Good interpersonal skills are not simply the latest jargon that’s flitting around in the corporate world. These are the things that make colleagues work together well, bosses become like family and, ultimately, make businesses thrive. Businesses serve people and, therefore, their people should display good people skills.
Why are Interpersonal Skills Necessary?
These skills have obviously been around since man first walked the earth. No matter what they are called – interpersonal relations, communication skills, social skills, emotional intelligence – these are the building blocks (methods and qualities) which can make you a person who is socially liked and trusted. It will also impact on whether you become a respected player, colleague or leader.
Interpersonal skills, as the name implies, are those skills which enable people to be around others, collaborate and impact on one another in a positive way. They can be regarded as the glue that cements people to one another. These skills are, of course, not only of benefit in a corporate context. They, also, aid people in relationships wherever they find themselves.
This really is the beauty of having these skills enhanced and honed: humanity will, ultimately, be the winner. That is because, if nothing else, those learned skills will defuse conflict situations or so calm things down that no conflict actually arises.
Let’s Define Good Interpersonal Skills
When looking at job advertisements anywhere in the world, you will soon discover which interpersonal competencies employers place a high value on. When we think about them, there are a number of skills which most people would agree on. Interpersonal skills in the workplace are reliant on:
- A positive attitude and good work ethic
- The capacity to work well within a team
- Good verbal communication (written and spoken)
- Management skills – as relates to both others and yourself (tasks and time)
Most of these are so obvious that we actually don’t even consider that they may influence how we relate to one another in the modern world of work.
People skills valued in the workplace will include the following skills:
Effective (Active) Listening:
To gather information and connect with a speaker, you must engage with the interlocutor (speaker). Pose appropriate questions and make eye contact. Push away any distracting paraphernalia or technology, so that the speaker realises that he or she has your full attention.
This is a skill which is two-fold. The one side of the coin, is to be able to speak well to all-comers, be they customers or colleagues. Your good communications skills will help you to adjust to communication style, different temperaments and energy levels of others. On the flip side, your well-honed communication skills mean that you will be able to express yourself effectively when conducting negotiations, doing presentations or attending to a customer’s service concern.
This emotional intelligence defines how well you understand and respond to the feelings and needs of other people. Employees who can remain cool, calm and collected under pressure are highly valued by employers. This means that they will always treat customers with the utmost respect, even when a situation may reach ‘boiling point’. Telling the customer that you understand why they are upset and that you be too, if you’d experienced what they had, may help to calm him/ her down and allow you to bring the discussion down to a lower, less heated level. Empathy is an essential quality to be displayed by anyone in the fields of social services, health care, education and customer service.
This reflects very strongly on a core value: taking pride in your work. People need to know that you are as reliable as your word; that you will do what you have to efficiently, correctly and on time … every time!
Courtesy and professionalism:
No matter how heated a client may become, it is important that you remain calm and not respond rashly. Your employer will value having you, if you always treat customers with courtesy and you help to defuse conflict situations.
Things doo go wrong. What is important is how we respond to that inevitability and what steps we take to rectify the situation. A flexible employee approaches a situation in a unique of different way and follows an appropriate plan of action.
Employees, who are self-motivated, are those who are pro-active, they don’t sit around and wait to be told what they should do. They step up, assume responsibility and do what has to be done!
Effective leaders gather information about tasks and situations to enable them to make good, informed decisions. They employ various interpersonal skills, such as patience, empathy and active listening and always encourage team members to achieve the best possible results.
Teamwork relies on all members being willing to work together; to give and receive direction and feedback. It is also very important that all team members are treated fairly.
Interpersonal Skills Benefits
Interpersonal relationship skills, as they are also called, have can have major benefits, both in the workplace as well as outside in the world at large. Let’s have a look at some of these.
Sound Communication Skills Can Build Solid Personal Relationships
Interpersonal skills are skills that influence the way in which you relate to others. They help you to communicate effectively and confidently, to be empathetic and, in very simple terms, to get along with others.
Your excellent interpersonal skills will lead to you to develop relationships – both at home and at work – which are good, wholesome and guided by mutual respect and honesty.
Very often, people don not even recognise that we engage in behaviours like active listening and good body language in our everyday lives. Some self-awareness, not too much though, would go a long way towards helping you to carry across beneficial behaviours, from areas where you are comfortable, into situations where you may be less comfortable.
Interpersonal Skills are Not Only Useful at Work: They are Life Skills
Let’s say that again: Interpersonal skills are simply people skills. They are the skills we use to engage with others and to understand them and our impacts on one another.
Sometimes things are so in-your-face that we don’t recognise them for what they are. Such is the case with interpersonal skills, which spill over from real life into the workplace and from skills training sessions into your daily life.
Several skills – being able to make small talk, building rapport with people and the ability to persuade – are interpersonal skills which are not confined solely to the world of work. They will positively impact on your being able to interact with others in wide-ranging ways.
This is another advantage of developing your people skills.
Amaze Your Customers and Clients With Your Good Interpersonal Skills
Your prospective employers and team will not be the only ones who will recognise the worth of your newfound interpersonal skills.
Your customers, clients or would-be business partners will value your skills highly too. Your clientele do not only want to know that you’re a technical fundi – be it at providing logistical and technical support or products – but, will appreciate your respecting their wishes, that you are punctual and trustworthy and that you agree with they way they see the world.
Your personality speaks volumes and, so, it would be so great, if you’re very simply a nice person, to develop your interpersonal skills and place yourself at the top of the list of prospective employees.
Build Trust and Respect
The same is true for trust. Respect is earned and so is trust. This is markedly so in the world of business. Employers and clients may trust your hard (technical) skills, you will have to continually work at earning their respect.
There is a fine line between being garrulous and popular at the local bar; it’s another to come across as a knowledgeable and professional representative of your company. A certain register, tone and choice of language is utilised and appreciated in the business world. It is important that you pay careful attention to it!
People value trust and respect, not only in the world of business. This applies in all avenue of life – consider your relationship with a loved one and you’ll realise just how important these are.
Interpersonal Skills Are for Your Own Good Too
As previously mentioned, interpersonal skills are not just a set of skills which are useful in the workplace. They add great value to your interaction with people in all walks of life.
Having the ability to communicate very well holds many advantages for you on a personal level. You will realise how important this is when you have had a conversation with someone who displays no interest in what you’re saying or shows no empathy when you’re feeling down.
Listening is a crucial skill which should not be taken for granted. It is important to listen to and actually hear what others say to you so that you interpret their meaning and intentions correctly. This is vital for your personal development and growth. Other people, very often, have fascinating ideas – it would serve you well to give ear to them and learn from them.