Interpersonal Skills In The Workplace: Importance and Ways to Improve
A great set of interpersonal skills is the well-kept secret behind a star employee's success.
Interpersonal skills help an individual to interact with others effectively on the job. Some people are born with such skills, and some need to acquire and improve them.
But some of you must be confused about what interpersonal skills are? And why are we advocating for it so highly? How does it benefit your organization’s growth? Why is it essential during the hiring process, and how does it help increase employee engagement?
While hiring, hiring managers must possess strong interpersonal skills and look for the same in their employees and new hires. It is essential to match the claims of interpersonal skills in the resume to the actual candidate behaviors in the interview process.
In an employees’ life-cycle interpersonal skills can impact positivity towards work, build better work relationships, enhance emotional intelligence, and perform well.
What are the interpersonal skills?
Interpersonal skills are also known as people skills or soft skills and sometimes emotional intelligence. It is nothing but the way you communicate and interact with others. Hence, it gets imperative for your employees to have impeccable interpersonal communication skills to handle clients and maintain good relations within the team.
As an employer, you must ensure that this is one of the top criteria to assess candidates. Regardless of the job type you’re hiring for, your workers must get along well with coworkers, managers, customers, and vendors.
Tip- When you review job applications, check for this particular skill on resumes and add this as a requirement on your job descriptions.
Why are Interpersonal Skills Important in the Workplace?
People skills play an essential role in the workplace. Nevertheless, the importance of interpersonal skills relates to having strong social skills. Aside from this, there are diverse positive reasons to acquire strong interpersonal skills.
We are surrounded by people in almost every part of our lives. Thus, to connect and bond, being socially competent is vital.
Social competence is one of the critical factors for employees to build a positive attitude for life. Building a social relationship with colleagues and people is a general factor of happiness.
Hence, interpersonal skills matter in every aspect of life, no matter how big or small.
As humans, we all want to become a part of the big picture and crave a sense of unity. Being a part of a popular group or community feels essential for us. Being close to friends makes us happy. Life is a performance, and every one of us tries to play a social role in society.
In simple words, everyone needs support from other people to be happy and content in both professional and private life.
Therefore, employees must understand the importance of interacting with clients and peers. This builds a positive relationship among employees and creates a robust work culture.
This is why acquiring good interpersonal skills is a must-have for any employee.
if you lack these skills, it's time you take them seriously. It will transform the way you bond with employees and your perception of yourself.
9 Types of Interpersonal Skills
Having strong interpersonal skills like negotiating, problem-solving, communication, etc., are the main requirements for any job. Everybody wants the best talents to enhance the company’s growth, and for that, you must look for these skills in your employees. Here are nine such examples-
Perhaps the most important interpersonal skill in any job is the ability to communicate well. Whether you are hiring for IT, Customer service, Real Estate, or any other industry, your workers must be able to express clearly and effectively with others both verbally and in writing.
Different job roles will require expertise in diverse forms of communication. For service centric jobs, verbal communication is a must. Similarly, an executive based job will call for excellent verbal and non-verbal skills.
There are mostly three types of communication-
Verbal- Here, your employees will have to interact with clients, customers, or teammates. Thus, you must ensure they’re good at one-on-one conversations and have the ability to break a deal with clients by portraying their communication skills.
Nonverbal- E-mails, case studies, reports, are some of the forms of nonverbal communication, and one must ensure employees are trained with writing etiquettes. Having this skill ensures proper conduct at the workplace.
Public Speaking- Addressing a large audience or group of people requires tremendous communication skills, and only a few charismatic personalities can excel at this. If the job requires such skills, you must choose the best who is able to drive a mass with a convincing speech.
2. Conflict Management
No matter if you’re hiring a manager or an employee, they will likely need to face conflicts at some point in their job. Whether the issue is between two staff members, between yourself and an employee, or between the client and company, you must ensure your employees will listen carefully to both sides and use creative problem solving to arrive at a solution.
Conflict management involves-
A significant part of being a competent manager, employee, or colleague is empathizing with others. Empathy is a quality every employer must look for in their new hires.
For example, If a customer or colleague complains for any reason, employees and managers must listen to their concerns thoughtfully by expressing compassion towards their issues.
An empathetic person is able to become a better team member and also promotes better team dynamics. Empathy is an important skill which helps workers interact with other people at the workplace by showing-
- Diversity and Inclusion
Leadership qualities are not limited to a managerial position. Even a regular employee can display the ability of being a natural leader. Such an employee will be motivating, excellent collaborator, and will put the team’s success above others.
You must ensure to look for leadership experience in job applicants, and that involves-
- Encouraging nature
- Ability to inspire trust
- Ability to instruct
- Management skills
- Motivation skills
- Positive reinforcement.
Only technical skills are not enough to hire a person. If you’re hiring a person with good communication skills, then being an active listener should be a prerequisite.
You must ensure that while your employees need to express their ideas, they must also diligently listen to others’ opinions. Listening is an essential skill that garners clients’ and colleagues’ attention. And as an employer, you must have listening skills for your employees to feel valued and respected.
Listening skill helps develop- curiosity, focus and inquiry.
The skill of negotiation is essential for many positions. Depending on the job’s specificity, it might involve creating formal agreements or contracts between clients or helping colleagues solve a problem and determine a solution.
You can identify a good negotiator by observing their listening skills, creative problem-solving skills, and how they arrive at an outcome that satiates everyone’s requirements. A good negotiator knows to interact, persuade, and always do their research well.
7. Positive Attitude
As an employer, you will want to hire someone who makes the office a brighter place. People with a positive attitude are friendly and maintain a calm demeanor. They ensure they are not part of any office gossip and refrain from making a workplace toxic.
Having this interpersonal skill does not mean the worker has to be a social persona, but they must be willing to maintain a positive rapport with their colleagues as it incorporates-
- Behavioral skills
- Rapport Building
- Social skills
When it comes to interpersonal skills, teamwork plays a pivotal role. Even if the job requires independent work, they still need to collaborate with others. Teamwork functions with good communication, listening to others, motivation from peers, and resolving conflicts collaboratively.
A good team helps promote good company culture and a respectful work environment as it allows-
9. Body Language
People often tend to overlook nonverbal communication, but you must not. As an employer, you must have an eye-for-detail and do not forget to interpret your employees’ body language and gestures.
A candidate with good body language will often determine their verbal communications skills. Instead, their body language will impact their communication skills more than any other factor.
Factors to consider while you assess a candidate with the right body language-
- Eye contact
- Facial expressions
- Personal space
- Posture and body position
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace
Now that we know how vital interpersonal skills are let's look at how to enhance them.
There are multiple ways to improve your interpersonal skills. We have mentioned some examples and practices that are suitable for both managers and employees.
We suggest you practice these exercises daily to implement them in your daily routines and make them a habit.
1. Learn to Give Credit
As a manager, you can show your appreciation and diligence for your employees in three different ways:
When your employees do something excellent, you must praise them and highlight their strengths.
Be grateful if other teams helped you or your team. Such actions must never be taken for granted. Preach this to your team as an example to follow as well.
Appreciate creative ideas and any feedback/criticism you receive.
Self-confidence, gratitude, and acknowledgment are crucial to personal growth as it enhances the ability to work. Many employees want to hear “well done” from their managers and team members.
Do not hold yourself back to communicate effectively. Appreciate your people in a timely, systematic, and value-based manner. Let them know you see and appreciate their dedication. In return, they’ll thank you and work even harder to achieve organizational success.
2. Be Considerate and Practice Compassion
Caring about your employees' well-being as an employer is a critical factor toward refining your interpersonal skills.
Empathy, otherwise known as compassion, is the ability to understand others’ feelings without judging them. As an empathetic person, you must react accordingly to sadness, anger, or anxiety.
If you encounter an employee who is going through a hard time, a bad day, or a burnout, please offer a helping hand. Hear them out, find a solution to their problem, and make them feel comfortable. This strengthens your relationship with people, ultimately resulting in improved interpersonal skills.
Being compassionate with your workforce is more than just building relationships. People who empathize with others are generally less stressed in their daily lives.
Positive thoughts transmit from person to person. Hence, you will learn to find happiness by making others happy. Keep in mind, very few emotions are compared with the feeling you get when you do something good for others.
3. Show Interest
Suppose you’ve had a bad day at work. Your manager has spoiled your day, and you’re loaded with tension. You walk up to a colleague, and they want to speak to you about their problems. Both of you are having a hard time. How will you deal with it?
That’s not easy! Especially when you are struggling with your own problems. When you come across such a situation, try to calm yourself to show interest in your employees’ issues.
Showing undivided interest in others’ problems is the best way to improve your interpersonal skills. Before you begin ranting in front of someone, please ask how they are feeling at the moment. Talk about hobbies, movies, interests. Always pay attention and show your interest in their concerns. This is a great practice to enhance employee engagement.
4. Try to Settle Disputes
Every office experiences disputes, fights, or banter, resulting in a toxic work environment. We have all seen one or the other conflicts among co-workers and managers. But are you the person your employee or co-worker turns up to in case of a dispute?
Having the ability to resolve a dispute requires a great amount of trust. But, you must earn this trust. Being able to be open and transparent with others is a strong interpersonal skill. Having earned the trust, you will become the person solving problems than creating them.
5. Don’t be a Complainer
We all come across people who complain the most, which are the least popular ones. You must stop complaining to avoid being portrayed as a negative person in front of your employees and peers.
As a manager, you must keep an eye out for anything that may be troubling your employees. What is the source of their problems?
If something is troubling them, ask them to try alternatives like writing about their issues in a journal, talking to friends and colleagues, or directly consulting you without hesitations.
Also, as a manager, you must keep your problems at bay first. Before you can console others, you must first compose yourself and solve your own issues.
Implementing these practices assures a productive work environment. After all, interpersonal skills in the workplace are easy to work on. All you need is constant effort and good work ethic.
Interpersonal skills are something that an individual can acquire through various practices. It is a crucial requirement for any workplace to maintain positivity, productivity, and team dynamics to achieve organizational success.
Every member of an organization benefits from developing the required interpersonal skills. As a leader or an employer, you see that your workforce lacks this skill, there are ways to improve your interpersonal skills, and we just spoke about that today.
Let us know your views in the comment section below, and make sure to look for these interpersonal skills in your new hires.