Managerial Skills in the area of Interpersonal Relations

A manager can achieve results only when he is able to put individuals on the right track. He must interact with people actively and make them work in a united way. Managerial skills in the area of inter personal relations can be enhanced through various techniques viz., Role Play and Sensitivity Training.

Role play

This is technique in which some problem – real or imaginary — involving human interaction is presented and then spontaneously acted on. Participants may assume the roles of specific organizational members in a given situation and then act out their roles. For example a trainee might be asked to play the role of a supervisor who is required to discipline an employee smoking in the plant in violation of the rules. Another participant would assume the role of the employee. The individual playing the supervisory role would then proceed to take whatever action he deems appropriate. This action then provides the basis for discussion and comments by the groups.

Role play develops interpersonal skills among participants. They learn by doing things. Immediate feedback helps those correct mistakes, change, switch gear hats and reorient their focus in a right way. The competitive atmosphere spurs them to participate actively, listen to what others says, observe an analyze behavioral responses and improve their own performance by putting their textual learning to test.

On the negative side, realism is sometimes lacking in role playing so the learning experience is diminished. It is not easy to duplicate the pressure and realities of actual decision making on the job; and individuals often act very differently in real life situations than they do in acting out a simulated exercise. Many trainees are often uncomfortable in role playing situations and trainers must introduce the situations well so that learning can take place. To this end trainers should:

1) Ensure that members of the group are comfortable with each other.
2) Select and prepare the role players by introducing a specific situation.
3) Help participants prepare; ask them to prepare potential characters.
4) Realize that volunteers make better role players.
5) Prepare observers by giving them specific tasks (e.g. evaluation, feedback).
6) Guide the role play enactment over its bumps (since it is not scripted)
7) Keep it short
8) Discuss the enactment and prepare bullet points of what was learned.

Sensitivity training:

This is a method of changing behavior through unstructured group interaction. Sensitivity training is sought to help individuals towards better relations with others. The primary focus is on reducing interpersonal friction.

In sensitivity training, the actual technique employed is T group (T stands for training) It is a small group of ten to twelve people assisted by a professional behavioral scientist who acts as a catalyst and a trainer for the group. There is no specified agenda. He merely creates the opportunity for group members to express their ideas and feelings freely. Since the trainer has no leadership role to play, the group must work out its own methods of proceeding. A leaderless and agendum free group session is on. They can discuss anything they like. Individuals are allowed to focus on behavior rather than on duties. As members engage in dialogue they are encouraged to learn about themselves as they interact with others.

Features of T group Training:

1) T Group consists of 10-12 persons.
2) A leader acts as a catalyst and provides a free and open environment for discussion.
3) There is no specified agenda.
4) Members express their ideas, feelings and thoughts freely and openly.
5) The focus is on behavior rather than on duties.
6) The aim is to achieve behavior effectiveness in transactions with one’s environment.

Source: HRM