"I have always been a bit of an introvert. In fact, my dad used to force me to meet people so my interpersonal skills improve." Ashwin Sanghi

Far too often you find that one of the considerations of workplace appraisals are employees' interpersonal skills. You do communicate with other employees in the workplace but the thought of getting appraised based on your ability to communicate seems strange. Why are these soft skills so important in the workplace? Well in the business environment, teamwork and collaboration actually impact on the organization. Good teamwork within the organization means that the organization will succeed. From team meetings to making work-related decisions, a fair amount of communication between employees is needed. If employees simply cannot communicate properly or seem to constantly be at loggerheads with each other it means that the organization will be disadvantaged.

communication in the workplace
You can always work on bettering your interpersonal skills. Source: Unsplash

You may be quite confident while you are reading this blogpost knowing that your interpersonal skills have been well developed. But think about this for a moment: when last did you speak to a work colleague and actually see things from his or her perspective? When last did you develop a personal relationship with an employee? With COVID-19 causing more people within organizations to work from home,  there is a big chance that you hardly stay in touch with other employees and find out what working-from-home challenges they are facing. Can you tell what stresses everyone in your team is facing at the moment? The answer is probably not.

Research indicates that a workplace environment becomes far healthier if friendships are formed within the workplace. The team that is working together functions better if they are supportive of each other. So even if you feel that you certainly are no introvert and your interpersonal skills are good, perhaps there is a thing or two about how you communicate with others that you could improve.

Do you know what interpersonal skills are? By reading all about what interpersonal skills are, you will immediately understand why interpersonal skills development is important.

Developing Interpersonal Skills Requires You to Know What Interpersonal Skills Are


We communicate with others often but we never really understand things from other peoples' point of view. For many people, being empathetic is not something that comes naturally but empathy can be learnt. So while you are able to communicate well with other people in the workplace, are you actually able to communicate well when an employee is being difficult? How you handle yourself and your ability to communicate well shows in the moment of a heated conflict. If an employee seems unreasonable, are you able to take a step back and understand what it may be like to be that employee for a moment? Perhaps the other person is acting irrational or frantic at that moment in time because he or she has far too much on his or her plate.

"If there is one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as your own." Dale Carnegie

Step aside from being a participant in the conflict for a second and understand why the other employee is lashing out. There may be underlying issues such as the employee feels that you are never supportive of his or her decisions. Maybe the employee feels that a certain discussion that you are pushing forward would be too burdensome for them or they require additional support.

Understanding the viewpoint of another person is an essential interpersonal skill to have and is at the core of what developing interpersonal skills really mean. Having empathy allows you to see things clearly before you attack someone and also allows you to resolve any work-related conflict.

Standing Your Ground Vocally

"Stand up for your values, be courageous and humble." Tariq Ramadan

There is a very blur line between being assertive and being aggressive. When you are assertive, you show that you too can have a say about things that you value. It is of utmost importance to bring your values into your workplace. Your values are attached to your mindset and while you should communicate well with others and be empathetic to them, you should never let anyone in the workplace undermine your values. If you feel emotionally affected by someone else's actions which seems to go against what you value, talk about how you feel to this person. If you speak up and voice your values, you are bound to resolve the situation and even make that person more empathetic towards you.

Building relationships in the workplace is a two-way street. So thus in developing your interpersonal skills, you tend to learn how to react to others and improve how others react to you.

Hold onto your personal values
Let someone know if you feel your values are being compromised in order to build healthier interpersonal relationships. Source: Unsplash


It is never overtly stated but your manners are an essential part of how well you communicate with others. When you have good manners and address people respectfully, automatically people start to admire you. Good manners will teach you to be appreciative if someone does something nice for you. A simple, "thank you" can determine how much respect and help you will gain in the workplace. While mannerism seems like a dated concept, you may never realize how quickly someone else will be willing to assist you if you utter a simple, "Please."

Your manners certainly are reflected in the way that you communicate with others.

"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." Clarence Thomas

Perhaps you need more guidance on how to develop your interpersonal skills, we have provided you with a guide for developing your interpersonal skills.

Building Good Interpersonal Relations in the Workplace

The reason interpersonal relationships ought to built in the workplace is so that a positive working environment can be created. Employees must want to go to work and be keen on interacting with colleagues. When workers build good relationships with each other there is no room for animosity and hostility in a working environment.

"Every relationship is work." Bill Hader

One of the considerations for appointing an employee for a leadership position is actually whether the employee had built good relationships with others in the workplace. So how do you build good interpersonal relationships?

Good Relations Require Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Skills

We all are strong-minded individuals within a workplace so its inevitable that workplace conflict is bound to arise. In order to build better relationships within the workplace, you can't let conflicts turn bitter. You must be able to adequately handle any conflict as soon as it arises.

"You do not get what you want. You get what you negotiate. "Harvey Mackay

Use your negotiation skills to persuade others of your point of view, whilst still understanding and being empathetic to the other peoples' point of view. If you can convince others of your position without angering them you have succeeded at negotiating and nipping any conflict in the bud.

Sometimes you may need to yield to another person's request if the conflict seems to be getting out of control. Disagreements are necessary between workers but the ability to agree after disagreeing that's the true interpersonal skill that we all ought to learn to develop.

Good Relations Require You to Be in Control of Your Emotions

"It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head-it is the unique intersection of both." David Caruso

To build better relations at work, you need to be able to take charge of and control your emotions. While you may want to lash out at the spur of a heated moment, you do need to be mindful about how lashing out and unleashing your anger can make your colleagues see you. Your anger may make you want to shout and scream but your emotional intelligence will help you make an intelligent enough decision to realize the anger will not be best in the situation. You must be level-headed during an intense work-related debate. Having full control over emotions when interacting with others will allow you to sustain the relationships that you have built.

building better relationships in the workplace
Cultivating better interpersonal relations in the workplace is essential. Source: Unsplash

The Importance of Interpersonal Communication Skills Development for Your Wellbeing

It is found that developing interpersonal skills and being able to communicate well with others does improve your personal wellbeing. Good communication skills within the workplace can serve as a motivational factor in the workplace and does make employees want to come to work. A stressful work environment on the other hand can be created when individuals within the workplace do not communicate well and end up backstabbing and backbiting.

"Lack of interpersonal skills is the main contributing factor why we find ourselves in the midst of an unfolding mental crisis." Dr Helena Lass

To avoid creating a hostile work environment, positively communicate with others at the workplace. When you interact with others, remember to:

  • Be supportive of other employees
  • Listen attentively to all
  • Have a good sense of humour but be respectful to others when you make jokes
  • Have good manners
  • Always use positive non-verbal communication (smiling at others when you arrive at work)

So while interpersonal skills are important, you must constantly work on developing your interpersonal skills, particularly for the workplace.

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Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.