Tact & Diplomacy: Two Skills Worth Developing

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The successful leader understands people and knows how to get along with them. If you aspire to be such an individual you must be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others, and know what to say or do in your relations with them. Two skills which help in working with people are tact and diplomacy. 

EAP Supervisory UpdateTact involves interacting with people without offending them. Successfully interacting with people requires understanding in communicating with them. Diplomacy involves handling affairs without raising antagonism or hostility. A diplomat shows professionalism and consideration of others, especially in situations of stress. On the other hand, some people just seem to rub people the wrong way. Others appear to be born with the knack of being tactful without seeming to try.

How do you go about being tactful? These suggestions may be of help:

Be Slow to Criticize
Avoid doing it at all, if possible. People know when they haven't tried, or haven't done a good job. Your silence on the matter can send a powerful message, especially if they know that you're aware of what has happened. If you must speak, the important thing in talking about an error is not in determining who made it, but what happened and how it can be prevented in the future.

Make Requests Instead of Demands
A request is always better than a demand. Demands should be made only in emergencies or when immediate action is needed. Put yourself in the other person's place when you ask for something. Will he or she gain a sense of achievement from doing what you ask? Is the person as interested and concerned in the outcome as you are? Approach people with their interests in mind whenever possible.

Be Positive & Optimistic
A positive and optimistic manner will get you more agreement and cooperation than a negative and pessimistic one. Understand how people like to be treated and act accordingly. A tactful person makes good use of the words "please" and "thank you." You'll find it rewarding to approach things in a more tactful and diplomatic manner because doing so becomes a valuable resource for your success, and for the success of your employees.