock: Business Is Personal!

Leaders, what message are you communicating to your teams? Do you highlight how emotional intelligence and people skills sustain business relationships? Or does your leadership behavior tell the employees to depersonalize teamwork and service?

Here’s a self-assessment checklist. Do you …

  • Focus purely on tasks and end results or also discuss the importance of positive interactions?
  • Label some team members as too sensitive or help team members work through difficult interactions?
  • Engage in behind the scenes trash talk about some customers or inspire team members to see each customer as valuable?
  • Speak harshly to team members claiming it will make them work harderor model respectful honest communication?
  • Claim that courtesy slows down progressor use please, thank you, and other courtesies on a regular basis?
  • Depersonalize your interactions with employeesor engage them and celebrate their talents?

If you ever receive the “why do we have to care” people skills shock from one of your employees, here are some key replies:

  1. Businesses are comprised of people who make choices and decisions.
  2. Treat people with respect and care and you build trust. Trust increases opportunities and results.
  3. Teamwork is founded on respect and fueled through trust. The people skills shock of being treated badly can be a major obstacle to results.
  4. Human beings are naturally diverse. Emotional intelligence and civility bring people together and keep them coming back. Your need for care may be lower than others. Yet it’s important to treat people how they want to be treated — not how you want to be treated.

Prevent your team from having a lone employee lob a people skills shock statement at everyone else. Help them learn each other’s personality type and how to adapt. Inspire and model the importance of people skills in leadership, management, teamwork, and customer experience. You will create a powerful culture of productive interactions and stellar service.

How specifically have people skills helped you lead?

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

Related Posts
Courtesy Checklist: 10 Superior Ways to Succeed
18 Things Respected Well-Liked Leaders Consistently Do
10 Steps to Emotionally Intelligent Teamwork w/ Emotionally Unintelligent Teammates
Teamwork Persona, Are You Someone Others Want to Work With?

©2015 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 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.


Engage in people skills learning!

Let’s turn interaction obstacles into business success in leadership, teamwork, and customer service experience.

I invite your questions, welcome your wisdom, and look forward to working with you.
~Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

4 Responses to “People Skills Shock: Leaders, Would Your Teams Ever Say This?”

  1. That response was fairly typical of what I saw in the business world. I read this book called “Inc. Yourself,” and one of the line that struck me was an assertion that “Life is more like High School than College.”

    The fact that so many “business” people fail to realize that business is personal was one of my main reasons for leaving corporate and going it alone.

    Thanks for the article


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Robert,
      The folks who believe business is business — not personal — think that until they need something or are overlooked. Perhaps empathy is lacking there.

      Many thanks for contributing to this discussion!

    • Dustin says:

      I read that book Robert. I was an engineer looking to start my own business at the time so “Inc. Yourself” really resonated with me. I remember that exact quote about life being more like high school than college. I think I never could find a balance between being too personable (at least as an engineer) and being too businesslike or professional. Being so young, I had trouble getting the engineers and techs to take me serious. I guess it’s all about being able to find a balance.

      • Kate Nasser says:

        Exactly right Dustin — it is all about balance! I too had a similar challenge when I was young and leading people who were older than I was. I worked at finding balance to earn their trust and be taken seriously.

        Great story. Thanks for sharing.

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