Every jobseeker will have come across the term “interpersonal skills” while browsing employment related advertisements. Due you know the meaning of interpersonal skills and what are the top interpersonal skills?
Nowadays, every employer, regardless of the nature of their business, seeks candidates with excellent interpersonal skills, other than mere academic achievements and work experience.
Importance of Interpersonal Skills
We live in a society where interaction with people from myriad backgrounds is inevitable. Consequently, employers face the challenge of maintaining a cohesive workforce that will perform to the optimum.
Excellent educational qualifications combined with the experience are fine when it comes to executing a job. However, working with a team and often in a multi-cultural environment is a different ballgame altogether.
Here are where interpersonal skills, that form part of your emotional intelligence, come to fore. Interpersonal skills can briefly be described are aspects of your personality that help communicate and interact healthily with other people.
Here we look at the top 10 interpersonal skills that employers generally seek.
Top 10 Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are not vital only for your job. They can be the defining line between success and failure in every sphere of life.
Interpersonal skills can also be described as social skills. Hence, it is essential to understand these interpersonal skills and acquire them.
1. Self Confidence
Self-confidence ranks as the topmost interpersonal skill for every human. Unless you trust and believe in your own abilities, nothing significant can be achieved despite great qualifications and experience.
Self-confidence stems from various sources. These include a healthy financial situation, proper family support, good social life and faith in own abilities.
Most people lack self-confidence because they have no opinion about themselves. Instead, they depend upon what others think about them. This leads to imminent low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
A large number of people suffer from a lack of confidence. The best way to acquire self-confidence is by ignoring the opinion that others express about you.
2. Verbal Communications
Excellent verbal communications are the second most important element of interpersonal skills. Unless you can make yourself clearly understood, chances are you will never get anything done.
People live under the false notion that excellent verbal communication requires good vocabulary and command over a language.
This is a sheer myth. Instead, a good communicator is a person who makes understand what they are saying in very few, simple and direct words.
Generally, every human is born with excellent verbal communication skills. They are very pronounced among toddlers. However, we lose them while growing up.
This can be due to a plethora of reasons ranging from low self-confidence to fear of reprisals or simply coyness.
You can develop excellent verbal communication skills simply by talking with people. Doing things that scare you helps overcome fright and shyness.
3. Good Listener
Other than self-confidence and great verbal communications, you also need to be a good listener. Giving someone a patient hearing is an interpersonal skill that is much desired for customer care and leadership positions.
It means, you allow people to express themselves while you comprehend what they are saying and reading between lines for things left unsaid.
It can be really tough to be a good listener, especially when someone before you is agitated or even abusive.
To develop listening skills, pay attention to every said word and relate it to situations. Listen with the purpose of understanding and not merely for reacting or responding.
4. Troubleshooting Skills
Troubleshooting skills are highly desirable for every profession. It simply means your ability to analyze a problem and solve it, either for the team, a situation within or outside the company or its associates and customers.
Solving any problem- simple or complex- requires excellent mental analysis and the ability to respond quickly to control any damage it may cause.
Problem-solving skills are taught at school when we are given complex mathematical questions to solve at exams. However, they get dimmed as we grow but can be rekindled.
The best way to develop troubleshooting skills is thinking outside the box or, as some thinkers say, throwing away the box.
Here, the term ‘box’ means our mindset. Looking for textbook answers does not solve many problems. Unconventional methods often serve the purpose.
Empathy is an interpersonal skill that we have but often express wrongly, as sympathy. It does not mean feeling sorry for a person. Instead, it implies the ability to understand and share the feelings of the other.
This interpersonal skill is useful while dealing with anyone from an aggrieved customer to an angry boss. It also helps in sensing the feelings of teammates when working together on a task.
Developing empathy towards another can prove tough. Nevertheless, you can acquire the skill by imagining yourself in place of the other person who is angered or has a grievance.
Try and sense why they are reacting that way and find where you can be of assistance.
6. Time Management
We, Earthlings, are gifted with 24 hours a day. Various ancient civilizations- Egyptians, Greeks, Mesopotamians, Indians, and the Chinese contributed towards this division of the solar cycle of this planet.
In the modern days, how astutely we manage time to obtain maximum productivity is what matters most.
Employers look at how much you can deliver and contribute towards the profitability of their business on any given day. Hence, time management assumes great importance in interpersonal skills.
Time management is something that can be learned very quickly. It does not involve packing too much activity in work or leisure hours.
Instead, time management means prioritizing work according to importance and urgency. Additionally, it also involves proper utilization of time to prevent important work from becoming urgent.
7. Positive Approach to Criticism
Nobody likes to be criticized. Any adverse comments about us hurt what we commonly call the ‘ego’ causing anger and resentment. Yet, accepting criticism can help us develop into better persons and consequently better workers.
We are blissfully ignorant about our grey areas and deficiencies and have false notions of capabilities. Criticism jolts us rudely from this self-made and deceptive cocoon.
Hence, every employer will look for candidates who can handle criticism positively. Instead of people who will drool with self-pity, they want employees who will use adverse remarks to develop and fine-tune their skills and capabilities.
The best way to accept criticism is by viewing it as an opportunity to develop skills and personality for a future, greater role.
8. Coping With Pressure
Working under pressure is commonplace nowadays, thanks to intense competition and swifter modes of service delivery. Every job entails coping with pressure either within the workplace or caused by external circumstances.
Coping with pressure is a precious interpersonal skill. It helps bring out the best in you while imparting a sense of satisfaction over something done well.
Coping with pressure can be fairly tricky. Some wilt under pressure while other excel. The best way to deal with pressure at work is by prioritizing work according to importance and urgency.
A classic, though the unrelated example is hospitals that triage patients, according to the nature of their medical complaint.
Hence, those who merit emergency treatment are admitted on an urgent basis while others are assigned to appropriate departments to await medical consultation.
The same principle applies to cope with work stress: sorting things on the merit of priority, importance, and urgency.
9. Work Etiquette
You can never succeed at any job or business without exemplary business and work etiquette. Employers will gauge your etiquette at the time of the interview. Your social circle will brand you on basis of your etiquette.
Broadly, business or work etiquette is an accepted form of behavior in a group or society. It involves proper manners, maintaining the decorum of the place and being polite towards others, telephone manners and lots more.
Every human learns etiquette at home and later at school, among playmates, society and later at institutes of higher education. You can fine-tune your work etiquette by simply reading and practicing common do’s and don’ts.
Persons with excellent business and work etiquette stand a greater chance of promotions and career development compared to those with limited or no manners. Etiquette often gets the better of qualifications. A highly qualified and experienced person sans any business and work etiquette will be shunned by employers.
10. Team Play
And finally, your ability as a team player is something that all employers will view. Being a team play is a much desired interpersonal skill in modern workplaces. Nowadays, companies assign work to teams to ensure speedier and efficient execution.
Nobody can be a team player unless they are willing to communicate, listen and empathize with other players to meet deadlines under pressure, handle criticism positively and yet maintain decorum and remain polite.
We all learned team play during childhood and as students when playing a game or working on a school project together. The same principle holds true for team play in the workplace.
Only, the situation assumes some seriousness because it involves business interests. Anyone who possesses other interpersonal skills can easily become an excellent team player.
Interpersonal skills are an integral part of emotional intelligence. Usually, every human acquires interpersonal skills since childhood and they develop over years, with myriad experiences in life.
Interpersonal skills are the main reason why most entrepreneurs and industry captains are successful in today’s highly competitive world.
Reading excellent books on self-growth, entrepreneurship, and leadership can help you to a great degree in developing interpersonal skills.
Indeed, people including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg owe their success to reading.
Because reading good books helped fine-tune their self-confidence, developed communication skills, empathy, and other interpersonal skills.
You too can develop excellent interpersonal skills by reading books. Working on steps we mentioned earlier can also help you acquire interpersonal skills for a successful career and life.