Getting along with others in the work environment requires as much interaction and communication as meeting new people or hanging out with our friends. Today we will talk about the 11 “must-haves” interpersonal skills we need to succeed in the business world.
Here is a list of the 11 Critical Interpersonal Business Skills:
- Listening Skills
- Non-Verbal Communication
- Verbal Communication
Before we get to know more about each of the interpersonal business skills, it is essential to understand what interpersonal skills are and why they are crucial.
Interpersonal Skills or soft skills are a set of words, actions, expressions, and meanings we use to communicate and interact with people so that they understand clearly the message we are trying to give or receive.
Interpersonal Skills are essential at the workplace because they guarantee that we carry out our tasks at work with more efficiency and acknowledge new forms and ways of thinking faster than if we were by ourselves.
Having interpersonal business skills enable us to:
- Handle conflicts;
- Manage diverse relationships;
- Develop critical thinking;
- Become less judgmental.
11 Critical Interpersonal Business Skills
Assertiveness is the ability to self-assure our or other people’s needs, feelings, and opinions in a calm, reasonable, and positive way. When we behave assertively, we are always respectful and considerate towards other people’s beliefs too.
Unlike being aggressive where we attack and retroact, being assertive means that we can communicate our needs and emotions to achieve results and not necessarily hurt other people’s feelings or scare them in the process.
We can say that assertiveness is the balance and the goal we want to reach between passiveness and aggressiveness. When we are passive, we can’t make decisions, so we don’t speak up for anything.
And when we are aggressive, we expose our inner rage and violence, which is often not the message we want to pass.
We can be assertive at the workplace by:
- Being open toward our feelings and expectations;
- Developing self-confidence so that we feel comfortable when standing-up for our own and others;
- Listening to our colleagues’ point of view whether we agree or not, always respond with respect;
- Recognizing that our contributions are just as significant as anyone else’s.
Decision-making is the process of choosing between two or more scenarios, most times having to predict the outcome to come out with the best option given.
Here we have 4 Steps of the Decision-Making Process:
- Problem Recognition
We need to identify the problem, why it is a problem, and for who.
- Search Process
We are starting to evaluate our risk management, which can be done by doing a board with pros vs. cons.
- Evaluate Options
In this stage, we analyze how many options and which one will satisfy and fill the needs we are looking for.
- Select and Go Forward
After considering who the problem affects, list our pros and cons, and critique the choices we have on the table, we are ready to choose the best solution.
To make effective decisions, it is vital that we:
- Anticipate possible outcomes;
- Understand the impact of the decision on other people;
- Consider the needs and feelings of those whom the process of decision-making affects.
Empathy is the ability to understand and welcome other people’s feelings, experiences, and emotions as if we had them ourselves. When we are emphatic, we do not judge other people’s feelings. We are there to listen and help them.
In the workplace, it is essential to have empathy. Many people can become stressed or even mentally exhausted because of labor accumulation, restlessness, event management, and organization.
“Companies are made up of people. And these people each need to do their jobs and do their jobs well so that other people do their jobs. We all depend on each other.” – McElhone (2020)
So more than anything, to work requires emotional balance, and sometimes we are going to need help and others we are the ones who need to sit down, listen and help people in those situations to overcome it.
How to incorporate empathy at work:
- Create a culture of team-work
- Accept people as they are with no judgments;
- Prioritize active listening;
- Be open.
Highly Recommended Article: HOW to Develop Empathy
Leadership is the ability to motivate a group of people by inspiring, influencing, and leading them with positive mindsets and behaviors to achieve goals that can become common.
A leader is someone who cares and understands the team’s feelings and problems and helps them navigate through them, so we must have charisma, patience, respect, discipline, and, most importantly, the ability to influence our collaborators.
We can become a leader at the workplace by:
- Setting a direction of where we want to go, what is our company goal?;
- Delegating tasks giving specialized tasks and that makes us leave the comfort zone;
- Building an inspiring vision about the work we want to do;
- Give the necessary feedback to our collaborators;
Authentic leadership is about working in a team to reach a common goal. However, not everyone that will work with us may believe and want the same purposes as we do for our work.
A leader can influence them also by showing them how we are doing something different and revolutionary. That is why it is so important to distribute tasks that make sense, that we know our collaborators have interests in it.
That will bring up a feeling of trust, usefulness and make our co-workers know we’re heading there.
Communication is a two-way street. Knowing how to listen is as important as knowing how to speak. Often, in dialogues we should be more attentive to hear, regardless if we know the exact answer.
Research and studies show that good communicators are the ones who, above all, practice ACTIVE LISTENING.
With tolerance, listening with patience shows that we can understand others, respecting what he/she says, even if what he/she says does not reflect our thoughts and opinions.
Having active listening skills makes all the difference in professional relationships. Also, to know how to listen to our co-workers is to put ourselves in their shoes.
Not responding right away means we have auto-control and is a welcoming sign to our interlocutor.
We can achieve active listening skills at the workplace with the following tips:
- Don’t impose your point of view;
- Don’t make assumptions or judgments;
- Make questions that will guide the conversation and know which way to take;
- Paying attention to who you’re talking to;
“We all negotiate daily. On a personal level, we negotiate with friends, family, landlords, car sellers, and employers, among others. Negotiation is also the key to business success. No business can survive without profitable contracts. Within a company, negotiation skills can lead to your career advancement.”– Coursera.
Negotiation is the process of communication to reach an amicable agreement on different ideas and needs. Negotiating skills are essential to achieve personal and professional goals. We negotiate to get contracts and find win-win outcomes.
For a negotiation to occur, two people must present their views and find a common denominator that satisfies both parties in a shared decision-making process.
We can develop negotiation skills at the workplace by:
- Being a good listener;
- Choose consensus in the process instead of aggressiveness so that the planned goal can be achieved;
- People carry several influences and aspirations to get the best possible result; understanding potential personal difficulties is the key.
- Preparing before any big negotiation
Non-verbal communication refers to expressions that do not use words or do not use written language. It is a form of sending a message that we carry out with our body, without using the spoken word, such as gestures, posture, and physical contact.
Body language can affect our communication outcome and reinforce our message; it demonstrates the lack of connection between the spoken words and our true feelings or intentions.
In the workplace, the body denounces what is behind the words, and posture delivers what we are feeling, fear, tension, insecurity, joy.
Highly Recommended Article: 10 Critical Communication Skills
We can learn to comprehend non-verbal communication for better relationships at the workplace by:
- Understanding that curved shoulders and closed arms demonstrate barrier and discouragement;
- It is crucial to maintain our professional posture and tone of our voice to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings;
- To make people comfortable by our side, we may want to control our facial expressions, we can think we are being thoughtful, but our face may suggest we are angry or upset.
Patience is the ability to stay grateful and resilient, even when we face unwished situations. At work, sometimes we will be in positions or face experiences that we are not comfortable with, and our attitude is very critical.
We shall not be rude or be in a bad mood with our colleagues because of that. Instead, we need to appreciate that we have a job, behave ethically and respect our co-workers, and step by step, things will get better if we work for it.
Problems can pop-up anywhere and at the workplace, where employees with different backgrounds and priorities work together. Knowing how to handle conflicts is a critical skill that involves handling confrontations tactfully and constructively.
Our aim is here to yield a positive result from disputes and disagreements between people in the workplace.
We learn problem-solving in the Workplace by:
- Active Listening ;
- Identifying points of agreement and disagreement;
- Focusing on behavior and events, not in the individuals;
- Creating a work plan for each conflict.
Team-work is when a group of people or society decides to create a collective effort to solve a problem. People who successfully manage to build team-work present a high level of satisfaction — harmonious team-work results in more incredible speed and efficiency in the corporate environment.
We can build a team-work spirit at the workplace:
- Make eating time a time to get together;
- Organize social events;
- Team Building exercises;
- Transparency within the organization;
- Share praise and feedback.
Verbal and Written Communication
Having an excellent Verbal expression is an essential attribute if we want to be a good manager and grow in the corporate environment or job market.
To excel in our work career, we must know how to communicate our ideas in an objective and accessible way.
The ability to communicate is essential because we live in a society – that is continuously in relationships with other people. Thus, it is indispensable that we can transmit ideas effectively.
Technical knowledge is the foundation, but if we want to achieve higher positions, verbal competence cannot be lacking – after all, it passes credibility to others. Those who know how to speak well are perceived with more respect and usually go further in the ladder.
We can develop verbal communication at the workplace by:
- Before we start a conversation, we should think about what we want to transmit;
- Being concise and brief in most occasions;
- Get rid of judgmental thoughts;
- Read about how to pitch and persuasive arguments.
Having strong interpersonal business skills can improve our interaction with others at work and by communicating more effectively, giving and receiving feedback we can establish ourselves as high potential professionals and fast track our growth in the job market or at the company we work for.
One of the significant benefits of owning critical interpersonal business skills is that they can help us resolve small problems before snowballing into otherwise substantial issues.
References and Further Reading