3 Tips for Strengthening Your Interpersonal Skills

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Interpersonal skills are key to a functioning team and will serve you well all the way through the hiring process to submitting a project on time.

Although it may seem like most ¨people skills¨ may come naturally, in reality those most important to success – especially business success –  do not come naturally for most people. Yet your business success depends on them!

1. Trusting Your Team

While trust is not exactly an interpersonal skill, it is a result of effective people skills. To have successful relationships in the office, whether, between manager and employee or colleague to colleague, trust is a major factor.

Being empathetic, nurturing common interests, and spending time together outside of work can help grow trust among your team. Look for the commonalities in non-work related activities and interests between team members; you might be surprised with what you find!

Another aspect, admittedly more difficult, involves facing conflict head on. Avoid taking on the role of peacemaker and instead find the courage to encourage workmates to be open with each other and engage in active dialogue around questions, doubts and day-to-day communications.

Lead by example and encourage honesty in your team, where each member feels safe to speak up.

2. Active Listening

Being an active listener can strengthen the trust between your team, as well as cut down on wasted time and errors in the office.

Active listeners must seek to catch the verbal and nonverbal messages communicated by coworkers by giving full attention to those speaking:

  • Reflect on what a team member has said and acknowledge the emotions they’re expressing. Remain non-judgmental and always empathetic.
  • Ask more questions and allow them to elaborate. Often we ask questions without giving others adequate time to form a thoughtful response.
  • Check your body language cues: Are you slumping over or avoiding eye contact? Are you showing signs of impatience?

Acknowledging even the slightest details can go a long way in building relationships and make employees feel valued.

3. Personal Presentation

How you carry yourself in a professional setting can affect relationships, projects and the outcome of daily tasks.

  • Be aware of your mood and actively work to be positive — even on days when you’re feeling less than great; if one person is down in the dumps, it can bring the whole team down.
  • Show gratitude to partners when they help you out and cheer on your co-workers when they accomplish their goals! Acknowledging the achievements of others in your team can have a strong effect on the whole group.
  • Another aspect of the personal presentation is stress management. Understanding what causes your stress and figuring out the best way to manage it will lead to more productivity.
  • Finally, with all situations in life, it is important to learn from your mistakes.  Reflect on past projects, meetings, etc. and figure out what worked and what didn’t.

Even in your successes try to learn what things you can improve.

How are you strengthening interpersonal skills in your team? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Or get in touch to learn about our customized Interpersonal Communication Trainings.

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