- According to Forbes, 69% of American workers feel that they have the skills with which they can compete with the world in various sectors. In the same way, only 46% of them believe that they have competencies and skills that can make them sustain even 10 years from now
- Lynn Taylor says that good people skills will help in maximizing effective and productive human interaction especially when technology becomes more and more prevalent
Importance of Interpersonal Skills in today’s business world
Interpersonal communication involves the face-to-face exchange of thoughts, views, ideas, and opinions, etc. between two or more people. It may include both the verbal or written elements of personal interaction. Interpersonal skills are the traits that people rely on while communicating and interacting with others. They cover a large room where communication, cooperation, and sharing are essential.
These skills involve the ability of the people to build relationships with others, and therefore it is mainly a skill. Such skills might be inherited from previous generations or can be learned through past experiences. These skills tend to incorporate both innate personality traits of an individual and how he/she has learned to handle certain social situations. Effective interpersonal skills can help an individual grow personally and professionally.
Some examples of interpersonal skills are as follows
- Active listening even in noisy places
- Teamwork with the diverse workforce
- Bearing the responsibility of a particular job
- How dependent a person is while doing his/her job?
- Leadership even in the challenging situation
- Self-motivation and motivation to others when things go wrong
- How flexible one’s daily schedule is?
- The level of patience in an individual when success is not achieved instantly
- The courage and dedication towards his/her job
Why interpersonal skill is is so important?
Interpersonal skills are all about managing people in a way that they work effectively without any conflict. The skill is essential to build trust, cooperation and a better future with the people we surround with. More often, employers from most of the companies hire candidates based on how strong his/her interpersonal skill is.
Employers usually like those candidates who are hard-working, honest, soft-spoken and humble. Employers also believe that these skills are essential in an individual, although they might not be very talented. The better soft skill in an individual today makes them more prepared in the future.
Business work involves a lot of communication. Many jobs within the workplace include collaboration and interaction with different types of people. Therefore, interpersonal skills are vital to make them happen. Even if the person is a technical supervisor, he repeatedly needs to suggest workers so that they can perform better.
IT personnel also need to motivate, lead and collaborate his team members to ensure better output and productivity at each stage. Hence, excellent technical capabilities alone are not enough to get an excellent job in a reputed organization. Employers always look for how a person will suit in a challenging environment through his actions, words, and behaviour.
Here are some of the ways how one can improve their interpersonal skill
1. Practice empathy
Individuals need to understand and identify others’ emotions or feelings in stressful situations. We need to imagine ourselves in someone else’s position. That will help in communicating our thoughts and ideas in a way that is more meaningful and sensible to others. In a way, it helps to understand others when they communicate. To develop empathy, we need to practice listening to our friends without interrupting them in the middle. It is essential that we quickly do not judge others’ from their actions and behaviours.
2. Cultivate a positive attitude and work environment
People always want to surround someone who has positive thoughts, behaviours, and actions. Positive attitudes should forever remain even if there is a crisis or difficult situation in the company. A positive attitude doesn’t mean being incredibly social but building a pleasant working environment. We need to build up an environment where there is a collaboration among people, and they feel very comfortable while sharing problems.
3. Recognize others’ expertise
Building trust at the workplace is essential primarily when the company focuses on teamwork. One of the proper ways of building trust is by knowing and valuing their skills. In a team, each others’ opinions must be respected so that there is no hesitation while sharing ideas. We can evaluate others’ ideas and expertise by asking for their help on specific tasks and projects. When the workforce is diverse from different backgrounds and cultures, they will have a variety of opinions. Such opinions must be analyzed and considered so that there is better performance in the future.
4. Become self-aware
It is the process to recognize one’s feelings, emotions, strengths, limitations, weaknesses, and how these affect others who surround us. This skill is challenging to develop. However, by developing such skills, one can act more thoughtfully or analytically. The person who keeps the record of his daily dairy can identify himself better. The information will become very helpful in understanding our emotions and reactions so that it becomes easier to work towards self-regulation. The generation of feedback is another essential way to improve an individual. Feedback is very crucial to know how others perceive us, which helps us to target unhelpful reactions.
5. Handle difficult people
People have diverse opinions and personalities. Some people are unable to fit in the team space. However, we must handle such people and convince him regarding the conditions, terms, and policies of the company. This type of issue can frequently emerge in the company and disrupt the whole team. Such people need to be identified, and they must be treated logically rather than showing power and providing them with punishment. Control and discipline might demotivate them further to join the team and work for the betterment of the company. Sometimes, such actions might go in the reverse direction if trying to act immediately.
6. Become mindful of body language
It is essential to identify which body language signifies what. Some-body languages might imply negative communication signals. Examples of such body language include hunched shoulders, hands in pockets and looking down. Such type of body language suggests that the person has no such confidence in what he/she is saying. Folded arms might indicate that the speaker is not open to others’ ideas. Similarly, pointing fingers while speaking might looking defensive. Our body language should suggest that we are engaged and open to newer ideas and possibilities.
Big 5 personality traits for Interpersonal Skills
1. Openness to experience
This trait helps us to know whether an individual is imaginative and insightful or not. People who are high in this trait have a high range of interest, curiosity and far-sighted vision. Such characteristics are essential to building up leadership qualities in an individual. People with such traits enjoy while learning new experiences and share new ideas in groups. Such people are very creative who try to figure out the problems and identify the solutions as soon as possible. On the other hand, people who are low in this trait often find difficulties with their abstract way of thinking.
The feature of this trait includes a high level of thoughtfulness and goal-directed behaviours. People with such characters try to control negativity, excitement, and egos so that their actions do not go in the reverse direction. These people tend to be well organized because they believe in pre-planning and are more conscious regarding their time management. They often like to spend their time productively and therefore finish essential tasks right away. However, the one with low in this trait prefers solitude and feels exhausted, even when having to do simple tasks.
This trait is categorized by excitability, talkativeness, sociability and emotional expressiveness. People who are high in this trend tend to love the outer atmosphere and share their energy with friends and relatives. They usually gain strength through social situations. These people often like to do parties and outings to enjoy their moments with their friends or relatives. They typically feel energized and excited when they are around other people. Opposite of that, people who are low in this trait tend to be reserved and have less time and energy for social gatherings.
This trait involves pro-social behaviours such as trust, altruism, kindness, and affections. Agreeableness peoples tend to be loving, caring and co-operative. They feel empathy and concern for other people. They like to serve the society where they live in and believe in a kind and open-hearted. Therefore, they contribute some part of their belongings/profit to other people and feel satisfaction while helping others. In the same way, those who are low in this trait take very little interest in others because they are more self-centric and self-loving. They rarely care about others’ troubles, problems, and feelings.
This trait is mainly characterized by sadness, moodiness and emotional instability. People experience mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and sadness if they have a high level of neuroticism. They are unable to manage ups and downs in their life and do not accept reality so quickly. These people worry a lot on many different topics, get upset soon and experience a lot of stress. On the other hand, those with low in this trait tend to be emotionally stable and can quickly deal with stress. They feel more relaxed and try to handle even stressful situations by being calm and patient.
Why are the big five personality traits essential to developing interpersonal skills?
Big 5 personality traits are remarkably universal, according to McCrae and his colleagues. A study was conducted where people from 50 different cultures were examined and analyzed. The study found out that the significant 5 personality developments could be used accurately to describe people’s personalities. Many scientists still believe that big five personality dimensions also have biological origins, along with being universal. Psychologist David Buss has explained that these personality traits represent the essential qualities that help in shaping our social landscape.
Five personality traits provide a measure of individuals’ attitudes and behaviour. It makes us aware of our strengths and weaknesses and helps to build up better interpersonal skills. These personality traits not only make an individual professionally aware but also help in strengthening their personal lives too.
These days’ corporate sectors experience workforce diversity, and cooperation between each member of the team is essential. Therefore, knowledge of personality traits is necessary for employees as well as managers or lower-level staff. If we look in a way, employees need to understand the psychology of their managers and vice-versa. Communication and leadership skills, team management and motivation among team members are only possible if we are aware of their personality and can respond in a better way.
The table below shows the top 10 most In-Demand Soft skills
|Demand in (%)
The above figure shows the graphical presentation of the top 10 most in-demand soft skills. The most demanded soft skill is communication with 57.9%. A person must speak fluently and express his/her words in clearly in a better tone. Communication skills are mostly checked by the interviewer while hiring someone for a particular job. If the person can make his/her first impression through his communication skills, it is most likely that he/she will be respected in that particular job.
Other skills such as communication, teamwork, punctuality, critical thinking, social skills, creativity, adaptability, interpersonal communication and friendly personality are something which an employee needs to build up slowly and gradually after he/she is hired for a job.
A single individual may not possesses every capability. Therefore, these skills are built up slowly and gradually with the experience of an employee. Moreover, organizations must focus on providing emotional intelligence training to employees from time to time.