There are a number of skills and behavioural attributes that we use in our day-to-day professional lives. For instance, the way we communicate with individuals and groups is essential for success in professional environments. It is these skills such as attentive listening, measured and articulated speech, written communication and emotional intelligence, that are collectively known as interpersonal skills, soft skills or behavioural skills.
People who are adept with their interpersonal skills gain an advantage in their endeavours and are able to perform better as individuals, team players, and in any role. A person with great interpersonal skills will build lasting and fruitful relations with colleagues, customers, suppliers and clients etc. That’s the reason why employers prefer to hire those with a good grasp of these soft skills.
Having said that, let’s take a look at the most sought-after behavioural skills that employers want in their employees:
Communication– Among the most important interpersonal skills is the ability to communicate effectively. No matter which industry you work in, you always need the ability to effectively converse and communicate with others. The communication skills are usually divided into two major parts:
Verbal communication – All spoken communication whether on phone, in person or in the form of audio/video messages or recordings, is known as the verbal communication.
Non-verbal communication – Non-verbal communication includes communication through gestures, facial expressions and written communication.
Conflict Management–Conflicts and disagreements are a part of the professional life. Whether you are the Senior manager or a staffer, there would be occasions when you would need to play the peacemaker between colleagues, and that’s where the ability of conflict management becomes a key interpersonal skill. Management would always appreciate people who can take charge and manage a crisis situation instead of letting it escalate.
Emotional Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is a set of skills that helps people manage relationships and situations through the ability of comprehending the scenario, empathising with others’ opinions and responding appropriately. Professional or personal lives, emotional intelligence will benefit you in both areas. The attributes of empathy or emotional intelligence include:
- Helping others
Leadership– Leadership is not just about management, but about the ability to encourage and guide others, and enabling team success. A person with leadership skills would be capable of building trust and mentoring and motivating others whenever needed.
Optimism – Employees are expected to not only perform the given duties, but also to contribute to the overall office culture and environment. People who are friendly, capable of teamwork and positive in behaviour are more likely to deliver greater success than gloomy or pessimistic people.
How Interpersonal skills can be useful at work
While being good at interpersonal skills is beneficial in almost every social and professional setting, there are certain jobs/roles which necessitate the mastery of such skills. For instance:
Healthcare – Doctors, Nurses, hospital attendants and other medical sector professionals need communication skills and empathy in their daily work. There could be the need to motivate or cheer a patient going for surgery, giving hope to the family members, or the sensitivity to deliver bad news to a family. Imagine how a rude, uncooperative or insensitive healthcare professional could appear to his/her patients.
Contact Centres – Customer service is a vertical that requires good communication skills, active listening abilities and a good emotional intelligence to deal with different scenarios. A person might call a customer care centre to report a problem or to seek assistance to resolve a problem online. In another scenario, a person might call the police control room to report a crime or threat. Similarly, there could be different types of customers/callers who need to be understood correctly even if they are themselves poor communicators and provided with the right and supportive response.
These are just two of the numerous professions such as teachers, media personnel, and even regular business management that require employees to master interpersonal skills. This ability leads to their career development and the overall organizational success with greater ease!