Developing Interpersonal Skills in the Home

Posted by Nikki Rankin on 2/3/2017 7:00:00 AM

Employers often rely on employees to guide customers or fellow staff through a task. Becoming confident in their ability to break down tasks and teach others will give them a vital skill employers look for. Families can have an important  role in developing interpersonal skills, which is the third of four skills for an employee. Here are a few skills to work on in the home and/or school settings.

Speak to the young adult about the importance of being able to teach others how to do a task. They must be able to do a task before he or she can teach others how to do it, so encouraging them to let someone know that they don’t know a task well enough to train others is a skill which can be taught.

Teaching someone to break down a job into segments helps them understand that guiding someone through a task then makes it manageable.  Often, many easy steps make up one complex task.

Identify a tasks with multiple steps and guide the young adult through them. Make sure the task is something the young adult already knows how to do, such as downloading music onto a computer or doing laundry. Have them explain each step of the identified activity as you do the task.

Take time to discuss positive reinforcement with family members. By explaining that people can often become frustrated while learning a new task, and that the “teacher” must be patient, giving positive feedback and reinforcement often. Possibly talk about a situation where they became frustrated when learning a new task and ask what would have made that situation easier.

Employees are often faced with having to make a decision where there is no clear right answer. This may include giving input on how a services is delivered or deciding how many of a certain item should be stocked on a shelf. Employers want employees who can make decisions.

Participation in school or community-based activities that promote leadership should be encouraged. Student government, Boy or Girl Scouts, or serving on a non-profit board can build decision making skills.

Look for things in the community that need to be done and write down the reasons the work is needed.  This helps them identify needs and how to address the need. Employers respond  to employees that are looking for ways to do things better and have concrete ideas about how to deal with it.

In developing these skills, the future employee is building creativity and innovation, emerging skills that employees in the 21st Century workforce need. An activity that can help with building this skill would be helping to plan a yard or bake sale. Create the signs and determine the best place and time to hold the activity.

Practice with age-appropriate brain teasers or other puzzles promotes creative problem solving. Encourage the young adult to see the brain as a muscle in that it needs exercise to stay sharp and in the best condition possible.

At the same time that these activities are going on, explain that using creativity in the workplace is good.  However, many jobs involve formal processes, and that’s the way the employer wants it done.  Additionally, doing something in a certain way may just be the safest way to do it. When in doubt, teach them to ask employers if they are allowed to find another way of doing things is acceptable.

In the next issue we will look at decision making skills and how to develop these skills.