The conscious application of interpersonal skills
People spend a considerable part of their working day relating with others. One of the findings of the early work activity studies (Burns, 1954, 1957; Horn and Lupton, 1965), echoed more recently by Oshagbemi (1988), is that managers and others consistently underestimate the amount of time they spend in face-to-face contact. There are also indications that they underestimate seriously the effect that their behaviour has on the
way others behave and, therefore, on the achievement of personal and organizational goals.
Simple examples may serve to illustrate this point. The selection interviewer needs to obtain from applicants as much relevant information as possible, so that she can determine which of them will be most suitable for the job. To achieve this end she needs to manage the interaction in a way that encourages each applicant to provide the maximum amount of relevant and the minimum amount of irrelevant information. This objective is likely to be frustrated if the interviewer does most of the talking, if she prevents applicants from giving full answers by over-using the kind of questions that limits their responses to yes or no, and if she asks questions in a way that prompts them into giving the answer that they think she wants to hear.
The conscious application of interpersonal skills
In negotiations, there is evidence that a negotiator’s opening bid has an important influence on the expectations of her opponent and that this can affect the outcome. There is also evidence that, in competitive negotiations, concessions are more likely to be reciprocated when the person offering the concession is perceived, by her opponent, to be in a relatively strong position. And it is possible for a negotiator to create this impression by behaving in certain ways.
In decision-making groups, one of the factors that can influence the quality of a decision is the extent to which the knowledge and skill of group members is applied to the task. Some of this task-relevant knowledge may not be available to the group because a knowledgeable but non-assertive member of the group lacks the confidence to make his views known, or because some members fail to pay attention or give appropriate weight to the views of others. The person who is able to recognize what is happening, and who can use this awareness to intervene, to act consciously in ways that make it more likely that relevant knowledge will be applied to the task, can make an important contribution to improving group performance.
The conscious application of interpersonal skills

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