August 29, 2011

I’ve got a question for you.

If your organization needed to make 15 percent of your workforce redundant, do you think executives would have any qualms about letting you go?

When crunch time comes (and to some companies I know, they are in it already….), When there is a call from the top to downsize, or if they will have to replace you with a cheaper alternative – a computer or an outsourcing company – do you think that they would hesitate for even one moment? These are sobering thoughts but thoughts that are very important nevertheless.

All things being equal, your performance, your skills, your accomplishments are important but perhaps more important than all these is the fact that you have to be likeable.

There are people we admire and then there are people we like. There are people who are good in what they do. People who deliver results. People who possess dynamic and strong personality. People who get what they want when they want it and in ways they want it; we do admire people like these; but the truth is we’d go out on a limb to help those we like not those we admire. This is where interpersonal skills come into the picture. The best scenario of course is to have people we both like and admire but these are usually the exceptions and not the rule.

So how do these people get us to like them? What is it about them that we like?

Two words actually. It’s called interpersonal skills.

A business school came out with a survey saying that people skills is actually many times more important than product knowledge and over the years of my own business experiences, I have found this to be true.

Interpersonal skills is a major component of emotional intelligence. Consider where you work and the various people you come into contact with through work. Who is the best manager in your organization? What is it that they do that makes them a good manager? Are they good because they are smart and clever? Or good because they are charming and supportive, charismatic and enthusiastic? You will be surprised as you sit down and make a careful assessment of these. I would hazard a guess that it is the latter case. We may respect people who are clever, insightful, and sharp. But we like the ones who are positive and socially skilled. And, more often than not, we go out of our way to help people who we respect and like rather than the ones we admire.

Emotional Intelligence in one sentence, is the ability to identify, understand, and manage moods and feelings – in both ourselves and other people.

This involves 3 domains of expertise:

  • Self-awareness. The ability to be able to identify moods and feelings in ourselves and understand how these affect other people. Many people are blind to the true impact that they have on others. We like to think of our own strengths and weaknesses in one way – but others often have a very different idea of how they would describe us.
  • Self-direction. The ability to alter those emotions and set goals to your advantage. Because often the only difference that distinguishes winners from losers is their mental state. Knowing that you are angry or tired and unhappy isn’t very helpful. But being able to change your mood to one of calm or enthusiasm – now, that’s a worthwhile skill.
  • Interpersonal savvy. The ability to identify and manage emotional states in other people. People don’t have to do something just because you tell them to. Even if you are the leader, they can choose to do it more slowly or to put less energy into it if they choose. It is the skill of finding out what makes other people tick so that you can influence and persuade them to do their best and to be at their best.


Make yourselves likeable. Do not try to impress people all the time. Rather than making yourself interesting, why not make yourself interested and the funny thing is that the people you lead finds you becoming more interesting in the process.

Work is work but it is only a tiny component of life. And so in anything you do, whether you are in a position of leadership or not, never forget that it is nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.





This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Malou Mertan-Kim

    Your site inspires me so much, thank you for sharing words and ideas. I also have some gifts for you hope it can help you a lot, this book of Rev. Moon Sun Myung Moon “As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen”, I think you can buy this on internet, but if there’s none in Philippines I’m willing to buy this book for you.
    Have a peaceful and loving Family, Aju!

  2. Herzon Garlan

    Thank you Sir for another important yet most of the neglected aspect of life you have shared with us. God bless you more!

  3. Elisabeth Calub

    The article just came in at the right time. It is an answer to an existing question. Thank you Francis for being an instrument of God through your writing.

  4. Jay-Jay Tulio

    Wow! This article is so true. I know of a person in the company who is so good but lacks interpersonal skills. That is why she is not liked by the majority in-spite of the fact that she is very good in what she does.

  5. Mharj Abella

    Thank you very much Sir. God Bless you more and more. Praise the Lord for yoyr life.:)

  6. Jeniss

    a very good article teaches a very good lesson. thank you Francis. Godspeed! 🙂

  7. Rene Jean Cabalinan

    Thank you for this article. I was blessed and reminded again that what matter most is to be nice always, to be a blessing & to be an inspiration to others.

    Thank you Sir Francis for your life. Your a blessing for me. I love reading your book it is very motivational & inspiring.

  8. dan

    Opportunities will come to you when you’re putting energy and fun to your work. People will see it in your actions and will respect you for your enthusiasm.

    God bless Mr. Francis!

  9. alvin de jesus

    Thanks for this article, Sir Francis! I will do my best to apply these principles. I’ll share it as well to the other managers in our company. This is truly motivating!

  10. Ralph

    Making yourself interested is a great point! People generally like people who respond to them in a positive way. I think interpersonal skills are more important than ever! Great post!

  11. Just at the right time in my life. It’s really true that we need to be nice which is more important than just to be imporatnt…Thank you again sir Francis!

  12. Zara

    Our interpersonal communication skills are learned behaviors that can be improved through knowledge, practice, feedback, and reflection. Great post! I like this. =)

  13. Dax Estorioso

    Nice article, Sir. Learned a new thing today ^_^

  14. Olive

    Now I know what my team lead lacks –Interpersonal savvy–.. This one is great and inspiring. My team lead should read this.

  15. Maybz Clemente

    Very informative and inspiring! Thanks again sir! 🙂 God bless you more!

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