I attend a very successful and growing church that has about 2,500 members. Our senior pastor Jim and his wife Becky have been with us for 12 years and the members consider them our leaders. They are a wonderful team. Although Pastor Jim is the dominant leader, I have watched over the years how Becky has greatly influenced and contributed quite a lot to our church. It seems like every time one of the departments lacks stability, Becky steps in and rallies the necessary leadership, direction, and resources it needs, and then moves on to help in another area. She makes a big difference in the short time she leads the effort. How does she accomplish so much? She has great social skills. She accomplishes effective leadership through the interpersonal relationships she builds.
This article is not about Becky, it’s about becoming a “Becky.” It is about the importance of understanding and developing the necessary people skills and social skills to become a better leader. Everything she does, others can do as well, but social skills can be more valuable to overall success than academic skills. The college I attended required all first year students to attend freshman orientation. During the orientation, the facilitator made a comment about dorm life. He said learning to live together in a dorm is as valuable as your formal college education. Looking back on life, I see what a profound statement he made. Although “book learning” is important, the after-class activities to learn interactive and social skills are equally important. My first employer used to tell me, “All work and no play make Johnny a dull boy.”
Here are a few basic attributes of a socially successful person that are worth discussing:
Confidence – They display confidence in themselves and successfully execute the projects they lead.
Friendliness – They are friendly to everyone, not to just a select few, displaying a genuine sense of care and concern for others.
Appearance – They make sure their hygiene, apparel, and proper body movement is always acceptable.
Trustworthy – They can be depended upon both with personal exchanges and with projects.
Organized – Their organizational skills are second nature and displayed in all activities.
Self-control – They handle themselves well when emotional issues arise.
Acceptance – They extend love and forgiveness to everyone, even difficult people and those that differ from them.
Fun – They make life fun.
Space – They respect other’s privacy and choices.
It’s never too late to improve your social skills. The first step is to honestly examine yourself and admit you need to improve yourself in deficient areas. Like anything else in this world, there have been many books written on the subject. I highly recommend John C. Maxwell’s book entitled “Be a People Person.”
Dodge Development, Inc.