Using Interpersonal Skills to Manage More Effectively

By Yrle, Augusta C.; Galle, William P. | Supervisory Management, April 1993 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Using Interpersonal Skills to Manage More Effectively


Yrle, Augusta C., Galle, William P., Supervisory Management


Supervisors are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and their ability to use their knowledge. They may be proficient in computer skills, or they may be good writers, or they may have strong analytical abilities. The one thing they don't have is prior supervisory experience.

Yet when an employee who has been with the company for some time is promoted into a managerial position, his or her patterns of interrelating have already been established, whether consciously or unconsciously. This could mean that they are not sensitive to individual differences and do not recognize the psychological needs and motivations of their staffers and may even have trouble relating to them.

Such supervisors need to develop their interpersonal skills. That requires an understanding of sharing experiences, listening, and empathizing. These skills, when implemented properly, are mutually beneficial for supervisors and their employees.

Sharing Experiences

The act of sharing experiences that arise out of work (and sometimes non-work-related events) can be essential in fostering good interpersonal relationships in the office. Power, authority, and status can impede the flow of information. Employees, for example, still tend to filter out bad news that should be communicated to supervisors and managers. The more tense the climate of the organization, the more bad news gets filtered.

To create an open, supportive climate, supervisors need to realize the importance of sharing experiences. This sort of sharing improves morale, encourages greater cooperation, and increases productivity.

Using the phrase "window of opportunity," we can illustrate our point. Opportunities for building relationships can be thought of as a window between two individuals--say, a supervisor and a staffer. This window has four "panes"--the Arena, the Blind Spot, the Facade, and the Unknown.

The Arena contains information shared by both individuals. This is the "public" pane. The Blind Spot is potentially destructive; it contains information known by others by not by oneself. Example: information about how we appear to others. Our lack of knowledge here can lead to frustration or embarrassment.

The Facade contains information the individual knows alone. This includes any secrets, true hopes and dreams, true fears, and dislikes. We aren't usually willing to share this information, so others can't respond adequately. The Unknown contains information that neither side knows at present, but that information will become evident as the two individuals interact and learn more about each other.

Supervisors who want to develop better interpersonal skills need to focus on the Arena so that "pane" can grow and strengthen at the expense of the other three. The best ways to do this are to encourage feedback (two-way) and to get to know employees as individuals.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Using Interpersonal Skills to Manage More Effectively
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?