Paths to success through 21st century skills - Interpersonal skills and team spirit

In "Paths to success through 21st century skills", we debrief the importance of "Interpersonal skills and team spirit" and ways to improve them

In this edition of "Paths to success through 21st century skills", we debrief the importance of "Interpersonal skills and team spirit" and ways to improve them.

Hardly any of us could survive without interpersonal skills. It is one of those vital skills everyone would possess to some degree but improving them could greatly help, if you are not already good at it, in many aspects of our lives - whether it is our professional career or personal life.

What are interpersonal skills?

Enough said, then what are interpersonal skills? In short, it is people skills or soft skills - how well you communicate, relate and get along with others. There are many types of interpersonal skills, someone with great interpersonal skills will be able to make others listen to what they speak, have good listening skills, have empathy, can negotiate easily, are socially assertive, have ability to handle conflicts, ability to collaborate with others and have a positive attitude.

When it comes to the workplace, this is one of the vital skills every employer will look forward to, whether it is software engineering, manufacturing or sales roles. Hence improving them is of utmost importance. Well, then how do we improve?

How to improve interpersonal skills?

"Indeed", one of the most prominent human resource source portals in the world, has laid out ways to improve interpersonal skills.

  1. Establish your goals: Set up a meaningful goal, identify your strengths and weaknesses and see what you need to improve to achieve. Develop goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based.

  2. Observer successful interactions: Observing people who are good at it. Example, observe someone who is great at interacting with team members, supervisors, customers or clients - observe their tone, gesture, or word choice in a particular situation.

  3. Solicit feedback: Whether you are working with a mentor or in a group training environment, try asking for feedback on your interpersonal skills if it makes sense to do so. Try asking specific questions about scenarios and interactions to help you progress as effectively as possible.

  4. Reflect and modify: Periodically pause to reflect on your interpersonal skill growth and development.

  5. Identify ways to practice: Brainstorm ways to practice your own skills and abilities. You might seek a mentor for developing your interpersonal skills, for example, and ask that person to engage in exercises such as role-play scenarios. If you find a mentor, you might also ask them to provide feedback on your interpersonal skills.

  6. Self-regulate: Being mindful and in charge of your own emotions can be a powerful interpersonal skill in the workplace.

  7. Negotiate effectively: Understanding how to negotiate differences between individuals can be an important way to improve interpersonal skills. You may be able to use this personally and resolve potential disagreements with others using carefully chosen language.

  8. Offer empathy: Showing compassion and understanding is another good way to improve your interpersonal skills. Try gracefully mirroring others’ ideas to show you're interested in them and that you understand their perspective. This can help support more pleasant and productive interaction.

  9. Practice active listening: Sometimes, people will plan their next comment when their conversation partner is speaking which might cause them to miss information they are trying to convey. Try to practice active listening as an interpersonal skill. This means seeking to understand the other person before responding to their thoughts with your own, and showing that you are listening by using visual cues such as facial expressions and well-timed nods.

  10. Stay positive: A positive outlook would boost your interpersonal skills by setting a pleasant tone for your interactions.