When you envision workplace success, what comes to mind?
Superior productivity? Financial gain? Technical proficiency? They can all be part of success on the job but the foundation actually lies in something else. Interpersonal skills, or social skills, enable us to work with all types of people, including co-workers, executives, clients, and vendors. These critical abilities are what allow us to develop relationships with others, and that is the true key to long-term workplace success. In an environment filled with different types of people who each have their own personalities and communication styles, possessing strong social skills will enable you to excel over the long haul.
Here are five essential interpersonal skills tips that everyone can use to develop strong, healthy workplace relationships.
1. Seek to understand the feelings and perspectives of others.
When you have empathy, people can sense that you appreciate them and how they are feeling and we all seek to be understood. When people tell you about something important, do your best to put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their position. How would you want someone to respond? What would you hope they would do for you?
2. Cultivate a positive attitude.
We all have less-than-wonderful days every now and then but no one wants to be around a chronic complainer. A positive attitude means being generally cheerful in your interactions with others and showing appreciation for your colleagues. Maintaining a positive attitude will enhance many aspects of your work and your personal life. For instance, it will help you become more flexible, resilient, and will allow you to better cope with pressure and stress. Cultivate positivity by reminding yourself every day of the good things about your life and your job. Other tactics include becoming more aware of negative thinking and self-talk; spending time with people who also have a positive outlook; practicing gratitude; and giving yourself time to rest and recharge when needed.
3. Hone your cooperation skills.
Working well with others is an essential element of good workplace interpersonal skills. While each employee has their own tasks and responsibilities, everyone in the organization also has a larger goal, which is to help the company be successful. When cooperation is lacking the workplace becomes tense and unpleasant, and it’s unlikely that any company can succeed when this is the internal landscape. You can foster a cooperative spirit in others by ensuring that each person understands what is expected of them. In group projects and when collaborating with others, create a safe space for sharing by ensuring that everyone has a platform to express their thoughts and ideas.
4. Be respectful.
It’s well known that respect can go a long way in fostering positive relationships and work environments. Respect includes being polite, exhibiting courtesy, and never attacking or insulting others. When someone is speaking, listen and don’t interrupt. If you have something to say, wait until they have finished speaking before you respond. Always be respectful of others’ ideas and opinions even when they differ from yours. And if you are in a leadership position, be sure to show your appreciation for employees’ efforts and time.
5. Practice active listening.
Active listening means being fully engaged and completely focused on the person speaking. When a colleague is speaking to you, put your phone or work down and give them your undivided attention. Your body language can show that you are listening, so be sure to maintain eye contact, lean forward, and nod occasionally to let them know that you are truly interested in what they are saying. When you practice active listening, not only will it improve your recall, but the speaker will appreciate your attention. And by actively listening to other viewpoints in the workplace (and in our personal lives), it helps us learn and grow as people. It allows us to expand our minds by considering new ideas.
Regardless of your industry, interpersonal skills are important. Like any skill, the best way to master it is by actively practicing it every day.
For 25 years, The HR Team has been helping organizations excel in their human resources efforts and we would be honored to work with your company, too. Please reach out to our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/