The Three C’s: Cultivating Connection, Communication, And Collaboration
Imagine if Batman never left the Bat Cave. Or if Superman spent all day in the Fortress of Solitude, watching TV. Not very compelling, is it? The fact is that superheroes need to interact with other people, or their superpowers go to waste. The same is true for you.
You could cultivate all the knowledge, skills, and values you need to make an exceptional impact on the world, but unless you get out and interact with other people, you’ll never realize your full potential. This holds true even during these uncertain times as we are forced, in many cases, to communicate and socialize with our friends, family, and colleagues via phone calls and video conferences.
What takes you beyond personal development to the next level of performance is mastery of interpersonal skills. That’s why Interpersonal Mastery is the second of four masteries that make up LEAP, the framework I developed to help people reach their personal and professional potential. LEAP—which stands for Leadership Effectiveness and Potential—is comprised of four parts, each building on the last: Personal Mastery, Interpersonal Mastery, Organizational Mastery, and Motivational Mastery.
Interpersonal Mastery follows Personal Mastery. It helps you develop relationship skills that strengthen your capabilities as a leader and as a person, unleashing superpowers that make you more effective in your work and have a ripple effect on those around you. Here’s what it takes to master this area:
Connecting effectively with others is what Interpersonal Mastery is all about. People who have mastered this realm build strong bonds that develop loyalty, weather difficulties, and help the team succeed as a whole.
Improve connections with others by:
Fostering many different kinds of connections. Strike up conversations and make connections with coworkers of all levels, look for unity in the small and the large, and develop formal and informal relationships.
Recognizing others. Celebrate the achievements of those around you, and highlight their strengths when it’s appropriate. Set the tone for your work environment, and make it one where people feel supported and empowered to try new things.
A workplace that values communication is one where everyone feels their voice is being heard. Someone who doesn’t feel heard doesn’t feel like part of the team and is less likely to give it their all. Strengthening your communication skills is one of the best ways to create a culture where everyone feels valued.
Improve communication skills by:
Listening better. Some people mistakenly believe communication is all about how to best get your message across to other people. That’s only part of it. The other part is to listen attentively to what others are saying. Ask for input, pose smart questions, and give others space to speak. (And if you’re an interrupter, break that habit stat!)
Looking more closely. A message isn’t communicated solely through spoken words. It’s also conveyed through tone of voice, body language, facial expression, eye contact, and more. Pay attention to these aspects of nonverbal communication to glean the real messages being communicated.
Those who excel at Interpersonal Mastery not only know how to effectively collaborate with others, they know how to best leverage the talents of others and foster an environment where people feel safe to express their ideas. This foundation sets the stage for exceptional achievement.
Improve collaboration skills by:
Seeking out and celebrating opportunities to work together. Look for new teaming opportunities to bring together individuals whose talents and skills complement each other and see what happens. When you witness collaboration between team members, recognize and celebrate it. This lets everyone know that collaboration is encouraged.
Living up to your word. You may be asked to collaborate on a number of initiatives that you simply don’t have the resources for. It’s okay to protect your time and say no to these invitations. In fact, it’s better in the long run to say no. Saying yes and then canceling later erodes trust over time, which weakens relationships. Instead, make it a priority to keep your word, in things large and small.
Ultimately, mastering interpersonal skills is about being conscious about how you cultivate and maintain relationships instead of just letting them happen to you. Proactively work to connect, communicate, and collaborate in order to get the best out of yourself and your coworkers, and watch your superpowers soar.
By Marta Wilson, first published on https://www.forbes.com/ on July 22, 2020