Why interpersonal skills matter at work

Article by Belinda Fuller

Why interpersonal skills matter at workWhen employers are evaluating candidates for a role, interpersonal skills are often one of their top criteria. These skills are also vital for succeeding in your job and getting ahead in your career. Also known as ‘people skills’, ‘soft skills’ or ‘emotional intelligence’, interpersonal skills relate to the way we communicate and interact with others.

There are very few jobs where someone works 100% independently. Even roles you might think are mostly solo require some human interaction and teamwork. And how well you do that is strongly linked to your overall performance and success. Do you have the interpersonal skills you need to be a valuable member of your team and organisation?

Some of the most important skills include:

  • Communication: Sharing ideas and information, building relationships with colleagues and understanding what a customer wants all rest on being able to communicate effectively.
  • Empathy: Relating well to other people requires you to understand their thoughts, feelings and perspectives. Empathy allows you to put yourself in others’ shoes.
  • Teamwork: Almost all jobs have elements of teamwork. To be a valuable employee, you need to know how to work well with others and play your part within close-knit and wider teams.

Here are seven important reasons why you need to develop and keep improving your interpersonal skills – they can help you:

  1. Foster personal relationships: Just as important as building personal relationships in the workplace is maintaining them. This involves a range of skills including dependability, communication and empathy.
  2. Be an effective leader: A leader who can’t connect with their team will inevitably fail in the long term, and in the short term, valuable team members may leave. A leader with great interpersonal skills can improve productivity and general satisfaction levels of staff, customers and suppliers.
  3. Promote empathy: Understanding your colleagues and manager – both professionally and personally – will help you build powerful connections, and can help create loyalty, boost morale and facilitate positive communication.
  4. Increase client satisfaction: Diplomacy is an important trait in the workplace, but it’s not just co-workers who benefit from a tactful approach. Your ability to compromise and quickly find solutions to issues can greatly improve customer service.
  5. Build trust: Demonstrating strong interpersonal skills helps to build a deep level of trust with co-workers. In turn, this creates a solid base for effective teamwork, problem solving and conflict resolution, which is especially helpful during times of change.
  6. Support clear communication: Effective communication is key to the success of any business. Establishing mutual respect and consideration for each other’s opinions and input can also enable you and your colleagues to work more efficiently and effectively.
  7. Expand your opportunities: By truly connecting with managers and colleagues, you may gain access to more exciting opportunities. If you make a good impression on your boss, they might provide good references, give you more responsibilities and perks, or even promote you.

With technology now taking care of many basic tasks that humans once did, interpersonal skills are more valued than ever. And they’re increasingly a non-negotiable for people wanting to progress in their careers. When you’re applying for a role, address the need for these skills in your application and be ready to discuss this in an interview. In the workplace, consider how you can continue to develop your interpersonal skills to increase your value as an employee.

Are you unsure of the best way to present your all-important interpersonal skills in your resume? Or do you need help preparing for an interview? Our Resume Writing or  Interview Training and Coaching Services might be just what you need.