Seemingly Small People Skills Errors That Create Big Trouble | #PeopleSkills

As we go through each day, we may make seemingly small people skills errors in our interactions. We do it out of habit (aka not thinking) or to cope with our own struggles. Yet what we perceive as small people skills errors can create big trouble for all of us. Here’s a checklist of some of the more common mistakes and how to avoid making them.



Small People Skills Errors: Image is falling dominoes

Seemingly Small People Skills Errors That Create Big Trouble. Image by SeRVe Photography via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by SerVE photography via Flickr Creative Commons License.


Small People Skills Errors That Create Big Trouble

Having consistently good people skills comes down to three things: Wanting to do it, knowing how to do it, and remembering to do it every day. Here’s the daily reminder in the form of a checklist of common mistakes. It will help you avoid the seemingly simple people skills mistakes that cause big trouble.


    Small People Skills Mistakes That Cause Bigger Trouble

  1. Not listening. This tops the list because others think you believe they don’t matter. And yes, that leads to either immediate conflict or hidden resentments that pop out latter. Not listening also creates confusion that affects everyone’s next steps. TIP: Take time to listen or ask the other person to give you time to get back to them.

  2. No empathy. When someone is telling you their trouble and you show no empathy, it’s an insult. TIP: Empathize before you analyze to give them a solution. Empathy is the connection before the solution. Replace these unempathetic replies with these empathetic responses Skipping empathy will drive teammates away from you and employees out the door to new opportunities. No empathy may seem like a little mistake to you but it causes big trouble.

  3. Being impersonal. You may be trying to act professional yet it comes across as impersonal — in other words uncaring. Or you may be trying to be objective and it comes across as impersonal — uncaring. In your mind, you’ve done nothing wrong. Yet, if you are a doctor/nurse and coming across as uncaring, you have done something wrong. If you are in customer service and you seem impersonal, it causes big trouble. Moreover, if you are a leader and seem cold and uncaring to others, you will crush morale. TIP: You can be professional, objective, and yes, a leader and show that you care! Try it and ask others for feedback. You will be surprised.


  4. See Human Needs!

  5. Taking others for granted. You may not know you are doing it. TIP: Recognize and others talents. Show them you appreciate them. Say thank you on a regular basis. Express your gratitude every day. It’s builds trust and sustains everyone.

  6. Assuming all people have bad intentions. They don’t and when you assume they do you treat them badly. And humans have a need for basic respect and kindness. Give people the benefit of the doubt at the beginning. Then, trust yourself to be able spot someone’s bad intentions and handle it with that person. Positive interactions start with the courage to be open and somewhat trustful.

  7. Acting superior. It might seem OK to you but to others it feels like disdain. You will drive others away from you and it will affect your career and your personal relationships too. We are all human and need basic human respect.

  8. Avoiding a subject. When someone raises an issue and you sidestep it, it comes across as ignoring them. Once again, the negative feelings you create cause big trouble for everyone. TIP: If you don’t want to discuss a subject, at least say that you are not comfortable or don’t want to discuss it. It’s better than sidestepping it.

  9. Using jargon that others don’t understand. This might not seem like a big mistake but it creates an immediate disconnect. That causes big trouble especially in time sensitive moments. You are relying on others to speak up quickly and tell you they don’t understand. TIP: Use fewer acronyms and jargon.


  10. Assumptions That Will Sink You

  11. Assuming everyone is like you and thinks like you. This mistake doesn’t feel like a big deal. Yet, it is a whopper. In fact, it helps create some of the errors noted above. Remember: “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~ Henry Winkler TIP: Replace your assumptions with great listening and observing others. Different values, personality types, and experiences are just a few of the insights you will get from listening. Then, treat others the way they want to be treated not the way you want to be treated.

  12. Assuming other people have it easier than you do. This people skills mistake will drive your behavior toward jealousy or playing the victim. Neither are helpful to you or others. TIP: See more than people’s highlight reels. Everyone walks a tough road some days.


Takeaways About Small People Skills Errors

Behaviors that make us feel protected or just plain comfortable, make us believe they don’t cause trouble for anyone. Yet, they do. And in the end, that makes trouble for everyone. Avoid the seemingly small people skills errors on this list. Use good people skills every day and you will be safer, happier, and more successful than you think.



What other people skills mistakes would you add to the above list?



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

Related Posts:
Are You Someone Others Want to Work With?
If You Are Giving Criticism, Don’t Show Contempt!
People Skills Technique to Be Less Blunt But Still Honest
Our 9 Responsibilities If We Want Conflict-Free Interactions

©2022 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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2 Responses to “Seemingly Small People Skills Errors That Create Big Trouble | #PeopleSkills”

  1. Sesha Sai Ongole says:

    Really great insights

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