Working With Someone Who Has Poor Social Skills

As a manager, your responsibility is to achieve results through the efforts and productivity of others. Assembling a team that has all the capabilities and skills in their work is a top priority. But what if you have someone on your team that is capable but has poor social skills and is not interacting well on the team? You need to address this because it ripples through in so many negative ways. In this video, I’m going to address a few ways to tackle this situation.

First, identify the real issue.

In other words, name the exact issue that the individual is displaying or creating. Here are a few examples: perhaps you have an employee who is rude or overpowering to other staff. Or an employee is such an introvert that they avoid social situations, like ad hoc group lunches; the team views this as standoffish and they never whole. Another example is someone that exhibits passive-aggressive behavior or perhaps is constantly blaming or belittling others. The list can go on but you get the idea! Basically you have someone that is upsetting the apple cart and may or may not know the impact they are having on others. Whether it is innocent or on purpose, it needs to be addressed.

Work Directly with The Person with Poor Social Skills

Once you really have a handle on the specific issue, you need to work directly with that person. Tell them how you see their behavior affecting the team and/or their own work. Don’t go into the conversation with “you must change this” approach, even though that is likely your objective. Before you start dictating solutions, understand their perspective. Learn about their side of the story and it will lead you to better solutions when you have the full picture in place. But you need the person working with you to solve this, not against you.

Find Solutions

Now that both parties have agreed on what needs to be worked on, solutions will vary. Having the awareness might make it very simple for the person to change something pretty quickly and you could see immediate results. Or it might mean some skill building, facilitation or coaching. Let the individual be in the driver’s seat for how they want to shift the situation to a more positive one.

Change as a Team

Lastly, you need to hold all effected parties accountable. None of us can make these changes on our own. The entire team needs to be working together to support this person and put them in a situation to succeed and not just wait for them to fail. Letting situations like this fester puts an enormous drain on productivity and morale of others. And since your job as a manager is to achieve results through others, you’ll need to work through this, even if it feels uncomfortable. You will be glad you did and so will everyone on the team!

Be sure to check out more videos in the Learning Resource Center, available to you as a member. Here’s to your Graceful Leadership!

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