What is Interpersonal Management Skill

Go one step further beyond competence by training your dexterity, i.e. the ability to enter into interpersonal relationships.

In business life, competence and dexterity are by no means synonymous. Competence is the possession of knowledge about a certain task or a certain subject. Agility is the ongoing demonstration of competency regardless of how much time has passed since the competency was originally achieved.

Many companies see competence as the person's ability to carry out a technical task or activity. In most cases, however, just competence is not enough - being competent doesn't necessarily make you agile.

Let's look at an example: when it comes to a foreign language, some have the basic skills - they understand what is being said or can speak at the basic level. On the other hand, they lack the dexterity to conduct a more detailed conversation.

The same scenario applies to business. Let us assume that a person enters the area beyond competence and knowledge and has to connect with another person in order to develop empathetic interpersonal relationships. Weakness in this area indicates lack of fluency and is a major barrier to success.

The difference between competence and dexterity can be particularly blatant within interpersonal relationships. Those with a lot of technical knowledge tend to be very analytical and less empathetic in recognizing and responding appropriately to the intricacies of human relationships.

Often their interpersonal behavior reflects a corporate culture that minimizes the importance of people and communication skills - a major oversight that has real consequences.

Why is that? Be aware that human relationships affect business results. Those who are more adept at interpersonal relationships are more conscious and empathetic in their communication during negotiations and transactions. Such ability is the classic example of the difference between dexterity and competence.

Dexterity and technology

Software support tools for business development such as Team Visibility, Playbook and Mobile PC Game Planning are designed to achieve business fluency. The tools are sophisticated enough to take into account the variables that arise in interpersonal relationships. The goal is to enable users to adapt their behavior to those they want to convince - a topic that is not included in the competence technology, which has remained relatively unchanged for over two decades.

With the help of handheld devices, learners can determine the needs and communication styles necessary to respond appropriately. These support tools are programmed to give advice on recognizing and using the other's language based on inputs from the user comments, all accessible in just a few seconds. Such a skill can be of immediate help to those who have never considered interpersonal relationships relevant to their profession.

Agility has another significant value: its potential impact on HR management. Incorporating interpersonal communication fluency into HR responsibilities can give departments a greater say in business decisions - especially when the financial results of the fluency are clearly visible.

Rather than its traditional role as a cost center, ROE offers agility the potential to turn into a profit center, an opportunity finance leaders are guaranteed to notice. Organizations that go beyond traditional competence and move in the direction of fluency in interpersonal communication find a competitive advantage in building trust and conviction. It is up to the CLO (Chief Learning Officer) to emphasize the growing importance of dexterity.

By Jon Gornstein, founder and chairman of Persona Global