Tools for developing interpersonal skills

In any professional role, I think it’s very important for us to know ourselves well so that we can better understand how we fit in with our colleagues, friends, family, and especially our clients. If we grow an awareness about ourselves, we can soon learn to grow an awareness of each other and appreciate that we’re not so different. These three models are most helpful!

1. Social Styles

Social styles is a theory by Merril and Reid which groups people into four distinct areas. These are analyticals, drivers, expressives and amiables. It is commonly used in the field of social work and it can help us to think about the way we interact with others, and how our interactions may differ. People are asked a series of questions which classify the level of assertiveness and emotional responsiveness someone demonstrates when interactive with others. Some people have two social styles where one is more dominant than the other, for example they may be an expressive with friends but a manager at work. You can find out more here.

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2. 16 Personalities

This is by far one of my favorite models. The theory behind this model, which is interestingly complex, is explained here, and if you want to take the test you can do so here. My personality type is Protagonist.

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3.  Learning Styles

This model looks at learning preferences in individuals and was developed by Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. Their work is based on David Kolb’s Learning Cycle, and I think that it is quite important to understand so that we are able to effectively communicate information to our colleagues in a way that they can easily understand.

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