How Can You Develop Interpersonal Skills At Work?
In recent years, interpersonal skills have grown in popularity in the business world, with more and more organizations adding them to their employee training programs. And with good reason, since advanced interpersonal skills can help employees perform better as well as support the optimization of the corporate culture. But how can employees go about bettering their people skills and fast-tracking their professional development? This article explores 7 ways to improve interpersonal skills, whether you are a leader, manager, or employee.
7 Tips To Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
1. Assess Your Relationships And Set Goals
The fact that you are thinking about improving your interpersonal skills must mean you have noticed that your daily interactions with your coworkers could be better. Perhaps you’re not getting your point across as effectively as you’d like or want to know more about handling conflict. It’s best to take your time in this assessment stage and explore all ways in which your interactions could improve. Once you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie, set some goals to stay on track. You can utilize the SMART framework to monitor your progress and stay motivated until you achieve your goals.
2. Observe Successful Interactions
Although interpersonal skills are certainly trainable, that doesn’t mean they don’t come naturally to many. If some of these “gifted” individuals exist in your work environment, don’t pass up the opportunity to learn from their successful interactions. Observe how they communicate and collaborate with their team members and try to identify the qualities that you could develop yourself to become a better communicator. You can also discuss your goals for interpersonal skill improvement with these colleagues so that they can give you valuable feedback and advice.
3. Seek Out A Mentor
As we mentioned in the previous point, asking for advice from a coworker can significantly help you improve your interpersonal skills. Why not take it a step further and ask them to become your mentor? Together, you can identify any weaknesses and figure out how to overcome them by practicing and exchanging feedback. If you’re not comfortable with a colleague being your mentor, you can seek out advice from an external coach. An experienced professional will be able to help you hone your communication skills effectively and build your self-confidence through role-playing scenarios that take place in a safe environment.
4. Attend Workshops
The major way in which they affect professional development and success has led to the creation of many interpersonal skills workshops. There, you can listen to experienced professionals share their priceless insights and practice your skills in groups. If you’re looking for a more flexible solution, online classes might be your best choice. From the comfort of your computer or smartphone and at any time and location that works best for you, you can access online classes and videos that will help you develop your interpersonal skills.
5. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness, as a cognitive skill, refers to our ability to be fully present and aware of what we are doing at a given moment. In the context of interpersonal skills, this translates to actively listening to the person we are interacting with, giving them our full attention, and trying to understand their underlying emotions. This skill can greatly improve your interpersonal skills, as it makes you less reactive and allows you time to regulate your emotions in any situation. For example, it can help you remain calm when dealing with an angry client.
6. Stay True To Who You Are
With all this information about learning how to improve your interpersonal skills, you might get confused and think that you have to change who you are in order to communicate more effectively. That is not true. In fact, being disingenuous and distancing yourself from your values will have adverse effects. What you need to do instead is find which of your personality qualities you can enhance while staying true to yourself and sticking to your values. This way, you will boost your credibility and trustworthiness, improving your relationships with your coworkers.
7. Revisit And Modify
If you want to maintain your progress, you will have to pause and reflect from time to time. Similarly to the first step of this process, you will take account of your professional relationships and assess how far you have come and what more you believe can be improved. Examine your strategies and learning techniques, and decide which ones have been working for you and which ones must change. You might even consider modifying your goals as your interpersonal skills develop. Make sure to add a reminder every few months so that you stay consistent, and it’s certain your skills will continuously evolve.
Improving your interpersonal skills is crucial if you want to lead a successful career. Besides, our interactions with our colleagues and superiors take up a large part of our workday. There are various ways to develop your communication skills, some of which we explored in this article. By being organized, observant, leveraging your resources, and practicing mindfulness, you will manage to get out of your comfort zone and become a more effective communicator.