Why Interpersonal Skills at Work Matter and How to Improve Them
Effective interpersonal skills are a part of an individual’s professional toolbox. Such skills play an important role in daily interactions at work and relating to others in general.
By nurturing interpersonal relations, people become more at ease in their work environment and collaborate with other teams smoothly. This may also reflect on one’s productivity and ability to deal with clients.
Poor interpersonal skills could lead to negative feelings and unsatisfactory results at work. It can cause people to feel left out, experience self-doubt, and get into conflicts at work.
Individuals who make efforts to improve their interpersonal skills can contribute to several areas in their organization:
Teamwork and Productivity. A group of people who can communicate to each other has a higher chance of completing a goal. Being encouraging and helpful in their language can help improve productivity.
Conflict management. Friction is inevitable in the workplace. Managing conflicts requires careful use of language, ability to listen to all sides of the story, and understanding motivation.
Leadership. Leadership skills are applied to interpersonal relations when you have to provide constructive feedback and motivate others to achieve your goals.
How to Improve An Organization’s Interpersonal Skills
With practice and support from management, organizations can improve their interpersonal skills.
Identify areas that need improvement. This can be done by asking a colleague, leader, friend, or family member. What are the things that make it hard for a person to understand another person’s words? Where does misunderstanding usually start? Companies can also hold workshops and seminars about business communication or workplace interpersonal skills.
Practice active listening. Ask everyone to pause and pay attention whenever a colleague is expressing his or her opinion. Remove distractions, such as mobile phones, to let the person talking knows that his or her opinion is valued. While individuals can express their ideas and opinions, listening can help them understand each other better and make each other feel respected and valued.
Develop empathy. Being able to place oneself in someone else’s shoes allows you to better understand the motivation and reasons behind their words and actions.
Keep a positive mindset. Having a positive outlook when you are interacting with others allows you to become objective, strive for fairness, appreciate what the other person is saying, and create interactions that will help you get your desired outcome.
Focus on encouraging others. Encouragement can be shown through acknowledging others’ achievements, offering to help someone who is having a bad day or a difficult time, expressing appreciation for team members, or giving simple compliments.
Be aware of your emotions. Whenever there is tension, conflict, or any source of negative emotions, try pausing for a while or perform breathing exercises. Once you are calm, you will be able to think clearly and communicate your feelings and ideas effectively.
Tags: Communication, Conflict Management, interactions, interpersonal skills, Leadership, listening, teamwork