What are Interpersonal Skills and How to develop it?

Getting that dream job can be difficult. Experience on paper looks great but employers want and expect just a little more. What are they looking for?  Interpersonal skills.

So what are interpersonal skills? They are simply the building-blocks of strong communication both within the workplace and without. Here is a list of the most important as well as some tips for how you can encourage these skills to take root and grow in the garden of your own experience.

1. Confidence

If you don't believe in yourself, who will? Confidence comes across in the way you walk and speak. It comes across in your writing. Be confident. If you don't believe what you are saying then how can your message have impact on others?

confident people

To help cultivate confidence, avoid ending observations with questions such as 'wouldn't you agree?' or 'do you think this applies here?'. Make your statements with authority and leave it to others to question when you are quoting facts or when you are making your own personal recommendations. Realize that what you have to say is of importance and let that reflect in your words and overall attitude.

2. Communication

How well do you express yourself to others? Communication is paramount in all walks of life, not just the workplace. Are you able to report effectively on progress to your boss and teammates? When you are unclear of what is expected of you, are you able to voice these concerns with clarity to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals?

communication interpersonal skills

This is very, very important. Good communication skills can make or break a project. The most important tip that we can advise here is a simple one but it can get you very far in the workplace.

confidence

When you aren't certain, simply ask. Does this sound oversimplified? Sometimes the best advice can seem this way. Your boss, however, knows the importance of this simple tip. If you aren't clear about what is being asked of you then it is crucial that you get clarification. Don't be afraid to ask. Management would much rather that you took a few moments to get some clarity than to hear later that you've been putting valuable time into a misplaced effort. Ask and be sure that everyone is on the same page.

3. Positivity

Attitude can make or break a team effort. We've all worked with a complainer at one time or another and it's an uphill climb. Progress doesn't get the recognition that it deserves and arguments can ensue about productivity. When it seems that more time is being spent in keeping morale high then in doing the best work that you can do then you have a big, big problem.

positive attitude

The solution starts in yourself. Stay positive. Let your excitement for a project show in your work and in the communications associated with your work. A positive attitude can be contagious and while you can't always change the mind of that one 'doubting Thomas' on the team your boss and your teammates will notice your enthusiasm and be happy for it.

4. Team Player

Everyone wants to shine but what happens if the focus goes from doing your job to a competition for glory? The work suffers, of course. Have you ever seen the inside of a watch?

be a team leader

Hundreds of parts, all finely machined, work together inside a watch to achieve an exquisite harmony of purpose. Realize that the end result is the goal and try to see the beauty of the finished project beyond the sum of its parts. While initiative and self-promotion are important they must never be so important that a project is jeopardized just so one person can have a few minutes in the spotlight. You might not believe it but your boss is very aware of what skills you do and do not possess. Focus on the work and save the diva act for when the project is done.

5. Decision Maker

Beyond grandstanding, there is a time and place for assertiveness in the workplace.

decision maker

Decision making. Sometimes during a team's efforts a problem may arise that is keeping a project from completion. The boss is away or you can't reach the client and tou are running out of time. What do you do? Someone without the 'decision maker' trait might simply stall  in hopes that the issue is resolved by someone else. As a result, their fear of doing the wrong thing means that the team isn't doing ANYTHING. 

This will not do.

decision making skills

When in doubt, simply get into the habit of making the best decision that you can. As soon as you get the chance then you must speak to your team leader or to your boss and let them know what you chose to do and WHY you chose it. It takes courage but you will find that the more you use this skill then the easier it will become. Who knows? This might be exactly the reason why you've been put in the position to make that important decision.

6. Adaptable

adaptabilty

Imagine a willow tree swaying in the winds. Projects change. The people you work with may change. Follow suit and make sure that when it's required that you can change as well. This doesn't mean that you need to alter your core values, simply that sometimes your job may require you to tackle a new skill or work with someone whose personality takes a bit of getting used to. Adapt. If you are a strong personality then this can also have a unifying effect on the rest of the team. They will see that everyone can be strong, like you, and yet compromise when the work requires it. Be like the willow tree.

It bends but it does not break.

7. Good Listener

So you can communicate what you want to say effectively. Does that mean that you are a good listener? Listening is a skill. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Pay special attention not only to the verbal portions of a message but to non-verbal cues. Perhaps a client says to you, "This will do" in regards to the fruits of your recent labor and yet their body language communicates disappointment? If you choose only to listen to the words then the project will be over but so may any prospects of future business

listener

This applies when working in a team as well. When asked about progress, does a team member speak with a confidence that their body-language doesn't reflect? You need to get in the habit of listening to EVERY part of a conversation. Remember that often a conversation has three parts. What they are saying, what they wish to say, and what they are going out of their way NOT to say.

So how many of these interpersonal skills do you possess? We hope the answer is 'All of the above."

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