Pacific Director Blog

Improving interpersonal skills at work

Pacific Region Blog:

NCDEA Pacific Region Director Tom Salzer

I’m trying something new at work.  Each quarter, every one of our 16 employees gets a book to read.  Reading the book is entirely, completely voluntary.

We have an intranet where we can discuss things, and so far, the books are not generating a lot of posts.  But I hear the conversations in the hallways and break room, so I know that many of our people are talking about the topics in the books.

Half-a-year into this experiment and I think I’m seeing changes in interpersonal behaviors.  People are listening to each other more effectively.  They seem more willing to speak up and assert their own position on topics.  More give-and-take is emerging and I’m very happy to see it.  The ability to take in someone else’s point of view and then potentially modify your own perspective or opinion is key to effective teamwork.

What books have I distributed so far?

I don’t know what book will be next.  Staff members are becoming more open about books they want to read so I am letting their wishes guide my choices.

And I don’t know how this experiment will turn out.  At minimum, I’m building a library for every employee that they can use when they need that information.  At best, the conversations around these books will increase the emotional intelligence of our people, and that will have a direct impact on our ability to work with each other, with our customers, and with our partners.


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