How To Improve Your People Skills To Be A Better Boss

According to leadership development consultants, Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, great leadership consists of several vital capabilities. These include:

  • Character
  • Personality
  • A focus on results
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Ability to lead organizational change

They go on to say that great bosses can’t have just one of these. They must be at the top of their game in each one of those areas.

Today, we’re going to look at the area of interpersonal skills. In this article, we discuss how to improve your people skills to be a better boss.

Be a Good Communicator

The most important people skill you need is communication. This is fundamental to your job as a leader.

When you communicate well, you can encourage buy-in from employees, improve company morale, get along with people and even persuade others to follow you.

Work not only on your verbal communication skills, but your written word as well.

Being articulate is vital because the job of a boss requires constant communication. To hone this skill, you’ve got to be clear with your words.

Additionally, good communication skills enhance transparency in your workplace and make it easy for employees to approach you.

Be a Good Listener

This people skill goes right along with good communication.

Take the time to really listen to your employees. Show them you value what they have to say, and don’t ever be too busy for them.

When your employees feel heard, they’re more likely to comply with your directives.

Now, there’s a difference between hearing what someone says and actively listening to them.

When you “hear” someone talking, you are probably already 10 steps ahead formulating your response.

When you “listen” to someone, you take in what they say and take a moment to respond. You listen without interruption.

This is a hard people skill to master. It takes time, practice and diligence on your part, but you’ll find it pays dividends in the long run.


Be a Good Decision Maker

Another good people skill is the ability to make decisions.

Your employees depend on you to make decisions, and if they see you falter, your trust rating goes out the door.

That being said, don’t be a dictator. Make sure you are fully informed before making decisions and always consult with the necessary parties.

Be Patient

Hotheads are usually lacking in people skills.

Be a better boss. How? Be patient with your co-workers and team members even when times are tough.

It’s important to keep your wits about you in stressful situations. Don’t let stress or conflict get to you. Remember that your employees are taking their cues from you.

Be Flexible

No one likes a rigid boss.

Your people skills improve when you are more flexible.

For example, your office has a policy that everyone has to be at work no later than 8 am, but you have an employee who can’t get to work until 8:15 am because he has to drop his children off at school.

Instead of being rigid and inflexible, allow the employee to arrive at 8:15 am and stay until 5:15 pm.

Flexibility is good for employee morale.

Be a Competent Negotiator

One of your most important roles as boss is that of the negotiator. Actually, you are subtly negotiating with your employees every day.

Your actions and attitude are negotiating with them and encouraging them to trust you.

In a more concrete manner, you may have to negotiate conflict with employees, work out pay raises and navigate employee vacation time.

In addition, you may have to persuade employees to come on board with a new idea or new policy.

Consider taking a debate class to hone your negotiating skills.

Show Good Judgement

We aren’t saying you have to be perfect, but you do have to show a good example by showing good judgment.

This people skill comes from learning from and listening to others and watching what’s going on around you.

Here are seven ways to show you have good judgment:

  1. Choose your friends wisely.
  2. Hire the appropriate people for the job.
  3. Leave your private life at home.
  4. Listen to your intuition – aka your moral compass.
  5. Have a high level of integrity.
  6. Continue on your own journey of self-improvement.
  7. Be professional.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to improving your people skills to be a better boss, you want to pay attention to the following things:

  • Your interpersonal skills
  • Your ability to communicate powerfully and prolifically
  • Your ability to inspire and motivate others to high performance levels
  • Your prowess at building relationships
  • What you do to develop the potential in others
  • Your skills at collaboration and teamwork

Challenge yourself to improve the effectiveness of your leadership. Work on the people skills we’ve discussed today to increase your leadership potential.

Build on your strengths, admit your weaknesses and work on improving both.

At the end of the day, your personal skills are what builds trust among your employees. If they can’t trust you, your team isn’t going to function well.

Trust is earned through your people skills, so do what you can to improve and earn trust to be a better boss.

Your well-developed people skills will ensure you can communicate effectively on an interpersonal level, manage conflict positively and work productively with others to find solutions to problems.

In addition, your perfected people skills motivate and inspire your team. People skills can be learned and developed, so get started today!

Have you worked on improving your people skills? If so, we'd like to hear how. Please comment below to share your tips with others.