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Interpersonal skills: definition, list and how to improve them

Interpersonal skills are competencies increasingly valued by employers and by most recruiters who consider them more critical even than technical...
26 July 2022

Interpersonal skills are competencies increasingly valued by employers and by most recruiters who consider them more critical even than technical skills, especially when it comes to building efficient work teams and improving the basis of internal and external communication. 

This is the compelling reason why we have decided to address this topic in detail and explain to you what interpersonal skills are, how they can be improved, and what types are the most appreciated

What are interpersonal skills?

Interpersonal skills, also known as transversal competencies or soft skills, are the individual abilities and social skills that a person has when interacting with others, promoting stable links in a given context. 

Thanks to them, if you are in charge of a selection process, you will be able to know a candidate’s capacity to interact with the company’s team or with other interlocutors or also to support the professional development of your employees.

This is why you should consider them with training and professional experience. 

How to improve interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are learned competencies, so it is possible to train them. To do this, you must follow three steps:

  • Recognize the person’s competencies. 
  • Identify the skills that need to be developed.
  • Take the necessary steps to improve them through specific training or coaching. 

Since interpersonal skills depend to a great extent on communication, we want to talk to you about four keys with which you can enhance solid interpersonal relationships in your teams.

Interpersonal skills: definition, list and how to improve them

Knowing how to communicate your wishes

Do not wait for others to guess what you expect from them or from a specific situation; express clearly and concisely what you want them to do or your expectations. 

Remember your fundamental rights and those of your interlocutor, as explained in the next point. 

Know your fundamental rights

The basic rights of all communication guarantee improvement in interpersonal relationships. Specifically, they are: 

  • To have the ability to change one’s mind. 
  • To express criticism or emotions respectfully and constructively..
  • Ask for more information if you have doubts. 
  • Respond to questions from the rest of the team.

Remember that others also have these rights you must respect, just as you must respect your own.

Counteracting conflicts at their source

It is about learning to point out a behavior that may have bothered you in another person, but without accusatory attitudes or disqualifying adjectives. 

When faced with a specific situation, express how it makes you feel or what the fault is that you have noticed and, as far as possible, provide solutions. 

Listen actively

In any environment, practicing active listening without interpreting is essential. 

It may seem obvious, but not listening attentively to the other person is one of the leading causes of conflicts and misunderstandings, according to specialists. 

On the other hand, this skill allows you to be fully aware in a conversation. In turn, this will dispose your interlocutor to listen to you attentively when you intervene. 

How to improve interpersonal skills?

Types of interpersonal skills most valued in the job market

The list of interpersonal skills is extensive, and most complement each other. 

At this point, we want to talk about some of the most valued in the professional field with some examples that illustrate them. 

Communication and active listening are strategic, but as we discussed them a few lines ago, we will now focus on these other six:

  1. Decision making.
  2. Flexibility.
  3. Teamwork. 
  4. Empathy. 
  5. Planning. 
  6. Leadership. 

Let’s look at the importance of these interpersonal skills in detail.

Decision making

Decision-making is the ability to find solutions even under pressure or in the most demanding contexts. 

It requires a certain level of self-demand and critical thinking to analyze a situation and execute a plan. 

Flexibility

Adapting to change in an ever-changing world is an increasingly necessary quality. 

This competence is typical of people who, thanks to their experience and personal background – in other companies or other situations – know how to adapt to new contexts, even outside their comfort zone.

list of the most valued interpersonal skills in the job market

Teamwork

This competence ensures that projects are developed in a harmonious and efficient collaborative environment. It involves patience, understanding, responsibility, and availability.

Empathy

Empathy is closely linked to effective communication and is based on understanding others by putting yourself in their shoes. 

Understanding the needs of a client or members of another department specialized in other areas is essential. 

It is becoming increasingly relevant due to the rise of remote relationships and remote collaborative projects.

Planning and results orientation

Small gestures such as respecting project deadlines, being punctual, or meeting commitments in terms of results orientation speak of a trusted professional.

Leadership

It refers to managing or leading a group of people with effective communication. 

A good leader must be able to motivate and enhance the skills of their teams, in addition to acting as a mediator in case of conflict. 

One of the best ways to assess these skills in your employees or candidates is online tests, such as tests based on the DISC theory that identifies four interpersonal communication styles: dominant, influential, serene, and compliant. 

If you are thinking of testing interpersonal relationships or want to enhance your teams’ skills through training, with our proctoring products you can do it in a safe, accessible, and fair way through an online supervision tool respectful of the candidate. Request your free demo!

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