Hiring managers know that if there’s one thing that needs to be on top of a great resume, it is excellent interpersonal skills, also called soft skills or people skills. Interpersonal skills for job profiles may vary based on the nature of work, however every job under the sun requires you to have a great set of these skills to interact and communicate effectively.
Prioritizing interpersonal skills for work can be a little tricky considering the wide range to choose from and imbibe to suit a particular role To make it easier, here’s our top 10 interpersonal skills to ace your game for success at the workplace.
1. What are interpersonal skills
In simple terms, interpersonal skills are a combination of personality traits and behaviors that help in developing healthy and productive relationships. From a professional viewpoint, interpersonal skills for work are not just resume fillers, but critical parameters that can be used to judge a potential employee’s success at the workplace.
Employees with excellent interpersonal skills for work are more equipped to handle complex work environments as they end up being great team players and leaders. Their ability to communicate effectively and make a positive influence on those around further contributes to overall business goals. While there may be a wide gamut of skills to consider,
2. Interpersonal skills that will make you stand out in your office
2.1 Have a positive attitude
Staying positive is a sure-fire winner (except on a Covid test) in any challenging work situation and an essential on the list of interpersonal skills for work. Looking at the brighter picture always helps whether you may be facing tight deadlines, client issues, system failures or even dealing with a bad cup of coffee. People find it easier to interact with positive-minded individuals due their calm and optimistic mindsets. It helps in boosting morale, encouraging others around you and in diffusing stressors. Besides fostering a happier and productive environment, positivity makes a difference when it comes to being effective too.
You can evaluate situations clearly, make objective decisions and accomplish more work collaboratively. Some great ways could be to take frequent breaks, enjoy fun water-cooler banter, avoid negative gossip, encourage or motivate others and even keep a gratitude work journal.
2.2 Master effective communication skills
Effective communication is another front-runner on the list of interpersonal skills for work. Communication that’s done with purposeful intent to achieve a specific goal or action is considered effective.
With the slew of technological tools and devices at your fingertips, the need to engage in the art of conversation often takes a back seat. Consider using clear, concise and crisp language to communicate for your work meets, Zoom calls, Slack’athons or mail exchanges. Clear communication begins with listening, engaging in dialogues or healthy debates, reiterating viewpoints and arriving at actionable conclusions.
2.3 Learn conflict resolutions skills
Peacemakers know that ensuring peace is not the absence of conflict but in knowing how to deal with it. Managing conflicts is essential to foster a positive work culture that’s productive. This leads to lower attrition, lowered medical costs, more work goals being met and happier employees. Excellent listening and mediation skills can be pivotal in solving differences. The ability to stay relaxed and focused in difficult situations is an integral aspect of conflict resolution. Choose to listen, clarify, restate and validate the opposite person’s viewpoint in a respectful manner to minimize any risk of conflict at all times.
2.4 Be proactive and take responsibility
Ever wondered what exactly that means on an appraisal or performance review? Proactive individuals are self-motivated and emotionally aware of their actions and subsequent consequences. Being a proactive professional enables you to plan in advance, anticipate issues, consider your choices, weigh suggestions and take action instead of reacting. This helps in making better informed decisions, enhances the quality of your relationships and aids in achieving work goals. Being accountable will help establish your credibility and makes for great value-addition to your interpersonal skills for work.
2.5 Have negotiation skills
While we all may have grown up learning to negotiate our way through ground rules, household chores, and homework, negotiation at the workplace is a different ballgame. This could mean negotiating a contract, salary hike, project deadline or even extension of leave. In order to negotiate effectively, you need to master key elements such as learning to compromise, communicate and problem-solve between both sides to sort out conflicts, arrive at solutions and help build better relationships.
2.6 Collaborate with everyone
Collaboration calls for being an effective team player and communicator when working in groups or teams. Successful collaboration provides plenty of opportunity to gain more perspective, interact with others, get creative with solutions and build effective professional relationships. Some great interpersonal skills for work examples that you can practice could be to actively participate in group meets, connect through open-ended discussions, use official chat apps or video conferencing to stay connected and updated.
2.7 Show respect to everyone
While this may not be a common callout in a resume, maintaining a respectful line of communication is a must-do in any environment and another tick on the list of interpersonal skills for work. Being able to politely assert opinions or difference in opinions can help negate any potential workplace stress or conflicts. Simple yet effective ways to express this would be to mind your manners, be considerate, actively respond in a timely manner and to reach out to help others when needed. When employees feel respected, it helps in promoting a positive work culture that’s conducive to growth.
2.8 Learn to lead
One of the most important interpersonal skills for work that’s also a vital parameter for career advancement would be leadership skills. While some are born leaders, others can be trained to be great leaders using a few key strategies for workplace success. Leaders have the ability to make informed decisions, provide guidance and motivate team members to achieve their goals through effective delegation and problem-solving. Leadership does not need to be limited to managerial levels. You can take the onus to lead by example while working individually or in teams to be proactive, update and create action plans for your team or work goals.
2.9 Acknowledge feedback
The right attitude in accepting constructive feedback can make a great difference in how you engage in the workplace and one of the most important interpersonal skills for work. Use professional feedback as a sounding board to get a clear and true picture of your strengths and pain points without feeling like it’s a personal attack. You can refine this interpersonal skill by engaging in positive and open-minded discussions to understand feedback that’s given to you. Create action plans that can be used to work on any kind of feedback given and ensure proper and timely implementation.
2.10 Ensure proper body language
Body language involves the use of postures, facial gestures and mannerisms to communicate. This form of non-verbal communication as one of the interpersonal skills is crucial to enhancing the quality of your communication at the workplace. There are a lot of subtle cues that can be conveyed through the stance you take, hand gestures and voice tone. Interestingly, studies conducted by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, states that 55 percent of communication is conveyed through facial expressions, gestures and posture, 38 percent is conveyed through tone and only 7 percent comes through the actual words.
3.1 Why should I learn interpersonal skills?
To communicate effectively and achieve your career goals, it’s essential for you to develop and maintain the right set of interpersonal skills for work. Honing these skills gives you the ability to socialize, express, and interact with others effortlessly in turn making you a valuable asset for any organization. Some people are born with innate soft skills but all individuals can improve them with practice.
3.2 What are some of the most important interpersonal skills that employees should learn in the workplace?
Each skill in the gamut of interpersonal skills for work carries its own significance in contributing to overall success, however there are a few top contenders on the list that are great interpersonal skills examples for you to follow.
- Active Listening- Listening is a prerequisite to facilitate any kind of communication. Active listening essentially is different from simply hearing a sound. Great listening skills come from clearly understanding the opposite person’s language, understanding the context and reciprocating accordingly to ensure effective and timely communication.
- Collaborating- In a professional ecosystem, you come across all kinds of people in various work capacities and being able to effectively collaborate on projects is a must. The quality of your engagements with various team members, other divisions, and customers or clients can drive your success rate at the workplace. Whether you work in people-intensive lines like Sales, IT, HR or other verticals, it’s a crucial asset to helping you build and nurture great professional relationships.
- Verbal Communication- Effective verbal communication makes all the difference when interacting in a professional environment that calls for numerous meetings, presentations, and networking. Timely communication can go a long way in planning, strategizing and executing work. It’s also essential to ensure there are no missed deadlines, unresolved conflicts or unclear lines of thought on how to go about doing a job.
3.3 How to improve interpersonal skills for a job interview?
While you can add a whole laundry list of interpersonal skills for work on resumes while job hunting, it’s important to display the skills you actually practice. These skills are a crucial measure to evaluate your employability for an organization. They could be used to validate your leadership style or problem-solving approach, whether you are a good team player and possess excellent communication skills or if you can collaborate well on projects. So, what do you need to do to improve interpersonal skills for a job interview? Take a look at a few of these pointers to help you get started.
- Be proactive in learning more about the organization and its interdependencies in relation to your job.
- Have a sample set of answers to commonly asked interview questions with valid real-time examples to support or demonstrate your skills.
- The importance of body language is integral to your interview experience. Use confident posture and assertive gestures to express your viewpoints. Modulate your tone of voice to express yourself appropriately and respectfully. Smile more often and maintain eye contact to show you are being receptive to what is being told.
- Be receptive to any feedback that’s given and make note of it so you can work over these with a positive mindset to ace the next attempt.
With a clearer understanding of the significance of interpersonal skills for work and how it plays a pivotal role in career advancement, you can empower yourself to make more impactful relations in your professional and personal space for both career and life enrichment.