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More ‘people’ people than you think

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Hiring,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Team Building

You probably think you know your “people people.” They’re the nurturers, the team players, the diplomats.

In truth, that ain’t the half of it.

Researchers studied the psychological tests of more than 7,000 professionals and identified four aspects of “relational” work: influence, interpersonal facilitation, relational creativity and team leadership.

Here’s what it means:
  1. Influence. Standouts in this realm love to persuade, negotiate and exercise the power of valuable information or ideas. They are alliance-builders and negotiators who excel in deal-making. They “could talk a dog off a meat truck.”

    If you’re hiring for this skill set, ask the candidate about a peak moment at work. Did it influence a decision?

  2. Interpersonal facilitation. These people are keenly aware of the personal nature of work. They’re attuned to others’ experiences and dedicated to keeping people committed and engaged.

    They ask questions like “Who will work together best on this project?” and “Why is Jamie acting so overcritical and detached?” People confide in them.

    If you’re hiring for this area, ask the candidate to describe a situation in which he or she dealt with two people butting heads.

  3. Relational creativity. This simply means inspiring connections between groups of people using images and words. While influence is mostly one on one, this person works on a mass scale. Sometimes, he doesn’t even have much of what you’d call “people” skills, but can dream up a campaign or write a speech that will spur people to act.

    If you’re hiring, ask for a favorite ad campaign, slogan or image, and ask why. Also, ask what motivates people and how your organization can tap into that.

  4. Team leadership. These are the “people people” we know and love: those who can’t sit still in front of a computer and have to be up and about with others to feel productive.

    They love working through a team. If they also can have a high level of interaction with customers, all the better.

    If you’re hiring, find out what leadership roles the candidate holds outside of work.
— Adapted from “Understanding ‘People’ People,” Timothy Butler and James Waldroop, Harvard Business Review.

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