Interpersonal skills, also known as people skills or emotional intelligence skills, are all related to the way you communicate and interact with others.
Aside from your technical skills, the ability to socialise well with your colleagues while maintaining professionalism is the key to a harmonious working environment.
How important interpersonal skills are?
People, in general, communicate every day. A simple greeting, a smile, or a nod when passing by someone you know is already considered as a subtle way of communicating. It happens anywhere. In the workplace, even the most independent job (writer, statistician, software engineer) still requires interaction or collaboration with their team.
Interpersonal skills are considered very important because it:
1. Helps maintain a harmonious working relationship between colleagues, managers, and clients.
2. Largely contributes to a team’s organisational productivity.
3. Contributes to the creation of a positive work environment for all.
Must-have interpersonal skills for a harmonious workplace
There is no better way to practise your interpersonal skills than exercising it every day. Here is our list of skills that you should practice to help maintain a professional workplace:
Self-awareness (know thyself)
The concept of self-awareness is best described by this phrase: “no one knows you better than yourself.”
In general terms, this means that a person consciously knows what they feel and why they’re feeling it.
An employee who lacks self-awareness could come up with a careless decision that might affect the productivity of a team. Meanwhile, employees who are highly aware of their feelings will be more mindful of their actions and behaviour.
This refers to other ways of communicating that does not involve words, but could be through:
2. Facial expressions
3. Tone of voice
4. Eye contact
5. Body language
6. Physical contact (shaking hands, touching an arm, pushing, etc.)
Most often than not, nonverbal communications cause misunderstandings. In the worst cases, it can either make or break relationships. At work, communicating nonverbally in the wrong situation might ignite a bigger issue between your colleagues, clients, or your boss.
Respect for others
A healthy working environment encourages respect in all aspect regardless of the company hierarchy. According to a survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), respectful treatment of all employees places as the top factor contributing to employee job satisfaction.
Bigthinkedge list different ways of showing respect in the workplace. The following includes:
1. Showing appreciation for employees’ efforts and time
2. Showing gratitude and courtesy
3. Listening to what others have to say rather than listening only to respond
4. Being respectful of others’ ideas and opinions, even when they differ from yours
5. Not disparaging, insulting, or attacking others; and
6. Not taking credit for others’ work; even if you build or improve upon someone else’s work, be sure to acknowledge their initial contributions
Showing respect in the smallest aspects can go a long way. It could be an important determinant in nurturing a positive connection which goes beyond time.
Empathy is the capacity to place yourself in others’ shoes to be able to understand or feel what the other person does. It is a highly important ability to foster in the workplace because it helps you be more sensitive about your colleagues’ feelings and thoughts. Being empathetic makes you more careful about your choice of words, jokes, and side comments. Thus, lessening the chances of hurting others feelings or offending those around you.
On the other hand, empathy can also be quite useful in business negotiations along with strong communication skills.
There is no better place to practise this trait other than in the workplace as it is where diversity is evident. Actively listening, in its most literal sense, is all about hearing someone else’s stories, rather than passively hearing their message. Take it deeply. Treat each conversation like you have something to learn from their stories because unconsciously, you will gain something.
Now, everyone has their own unique beliefs and principles. By actively listening to them, you will be able to somehow understand why people act and respond like the way they do.
In any situation or location, behaving appropriately should always go without saying. At the workplace, what is considered to be appropriate is usually written on the company rules and regulations. However, here are some general behaviours that must be exercised by employees:
2. Friendliness and respect for others
4. Cooperative and easy to work with
5. Positive attitude
6. Dressing appropriately; and
7. Personal responsibility and accountability
Professionalism can also be acquainted with appropriate behaviour as it is about the proper way to act and behave at work.
More than this list of must-have interpersonal skills that employees should practise is the willingness to uphold and maintain a harmonious workplace. Because even if loads of effort are given to promote a good-natured relationship between all employees, in the end, their compliance is what will define the general population at work.