Four Key Interpersonal Skills for Better Relationships
The nicest people in our lives have interpersonal skills in abundance. They are attributes that make the toughest requests reasonable, the toughest situations bearable and the scary challenges that we face seem exciting. Below we look at four of the most powerful interpersonal skills for high performing teams and better working relationships that endure.
Think about the people you work with and their abilities, qualities and achievements. These things are worthy of admiration. When you respect someone, you convey that sense regardless of their position and experience, or yours. Most importantly perhaps, respect is a foundation from which other interpersonal skills flourish.
Empathy is understanding your counterpart’s feelings by putting ourselves in their shoes. By demonstrating care and concern for the situations and emotions of others, we are better able to connect with them. Understanding others at more profound level helps, for example what makes them happy, helps us to lead and inspire them.
Besides that, in situations that cause stress or conflict, empathy helps us to be attentive to the emotions of others and acknowledge their feelings.
By really listening, giving them the satisfaction of being heard and showing we understand, we can defuse and de-escalate the toughest situations.
It’s not what you say, but the way that you say it or so the saying goes. Non-verbal cues are the way we say it. They help to layer our communication and provide plenty of additional information. Movement and body language indicate our levels of confidence or decisiveness. Facial expressions convey our feelings.
Gestures help us to deliver our message and emphasise key information. While eyes are the window to the soul and making eye contact holds attention and strengthens the rapport we have with others.
Conversely, crossed arms, a slouched posture and no eye contact can leave us with negative impressions.
Assertive (Not Aggressive)
Assertive behaviour differs from aggressive behaviour as it is collaborative rather than domineering. When we speak assertively, we strike a balance between promoting our own needs without making the person we are speaking to feel like they are wrong. By doing so, we are more able to build trusting relationships in the workplace.
If we become offensive or insult others, it drives others away because such behaviour is aggressive.
Respect, Empathy, Non-verbal Skills and Assertiveness are key interpersonal skills that help us to perform and play nice.