Interpersonal

Standard -Interact effectively with others as peers, subordinates and leaders to accomplish goals.

Context

Interpersonal skills, or the ability to interact effectively with others as peers subordinates and leaders to accomplish goals was demonstrated through ED 685 taught by Rhea Fixx and Jean Strayer. This project was a case study looking at improving communication skills for technical people. My partner for this case study was Deba Das. Deba and I quickly learned that we had an interesting connection. Deba is a Delhi-ite living in Wisconsin and I’m a Wisconsinite living in Delhi . Geographically speaking working together on this case study posed some interpersonal communication challenges for us both in terms of distance and time zone.

Outcomes

The deliverable for this project was a presentation to our classmates regarding our thinking related to the case study and its relationship to the literature studied and also recommendations for strategies for improvement. The artifact for this standard is the wiki that we created to enhance our interpersonal communication.

Demonstrating Interpersonal Skills

The 10 1/2 hour time difference between Milwaukee and Delhi could have proved to be a significant barrier in this case study, however due to technology it was merely an annoyance at times. There were several technology tools that allowed us to communicate as if we were in the same time zone or location.

Those tools included:

  • timeserver a web-based application that allowed us to set meeting times that were mutually effective
  • chats via Skype
  • setting up a wiki in Wikispaces which served as a clearinghouse for our ideas and drafts
  • setting up an RSS feed from the wiki to alert me to changes Deba made
  • e-mail
  • using Macromedia Breeze to facilitate our final presentation.

In addition to technology Deba and I worked well together as our communication skills complemented each other. We were good listeners, flexible teammates, and hard workers each pulling our own weight. In the end we were able to meet deadlines and produce a top-quality final product despite our geographic issues.

Lessons Learned

First, I again demonstrated my ability to work well with others in a team setting. My communication skills, including my ability to listen, and effectively express my ideas both verbal and written, along with my ability to be flexible in my thinking served me well in this situation.

Second, I grew as a communicator and a collaborator. As Deba and I divided up the work, we chatted about the project direction, and then worked on our own for a period of time touching base when we needed clarification or reinforcement of ideas. This set-up also forced me to develop confidence in my teammate and trust that they would hold up their end of the bargain.

Finally, I learned that distance is no longer a barrier to collaborating with people. Clearly Deba and I were very successful with a project that only a few years earlier would’ve been a struggle based on the distance. The growth and development of web-based tools such as wikis, VOIP and other tech-based tools has created a convergence that has both improved workflow and interpersonal communication.