(IGP) IAS Pre: GS Paper -2 - Interpersonal Skills - Interpersonal Skill : Interpersonal & Communication Skills (Part 2)

Interpersonal &
Communication Skills (Part 2)

The democratic type is not always appropriate, like the other type. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems. The democratic leadership type is most effective when :

  • The leader wants employees to share in decision-making and problem-solving duties.
  • The leader wants to keep employees informed about matters that affect them.
  • The leader wants to provide opportunities for employees to develop a high sense of personal growth and job satisfaction.
  • Changes must be made or problems solved that affect employees or groups of employees.
  • There is a large or complex problem that requires lots of input to solve.

Democratic leadership should not be used when

  • The manager feels threatened by this type of leadership.
  • There is not enough time to get everyone’s input.
  • Employee safety is a critical concern.
  • It’s easier and more cost-effective for the manager to make the decision.

B.Laissez -Faire Leadership Type

Laissez-Faire type is one, in which the manager provides little or no direction and gives employees as much freedom as possible. All authority or power is given to the employees and they must determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems on their own. This leadership type is also known as the hands-off type.

This is an effective type to use when :

  • Employees are highly skilled, experienced, and educated.
  • Employees have pride in their work and the drive to do it successfully on their own.
  • Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants are being used
  • Employees are experienced & trustworthy.

This style should not be used when

  • Managers are unable to thank employees for their good work.
  • It makes employees feel insecure at the unavailability of a manager.
  • The manager doesn’t understand his or her responsibilities and is hoping the employees can cover for him or her.
  • The manager cannot provide regular feedback to let employees know how well they are doing.

C. Autocratic Leadership Type

Autocratic Leadership type is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. This is often considered the classical approach. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations. The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments.

This leadership type has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years. Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organizations. These studies say that autocratic leaders:

  • Rely on threats and punishment to influence employees.
  • Do not trust employees.
  • Do not allow for employee input.

Yet, autocratic leadership is not all bad. Sometimes it is the most effective type to use. These situations can include:

  • A manager’s power is challenged by an employee.
  • New, untrained employees who do not know which tasks to perform or which procedures to follow.
  • Work needs to be coordinated with another department or organization.
  • Effective supervision can be provided only through detailed orders and instructions.
  • Employees do not respond to any other leadership type.
  • There are high-volume production needs on a daily basis.

The autocratic leadership type should not be used when

  • Employees begin depending on their manager to make all their decisions.
  • Employees become tense, fearful, or resentful.
  • There is low employee morale, absenteeism and work stoppage.
  • Employees expect to have their opinions heard.

D. Bureaucrat ic Leadership Type

Where the manager manages by the book and everything must be done according to procedure or policy is Bureaucratic leadership. If it isn’t covered by the book, the manager refers to the next level above him or her. This manager is really more of a police officer than a leader. He or she enforces the rules.

This type can be effective when :

  • Employees are performing routine tasks over and over.
  • Employees are performing tasks that require handling cash.
  • Employees need to understand certain standards or procedures.
  • Safety or security training is being conducted.
  • Employees are working with dangerous or delicate equipment that requires a definite set of procedures to operate.

This style is ineffective when

  • Work habits form that are hard to break, especially if they are no longer useful.
  • Employees lose their interest in their jobs and in their fellow workers.
  • Employees do only what is expected of them and no more.

Varying Leadership Types

While the proper leadership type depends on the situation, there are three other factors that also influence which leadership style to use.

  • The company, the traditions, values, philosophy, and concerns of the company will influence how a manager acts.
  • The manager’s personal background. Employees are individuals with different personalities and backgrounds.
  • The employees being supervised. The leadership type, managers may use will vary, depending upon the individual employee and what he or she will respond best to.

Values mostly remain predictable, they are consistent, even in volatile times. A clear set of values helps tell people what their lives are for and what is worth working for. Values tell people what is good and important and values bind society. Social scientists believe that without values, a society could disintegrate, a risk often present in India. Religious heads believe that without values, human life is meaningless and all the worldly pleasures will not lead to any satisfaction. Yes, a lack of good values is why scams happen, nepotism exists and the government doesn’t care about its people. To any society and human being core values are vital.

So why are we in such a confused state? Where have we gone wrong? Are Indians less moral, despite being the most religious in the world? No, we are perfectly fine people. The land where Buddha and Gandhi became icons, purely by the strength of their values, means ours is a society that understands goodness. The reason there is no concrete set of Indian values yet is that the concept of India itself is new.

When we think of Indian values, we normally think of personal values - such as family, religion and respect for elders. These things are notably Indian. However, ask someone to articulate Indian community values, and there won’t be a clear answer. Do we value wealth or education? Do we value democracy where people have a greater say in how they are governed, or do we believe in power in the hands of a select few to whom the laws don’t apply? Do we value honesty, or do we value getting a job done anyhow? Do we believe in frugality, or do we want to show off our wealth? Do we value our local communities, or do we value being part of India?

These questions have no easy answer. There are conflicting responses to any of these questions in the India we see around us today. Scholars, unable to account for this, make profound statements like ‘there are many Indians within India’. Some romantic types even call it ‘the beauty of India, where everything is unpredictable’.

At present, there is no easy answer. There is also deep cynicism. But if we keep looking, and contribute to the quest for the right answer, we will find it. The answer to this fundamental question will determine our Constitution, our laws and where we will go as a society and nation in times to come. India will grow economically in the next 10 years. But if we focus on our collective values too, it will truly be a happy new decade

Work ethics involves not only how one feels about their job, career or vocation, but also how one does his/her job or responsibilities. This involves attitude, behaviour, respect, communication, and interaction; how one gets along with others. Work ethics demonstrate many things about whom and how a person is.

Work ethics involve such characteristics as honesty and accountability. Essentially, work ethics break down to what one does or would do in a particular situation. The begging question in a situation involves what is right and acceptable, and above board, versus what is wrong., underhanded, and under the table.

There are two central work ethics - humility and the treatment of others. Humility is being humble, no task is too demeaning. Humility involves servitude, which emphasizes placing other peoples need before ones own. Treating others with decency and respect equate to the golden rule. The treatment of others involves loving your neighbour, loving your enemy, doing good to those who dislike you. It involves valuing others, and knowing they have worth.

It is said that evolution is as much of a biological issue as it is an ethical one. the higher you are on the evolutionary ladder, themore important become ethics, or the concepts of right and wrong. In fact, what sets man apart from animals is a heightened sense of ethical and moral value-be it in the soothing realm of the family or the rapidly competitive world of work.

Work ethics, such as honesty, doing a job well, valuing what one does, having a sense of purpose and feeling/ being a part of a greater vision or plan is vital. Philosophically, if one does not have proper work ethics, a person’s conscience may be bothered. People for the most part have good work ethic(s); we should not only want to do, but desire to do the proper thing in a given situation.

A question may involve where they came from, if they come from within. Philosophically, this may lead to various perspectives; however, the truth about work ethics, and where they come from are answered from a Christian worldview. Work ethics come from God the creator. God made humans in His image, and His word proclaims these various work ethics - honesty, integrity, doing a job well, keeping things above board, and accountability factors.


A struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas, beliefs, values, or goals may be defined as Conflict. Conflict on teams is inevitable; however, the results of conflict are not predetermined. Conflict might escalate and lead to non-productive results, or conflict can be beneficially resolved and lead to quality final products. Therefore, learning to manage conflict is integral to a high-performance team. Although very few people go looking for conflict, more often than not, conflict results because of miscommunication between people with regard to their needs, ideas, beliefs, goals, or values. The principle that all conflicts cannot necessarily be resolved, but learning how to manage conflicts can decrease the odds of non-productive escalation, it is called conflict management. Conflict management involves acquiring skills related to conflict resolution, self-awareness about conflict modes, conflict communication skills, and establishing a structure for management of conflict in your environment. Listening, oral communication, interpersonal communication, and teamwork rank near the top of skills that employers seek in their new hires

When we learn to effectively manage and resolve conflicts with others, then more opportunities for successful team memberships are available to us. If we can learn to manage this highly probable event called conflict, then we are less apt to practice destructive behaviors that will negatively impact our team. Although conflict may be misunderstood and unappreciated, research shows that unresolved conflict can lead to aggression. Most of us use conflict skills that we observed growing up, unless we have made a conscious effort to change our conflict management style. Some of us observed good conflict management, while others observed faulty conflict management. Most of us have several reasons to improve our conflict-management skills. Most people do not resolve conflicts because they either have a faulty skill set and/or because they do not know the organization’s policy on conflict management. All team members need to know their conflict styles, conflict intervention methods, and strategies for conflict skill improvement.

How do we respond to conflict?

Physiologically we respond to conflict in one or two ways, we want to get away from the conflict or we are ready to take on anyone who comes in our way. Do you want to leave or do you want to fight when a conflict presents itself? Neither physiological response is good or bad-it’s personal response. What is important to learn, regardless of our initial physiological response to conflict, is that we should intentionally choose our response to conflict.

Whether we feel like we want to fight or flee when a conflict arises, we can deliberately choose a conflict mode. By consciously choosing a conflict mode instead of to conflict, we are more likely to productively contribute to solving the problem at hand. Below are some conflict response modes that we can use in a conflict.

Modes of Conflict:

All people can benefit, both personally and professionally, by learning conflict management skills. Typically we respond to conflict by using one of five modes

  • Competing
  • Collaborating
  • Compromising
  • Avoiding
  • Accommodating

Each of these modes can be characterized by two scales: assertiveness and cooperation. None of these modes is wrong to use, but there are right and wrong times to use each. The following sections describe the five modes. The information may help each team member to characterize her/his model for conflict management.


The competing conflict mode is high assertiveness and low cooperation. Times when the competing mode is appropriate are when quick action needs to be taken, when unpopular decisions need to be made, when vital issues must be handled, or when one is protecting self-interests.

Competing Skills

  • Asserting your opinions and feelings
  • Arguing or debating
  • Stating your position clearly
  • Standing your ground
  • Using rank or influence


High assertiveness and high cooperation is the collaborating mode. Collaboration has been described as “putting an idea on top of an idea on top of an idea ... in order to achieve the best solution to a conflict.” A creative solution to the conflict that would not have been generated by a single individual is defined as the best solution. With such a positive outcome for collaboration, some people will profess that the collaboration mode is always the best conflict mode to use. However, collaborating takes a great deal of time and energy. Times when the collaborative mode is appropriate are when the conflict is important to the people who are constructing an integrative solution, when the issues are too important to compromise, when merging perspectives, when gaining commitment, when improving relationships, or when learning.

Therefore, the collaborating mode should be used  when the conflict warrants the time and energy. For example, if your team is establishing initial parameters for how to work effectively together, then using the collaborating mode could be quite useful. On the other hand, if your team is in conflict about where to go to lunch today, the time and energy necessary to collaboratively resolve the conflict is probably not beneficial.

Collaboration Skills

  • Analyzing input
  • Active listening
  • Identifying concerns
  • Non threatening confrontation


The compromising mode is moderate assertiveness and moderate cooperation. Some people define compromise as “giving up more than you want,” while others see compromise as both parties winning. Times when the compromising mode is appropriate are when you are dealing with issues of moderate importance, when you have equal power status, or when you have a strong commitment for resolution. Compromising mode can also be used as a temporary solution when there are time constraints.

Compromising Skills

  • Assessing value
  • Finding a middle ground
  • Making concessions
  • Negotiating


The avoiding mode is low assertiveness and low cooperation. Many times peoplewill avoid conflicts out of fear of engaging in a conflict or because they do not have confidence in their conflict management skills. Times when the avoiding mode is appropriate are when you have issues of low importance, to reduce tensions, to buy some time, or when you are in a position of lower power.

Avoiding Skills

  • Ability to withdraw
  • Ability to sidestep issues
  • Ability to leave things unresolved
  • Sense of timing


The accommodating mode is low assertiveness and high cooperation. Times when the accommodating mode is appropriate are to show reasonableness, develop performance, create good will, or keep peace. Some people use the accommodating mode when the issue or outcome is of low importance to them. The accommodating mode can be problematic when one uses the mode to “keep a tally” or to be a martyr. For example, if you keep a list of the number of times you have accommodated someone and then you expect that person to realize, without your communicating to the person, that she/he should now accommodate you.

Accommodating Skills

  • Ability to yield
  • Forgetting your desires
  • Obeying orders
  • Selflessness

How to discern our conflict modes?

The Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) is a widely used assessment for determining conflict modes. The assessment takes less than fifteen minutes to complete and yields conflict scores in the areas of avoiding, competing, compromising, accommodating, and collaborating.

What factors can affect our conflict modes?

Some factors that can effect how we respond to conflict, are listed below with explanations:-

  • Communication skills The essence of conflict resolution and conflict management is the ability to communicate effectively. People who have and use effective communication will resolve their conflicts with greater ease and success.
  • Situation is where the conflict occurring, do we know the person we are in conflict with, and is the conflict personal or professional?
  • Self-concept How we think and feel about ourselves affect how we approach conflict. Do we think our thoughts, feelings, and opinions are worth being heard by the person with whom we are in conflict?
  • Position (Power) What is our power status relationship, (that is, equal, more, or less) with the person with whom we are in conflict?
  • Gender Some of us were socialized to use particular conflict modes because of our gender. For example, some males, because they are male, were taught “always stand up to someone, and, if you have to fight, then fight.” It one was socialized this way he will be more likely to use assertive conflict modes versus using cooperative modes.
  • Expectations from others. Do we believe the other person or our team wants to resolve the conflict?
  • Practice involves being able to use all five conflict modes effectively, being able to determine what conflict mode would be most effective to resolve the conflict, and the ability to change modes as necessary while engaged in conflict.
  • Determining the best mode Through knowledge about conflict and through practice we develop a “conflict management understanding” and can, with ease and limited energy, determine what conflict mode to use with the particular person with whom we are in conflict.

  • Life experiences As mentioned earlier, we often practice the conflict modes we saw our primary care takers use unless we have made a conscious choice as adults to change or adapt our conflict styles. Some of us had great role models teach us to manage our conflicts and others of us had less-than-great role models. Our life experiences, both personal and professional, have taught us to frame conflict as either something positive that can be worked through or something negative to be avoided and ignored at all costs.

Discerning how we manage our conflict, why we manage conflict the way we do, and thinking about the value of engaging in conflict with others are important. With better understanding we can make informed choices about how we engage in conflict and when we will engage in conflict. The next section provides points for us to consider when determining if we will enter into a conflict situation or not. How might you select your conflict management style? There are times when we have a choice to engage in or avoid a conflict. The following six variables should be considered when you decide whether to engage in a conflict.

1. How important is the issue for us?

Even if the relationship is not of great value for us, one must often engage in conflict if the issue is important to us. For example, if the issue is a belief, value, or regulation that us believe in or are hired to enforce, then engaging in the conflict is necessary. If the relationship and the issue are both important to us, there is an even more compelling reason to engage in the conflict.

2. Are we aware of the potential consequences?

Prior to engaging in a conflict, thinking about anticipated consequences from engaging in the conflict is wise. For example, there may be a risk for our safety, a risk for job loss, or an opportunity for a better working relationship. Many times people will engage in conflict and then be shocked by the outcome or consequence of engaging in the conflict. Thoughtful reflection about the consequences, both positive and negative, is useful before engaging in or avoiding a conflict.

3. Are we ready for the consequences?

After analyzing potential consequences, determine whether we are prepared for the consequences of engaging in the conflict. For example, one employee anticipated a job loss if she continued to engage in the conflict she was having with her boss over a particular issue. After careful consideration, the employee thought and believed strongly enough about the issue that she did engage in the conflict with her boss. Her annual contract was not renewed for the upcoming year. Because this individual had thought through the consequences of engaging in the conflict, she was prepared to be without a job for a while and able to financially and emotionally plan for this outcome.

Most consequences of engaging in conflict are not this severe, but this example illustrates the value of thinking through consequences.

4. What are the consequences if we do not engage in the conflict?

To avoid losing a sense of self, there are times when you must engage in conflict. Most people have core values, ideas, beliefs, or morals. If a person is going to sacrifice one of their core beliefs by avoiding a conflict, personal loss of respect must be considered. In such cases, even if a person is not excited about confronting the conflict, one must carefully consider the consequences of evading the conflict. When the personal consequences of turning away from the conflict outweigh all other factors, then a person usually must take part in conflict.

5. Do we have the energy for the conflict?

Many of us say, “There is not time to do all that I want to do in a day.” Often the issue is not how much time is available but how much energy we have for what we need to do. Even in a track meet, runners are given recovery time before they have to run another race. Energy, not time, is being managed in these situations.

Improvement starts in the mind. If we can change our mind, we can change our life. The only person who can change our mind is ourself. No change will take place unless we allow it. However, you might need some help in finding out this process

Our mind is such a powerful tool that whatever we keep in it will affect our whole experience of life. If we believe that there is nothing we can do about anything, then we are quite right. But, if we believe that we have got unlimited potential available to us, then we are probably even more right.

Some of the things you might wish to change are:

Limited choices - Flexibility
Stress - Relaxation
Negative attitudes - Positive outlook
Fragmentation - Wholeness
Physical illness - Health
Unwanted emotional reactions - Empowering emotions
Imbalances - Balance
Mysteries - Awareness
Passivity - Action

There are many types of personal change that can help to improve our life. There are things we can do by ourself, and there are things we might need a mental or spiritual practitioner to help us with. A great many avenues and techniques are available for us.

Discover y

Personal change happens through a journey of discovery. We need to find out more about ourself; how we do things, how we have been limiting our options, how we have created your current situation for ourself. Along the way we will find out a lot more about life and about how we can be in charge of our own. And we will find that we already have a lot of positive resources available to us.

The only pre-requisite for starting this journey of discovery is that we are willing to learn. If we realize that there is something there to learn, then we can learn it. If we realize that there are things we have not yet understood about ourself and about life, then we can understand them. What we will learn might be unexpected and surprising, but that is the nature of discovery.