There are a million different things that make up your interpersonal skills tool kit. Each one will be more or less important depending on the environment you grew up in. Your personality type and job will also play a big role.
It’s useful to understand why these skills matter, and what each one of them looks like in practice. Also important is to learn how to wield them to your advantage. Even more important? Knowing how to apply them to your workplace environment to help you achieve what you want.
In this article, we’ll explain what interpersonal skills are, why they matter, and what some of the most important ones are. We’ll also touch on ways you can improve yours and then apply that to the world around you.
What are interpersonal skills?
Interpersonal skills are what we call your collection of social skills. It’s what allows you to move through your daily life in a constructive way. It’s about how you interact with other people and how you communicate with them.
They’re also known as people skills or employability skills. They’re the ways in which you choose to build relationships with others without even realizing it. So important are interpersonal skills, that if you don’t have them you’re labeled as a bully, micromanager, or plain rude. All things none of us what to be known for.
Why do interpersonal skills matter in the workplace?
If we look at it from a workplace point of view, interpersonal skills have the ability to make your life easier. And, they’re a key aspect of what hiring managers take into account when you’re being interviewed.
You need to be able to fit into the company culture and work well with, and under, other people. No one is going to want to work with you if you keep screaming at the new intern any time they make an honest mistake.
While great technical skills are a huge plus, they’re not enough. If you can’t get along with your coworkers, or you come across negatively during your interview, you’ll never achieve a positive outcome.
4 vital interpersonal skills
As we mentioned, there are many traits you can have based on your personality type. And, there are a few that are useful specifically in work settings.
- Communication skills. Knowing how to communicate is not just restricted to verbal methods. Your body language, facial expressions, and gestures are all part of this too. These nonverbal communication skills are just as important as the tone and words you use. Having this trait in your arsenal means you can make yourself understood effectively and clearly.
- Conflict management skills. Let’s face it, you’re going to have to deal with conflict at some point in your working life. Whether it’s a coworker, boss, or customer. While it might cause you anxiety, learning how to deal with it can do wonders to ease your stress levels. You’ll have to listen, come up with a compromise, and then be able to communicate that decision.
- Listening skills. Knowing how to make yourself heard is imperative, but knowing how to listen might be even more important. It’s a great way to make the other person feel appreciated so that they’re more likely to see your side. The key here is not just hearing what they’re saying, but really listening. Don’t focus on what you’re going to say next, instead just take your time to understand their side first.
- Teamwork skills. There’s no such thing as a super person who can do everything alone. Even Superman needed help from the Justice League once or twice. The beauty of being part of a society is that each person brings something different to the table. Understanding that is a great way to succeed at work. Someone with teamwork skills knows how to harness and use each member’s skills and knowledge. The end result? A well-rounded project with tons of expertise applied.
How to develop your interpersonal skills
There are a few things you can do to improve your interpersonal skills tool kit:
- Take a quiz to find out where you stand when it comes to the skills you already have. The DISC personality assessment quiz we offer at Professional Leadership Institute is free and quick. Only 25 questions and invaluable results.
- Find one good thing about the people you work with. Is one of your coworkers great at listening? Is another excellent at getting their point across in a constructive way? Try to figure out why that is. Then, use that knowledge and apply it to yourself.
- Work on your empathy. Part of the ability to resolve conflict is being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. A good outcome is one that both parties are satisfied with. Before you can reach that, you need to first understand what the other side wants.
Looking to develop them even further?
If you’re looking for bigger ways to improve, a short leadership course might be a better fit. We have a few options here at Professional Leadership Institute you can choose from.
- Dealing With Underperformers. Learn how to prepare for and complete difficult conversations. We’ll teach you different ways underperformers might react, and how to turn that around. The course is designed with leadership jobs in mind. That said, anyone that needs to develop their conflict management skills will find it helpful too.
- Coaching Based Performance Reviews. You’ll learn to become coach your people and replace ineffective performance reviews. The main takeaway will be understanding how you can bring out the best in everyone you work with. If you’re looking to develop your team-building and communication skills, this is the course for you.
- Certificate In Leadership Fundamentals. The most expansive course we offer, it includes access to 10 of our flagship classes. You’ll walk away knowing how to deal with difficult people and how to become a great team coach – among several other skills. A great option if you’re looking to learn more about the top 5 interpersonal skills you’ll need in the workplace.
Professional Leadership Institute (PLI) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional PLI resources below will be useful: