Interaction Essentials

Human beings are social creatures. In daily lives and our work, we are constantly interacting with others. Whether these interactions happen face-to-face, over the phone, or through e-mail or text, the way we treat others and how we communicate with them makes an impact—for better or worse.

There exists a core set of skills everyone needs to master in order to effectively build relationships and get work done. These skills are called the Interaction Essentials, and help individuals meet both personal needs (to be respected and involved) and practical needs (through an effective communication structure).

Principles to help a person meet others’ personal needs:

  1. Maintain or enhance self-esteem.
  2. Listen and respond with empathy.
  3. Ask for help and encourage involvement.
  4. Share thoughts, feelings, and rationale (to build trust).
  5. Provide support without removing responsibility (to build ownership)

When these five principles are applied, they ensure that employees’ personal needs are met and that they feel valued, respected, and understood. They also can have critical implications for the levels of engagement motivation, productivity, and effectiveness with which work is carried out.

There are also guidelines to provide structure and best practices for effective interactions to meet practical needs. In day-to-day interactions with coworkers, these guidelines help provide structure to maximize the effectiveness of those conversations to influence others, solve a problem or make better decisions. These principles are:

  1. Open: Ensure that the discussion has a clear purpose and that everyone understands the importance of accomplishing it.
  2. Clarify: There are two types of information to collect in this step—facts and figures and issues and concerns. Both are essential to building a complete picture of the situation.
  3. Develop: When developing ideas, it is important to ask questions and include others in the process. Most likely leaders will have ideas about what to do, and should share them. However, they should put equal emphasis on seeking others’ ideas.
  4. Agree: It is important that leaders and the people involved agree on a plan for following through on the ideas that were developed and for supporting those who will take action.
  5. Close: This is the final chance to check that everyone is clear on agreements and next steps and committed to following through.

They focus on the practical side of interactions because relying solely on personal needs without meeting people’s practical needs will still result in an ineffective interaction. By using these guidelines, leaders and team members can get work done through others more effectively and efficiently.

Summing-up: The Interaction Essentials are the foundation upon which all effective interactions are based, they are critical skills for everyone to have in order to foster supportive and productive relationships.

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  1. Pingback: Maintain or Enhance Self-Esteem | Jesús Gil Hernández

  2. Pingback: Provide Support Without Removing Responsibility | Jesús Gil Hernández

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