What Are Interpersonal Skills And Which Do You Need To Succeed In The Workplace?
In organizations, there is a lot of talk about things we can see and measure, such as sales numbers, revenue margins, business growth, and more. However, the real hero behind organizational success is something that cannot be seen as easily, and that is interpersonal skills. Through careful cultivation and personalized training programs, these skills can define the effectiveness of an employee, a team, or an entire organization. But what do we refer to when we talk about interpersonal skills in the workplace? In this article, we will explore the definition of this term as well as the 10 fundamental interpersonal skills you need to reach new levels of success.
What Are Interpersonal Skills?
In the world of business, interpersonal skills are usually referred to as soft skills, which is a term many of us have heard before. Although not much weight has been given to interpersonal skills in the past, leaders are now coming to realize how important they are in the workplace. If we wanted to define interpersonal skills, we would say they encompass the way we interact with our coworkers, superiors, and clients, as well as the way we conduct ourselves in the work environment. Although some people have developed these skills since childhood, that doesn’t mean you can’t work on them later in life. What we can say with certainty is that they are fundamental for career advancement and organizational success.
10 Necessary Interpersonal Skills For Organizational Success
1. Communication Skills
It’s safe to say that communication is the most important skill for effective collaboration in the workplace. Although not all professions are extroverted, your employees will undoubtedly need to have advanced communication skills, whether we are talking about verbal or nonverbal interactions. The first category refers to face-to-face conversations with coworkers or clients, while the second encompasses written communication, such as reports, emails, etc. An employee with advanced communication skills can get their message across concisely and make clear requests that prevent misunderstandings, thus making them a valuable team member.
2. Managing Difficult Situations
Although this skill is often associated with leaders, employees, too, will find themselves having to deal with difficult situations or even conflicts. In reality, conflicts are not something you should try to avoid, as usually two opposing perspectives might lead to more creative solutions. What your employee must be able to do is deal with these difficult conversations with grace, carefully listen to the other side, and navigate through the tension to reach a solution and extract a lesson about how to communicate more effectively in the future.
Leadership encompasses a wide array of skills, such as decision making, integrity, passion, problem solving, and many more that all businesses want from their workforce. More specifically, employees who display the qualities of a natural leader are more engaged, take accountability for their actions, put their team’s success first, and are passionate and persistent when it comes to accomplishing goals. And to top it all off, they motivate their colleagues to try their best, as well. As a result, leadership truly is a fundamental interpersonal skill for organizations that want to be successful.
4. Negotiation Skills
In the business world, there is a chance for potential negotiation every day—when discussing future projects with superiors, exchanging ideas with colleagues, or trying to strike a deal with a client. In each of these situations and many more, employees are required to apply their negotiation skills. A good negotiator knows how to listen, problem-solve effectively and creatively, and research their arguments, thus persuading others to consider a new perspective or idea that might lead their business to more innovative solutions.
5. Active Listening
A valuable employee that helps your business reach new levels of success must not only be able to express their own opinions and ideas but also listen. A good listener listens to gather information and show interest in what the other person is saying. As a result, they avoid distracting behaviors such as looking away or picking up the phone, and they contribute to the conversation without overpowering it. Active listening is a valuable interpersonal skill that builds trust among colleagues, reduces misunderstandings, and increases productivity.
6. Maintaining A Positive Attitude
The hours can be very long in a work environment that lacks people with a positive outlook. Such employees always find the bright side to any situation or individual, maintain a calm demeanor, build friendly relationships with their coworkers, incorporate humor in daily interactions, and refrain from any toxic behaviors. When members of your workforce develop and implement these skills, they help create a more friendly and safe work environment that reduces stress, improves relationships, facilitates conflict management, and increases job satisfaction.
7. Collaboration Skills
Another fundamental interpersonal skill we need to talk about is collaboration. Even if an employee works independently the majority of the time, they will still need to collaborate with their coworkers occasionally. This interpersonal skill includes some of the skills we mentioned before, such as active listening, communication, and conflict resolution, and others we haven’t discussed, such as flexibility and responsibility. An organization that values and promotes teamwork and collaboration is much more likely to improve its company culture and create a supportive work environment.
8. Body Language
Body language belongs in the general category of communication skills, particularly nonverbal communication. However, the fact that its importance is often overlooked has led us to mention it separately. Knowing how to control your body language and also interpret other people’s nonverbal cues makes a great difference in a person’s professional success. For example, do you maintain eye contact? Can you control your expressions? Do you respect other people’s personal space? These habits significantly affect your workplace interactions and your communication skills as a whole, and, in turn, employee morale and motivation.
9. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), refers to our ability to understand not just our own feelings, but those of others too. It is an umbrella term that includes empathy, self-awareness, humor, and more, all crucial skills for a modern-day employee. EQ is one of the most essential interpersonal skills, as it directly impacts how well you collaborate and communicate with your colleagues, superiors, and clients. In fact, the higher your emotional intelligence is, the more productive and efficient you are, as it becomes easier to handle daily challenges without being overwhelmed by negative emotions.
10. Exchanging Feedback
The final interpersonal skill we will discuss is the ability to give and receive feedback. Despite its significance, this skill is often underdeveloped, as employees are scared of insulting others or being criticized themselves. However, when done correctly, feedback exchange can do wonders for organizational effectiveness. It urges employees to admit their mistakes and turn them into learning opportunities. Expressing praise and gratitude for a job well done is another important aspect of feedback that shouldn’t be ignored. This way, you support the company culture and motivate others to keep trying their hardest.
In recent years, interpersonal skills have gained the position they deserve in the business world, as their presence is crucial in the workplace. Employees with advanced interpersonal skills, or soft skills, are more engaged, motivated, and productive. In addition, they help maintain a positive and safe work environment that encourages everyone to try their best. Start developing at least a few of the fundamental interpersonal skills we discussed in this article to breathe new life into your professional development journey.