According to many HR officials, interpersonal skills are often the standard that separates acceptable managers from their horrendous counterparts. If one possesses useful skills in this field, it can make one a capable team player and, a contributor to a positive organisational environment. Communication skills, cooperation and empathy are the core fundamentals to develop strong relations with clients, co-workers or subordinates. Therefore, the importance of being proficient in interpersonal skills is paramount.
In a more segregated spectrum, interpersonal skills can be categorised into ten parts namely confidence, work ethic, relationship management, receptiveness to feedback, body language, listening, collaboration, showing appreciation, positive attitude and workplace etiquette. Every single one of these traits is significant in an organisational environment and need to be honed on a regular basis.
Let us talk about self-confidence, which happens to be the critical element in being recognised. Self-confidence is mandatory at every stage of one's career or business. This trait can make or break a promotion, get or lose a contract, separate the successful from the unsuccessful. Employers feel that self-confidence not only opens many doors to a person but also allows a person to deal with challenging situations with more ease and also enables them to set and achieve new goals. Anyone with self-confidence is taken seriously. So whether it is a new startup, or the pursuit of a job or promotion, having confidence is crucial. Honing this trait is a prerequisite to maintaining it. Continuously flushing out the self-doubt from oneself is the first and most vital step in achieving and perpetually honing self-confidence.
Equally crucial for any employee in the workplace is work ethic. This trait can be further sub-categorised into professionalism, respectfulness and dependability. Professionalism incorporates everything from how one dresses to how one treats other in different situations. Maintaining professionalism means staying updated continuously on how one should greet others or dress. A lot of variations occur in professionalism in different regions and time periods. Honing this trait means being well informed about how to stay professional. Respectfulness is necessary everywhere, not just in an organisational environment. No matter how twisted a situation may get, maintaining one's poise and diplomacy is a must. Otherwise, it can cause catastrophic consequences to a work environment. Therefore, anyone and everyone should always value others as people and respect their morals. Participating anywhere doing anything still maintain a mutual feeling of respect. Lastly, there is dependability. Employers and clients need to know whether one can keep their trust as employees or entrepreneurs.
Following suit is relationship management. Building relationships may be accomplished through self-confidence and work ethic, however managing those relationships is an entirely different ballgame. This is an essential skill at any organisational level. One must manage their relationships with almost all the stakeholders in their organisation to some extent. This ability allows building mutual trust which corresponds to long-term corporate relationships, something essential in today's dynamic business world.
Then comes receptiveness to feedback. Whenever anyone provides feedback, one must listen and sincerely try to take in what is being said, instead of trying to think of a response. Feedback should always be taken positively to improve one's efficiency and effectiveness. Great organisational environments are defined by the opportunity to provide feedback to anyone on the corporate hierarchy. People can master this trait by always taking any comment about their job, as a potential for improvement. The comment passed may have been illogical or unnecessary, but this mindset will help the implementation of genuinely good remarks.
A linked part of interpersonal skills to this is listening. If one fails to listen to whatever is being said to him, be it instructions or feedback, it will automatically have an adverse impact on the firm. Problems of coordination and duplication of effort may arise.
The next category is something often overlooked despite being one of the most critical aspects of interpersonal communication. Most of what we convey is perceived from the non-verbal part of our communication such as our tone, posture, eye contact etc. and as a result, body language is so important. Not letting personal emotions or problems from home reflect on one's body language is essential. Furthermore, one should keep their body language consistent with what they say in the workplace.
Other vital segments of interpersonal skills include collaboration, showing appreciation and maintaining a positive attitude. Although these may seem like obvious issues, they are often overlooked. In many cases, a conscious effort is necessary to manage these. These help boost and sustain motivation in the workplace, something paramount to get the most out of everyone in the firm.
Last but not the least is workplace etiquette. This may be a combination of all the previously mentioned aspects, but it still deserves mention. Punctuality, helping others, being polite etc. all fall under this category.
The writer is a first year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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