The greatest of ideas are sold on the belief of the person selling them. The behemoths of It and retail, Software and Industries – have all sailed smoothly for decades on the wings of great interpersonal skills.
The bedrock of stakeholder management – these traits can make or break an organization vis a vis the assets involved.
Whether out and about extroverted jobs or remote work by an introverted skilled workforce, the stakeholder in each vertical requires finesse in handling their personalities, temper, quirks, sudden mood swings and much more. This makes know-how of interpersonal skills an absolute must
Interpersonal skills are all about the features of your persona that you leverage to successfully build communication grounds with others.
More popularly known as “people skills” it is the arsenal of verbal and non-verbal communication elements you put into action as you attempt to put forth your ideas and emotions during face-to-face interaction.
How do you interact with your team to have a meaningful collaboration? Collaboration is the single most sought-after skill looked for in fresh graduates. It is a parameter of your team’s efficiency and your own performance.
Oh! So., you have excellent technical skills? Sorry to break the news, but these skills, if not complemented with good relations methods, will not translate into high-paying jobs or appraisals.
Oh, there are many! The list is quite endless when it comes to soft skills that corporates look out for in potential recruits. But what are some of the most sought-after ones?
The following list attempts to embody the core areas interviewers look out for.
- Active listening – Listening to words without hearing the intent and showing genuine interest is quite useless. Active listening comprises a deep understanding of what is expressed by being present in the moment and alert.
Want to make your employees feel valued? Learn to listen when it matters.
- Dependability – Well-prepared, punctual, and effective. This is who your company needs you to be. Talent only gets you that far unless you bring in the results. Deliver each day, every day and back it up with a work ethic that people resonate with.
It is definitely the fastest route to getting promoted.
- Empathy – Whether you are top of the ladder or just starting out, the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes always pays off.
If you lend a compassionate ear, people pay the thoughtfulness back.
- Communication – Effective communication – verbally, non-verbally and in writing is a sure-shot way to build rapport and charisma, irrespective of your field.
Remember – everyone appreciates clarity in communication.
- Collaboration – People cannot and should not work in silos. Individual brilliance will not matter if the team is not in sync. Learn to make cross-functional alliances, share critical knowledge in due time and help verticals to establish dominance.
Companies love those who exhibit this skill.
- Conflict Resolution – Foster the patience and diligence to speak to people in disagreement. The ability to de-escalate situations and solve root problems is a major chunk of managerial skills.
If you are the one to nip all miscommunications in the bud – you have shown prowess in conflict resolution.
- Decision Making – Is communicating unpopular decisions your forte? It often takes courage and wisdom to understand the impact of personal decisions on teamwork. One who presents a balanced viewpoint – considering all pros and cons- shows mastery in decision-making.
You’ll have to be ready to be held accountable for these decisions.
- Leadership – Emotional intelligence, patience, responsibility, and dependability – all come together to forge this one. It can be learned, and seniority is often surpassed by virtue of it.
It is to motivate others into action.
- Negotiation – It is the innate ability to carve out a win-win situation for all parties involved in any interaction, deal, or collaborative attempt. The art of persuasion is a special kind of talent which if mastered, will take you far.
Try to tackle each opportunity to mediate with respect, trust, and active listening skills. A mutually beneficial creative problem will soon emerge.
- Self-Confidence – The imposter syndrome exists within each one of us. And it is no wonder then how the adage of ‘Faking it till you make it’ makes sense to the entire milieu of millennials and Gen Z fighting it out on the work front.
Believe in yourself first if you want others to do the same. Pretty simple rule, we’d say.
- Positive Attitude – An infectious virtue – this one really tugs at your heartstring, doesn’t it? Behavior that is conducive to the workplace environment is lauded by colleagues and management alike.
If you are someone who has an affinity to help boost the morale of others – you are in for an appraisal pretty soon.
- Constructive Criticism – Feedback needs to be presented well – else it steers dangerously close to gossip. Help your peers o focus on areas of development without the air of someone who ‘knows it all’.
Brutally honest? Try to tone it down next time.
Make sure to weave these keywords into your resume and cover letter while applying for the job, as also to drop in a few during the conversation. How you view yourself and represent yourself is key to cracking such interviews.
Perhaps a couple of examples that better portray the actions in day-to-day life would help you better visualize how interpersonal skills come into play.
Let’s take a look right away.
- Active Listening: How do you prove you are engaged as the person speaks? Put away your phone, close the laptop, and look straight toward them. And yes! Don’t forget to ask questions and give answers if presented with a prompt.
- Dependability: Are you always on time? Do you manage to pull off all tasks entrusted upon you without fail? These are the ways you demonstrate dependability. Be punctual. Close deals. And you’ll be the go-to guy in no time.
- Empathy: If people automatically gravitate towards you to vent workplace stress or brainstorm ideas – you can be sure to have been giving off an air of emotional intelligence. Positive environments within concrete buildings are made possible by individuals like you – thus making you a recruiter’s delight.
- Leadership: Listen to all ideas presented towards you. With patience and kindness. Kudos! You are now a manager with leadership qualities par excellence. Want to steer your team in the correct direction? Make sure everyone gets a chance to speak. Pivot conversations with respect and alacrity.
- Teamwork: Combine all of the above and you got teamwork exemplified. If you often find yourself entrusted with team-building activities – congrats! The management sees you as the perfect team leader with great active listening skills, an empathetic approach, and exceptional communicating abilities.
No matter how big of a master you are of your domain – no one would really want to work with you if you are a disaster as a co-worker or teammate, would they?
Thus, brushing up on existing interpersonal skills and getting acquainted with those that are lacking in you is a great step to upskilling yourself for your job and becoming indispensable while doing so.
How do you develop your interpersonal skills, you wonder?
Once you know which traits you want to focus on and which ones will really help in your career curve – make a beeline for methods that are tried and tested when it comes to achieving finesse in these.
There are several techniques and nothing is generic for each and all.
Well, take a look at these tips and tricks:-
- Practicing: What good is your checklist if you do not use every opportunity to practice the same?
1. Chat up with your team, colleagues, co-workers whenever you get the chance. This is the greatest place where you can employ your new learnings while noticing growth over time.
2. Practice the art of active listening. Make sure to always repeat back what they said in the course of an interaction.
- Monitoring: No matter how exhaustive or how small your list of interpersonal skills you want to work on – without tracking the daily improvement and scope for growth – there will be next to none growth to your sore skills.
1. Make it a point to monitor your body language every day. Make a note of changing expressions or reactions with a change in your demeanour. This is a great way to understand your prowess in non-verbal communication.
2. Avoid certain actions considered to be aggressive by most. These include crossing your arms, looking around too much when the other person speaks, avoiding direct eye contact, general fidgeting – especially in conferences etc. They have a tendency to make you seem disengaged.
- Apply: Create chances where you can put into application your newfound skills. Putting yourself to the test and challenging yourself is the best way to learn and also progress.
1. There’s a Friday presentation that your boss wants someone from your team to lead? Raise your hand and be the first to volunteer. Lead meetings whenever you can and prove your mettle to yourself and others.
2. Lead meetings, workshops, and seminars. If you can step up to the dais, don’t shy away.
General enthusiasm and engagement while interacting will people will show in your conversations, and soon, people will start taking notice.
The image you project is what people will latch on to. So, you need to project an image of sheer confidence and approachability.
Keep in mind that hiring managers are quite the stickler for the interpersonal skills we took you through. Candidates lacking these would not really catch their attention. The more likable you are – the better your chances of functioning in a team.
And this is what makes interpersonal skills crucial for employment. It is not uncommon for these interpersonal – or rather- employability skills – to become the decisive factor of hiring when it comes to two equally qualified candidates.
Most companies are fine-tuning their recruitment policies, with the hire-for-attitude approach being the basis for this recalibration. So, you better buck up and keep up with the times!