What are Interpersonal Skills?

Aug 7, 2023

Interpersonal skills, referred to as "soft skills", "relational skills", or "social skills", include all skills we use in working with the people around us.

Imagine two people working together on a project over many months. Can you list all the skills that might be needed for them to work together?

List of Interpersonal Skills:

  • active listening,
  • empathy,
  • emotional intelligence,
  • self-regulation,
  • effective communication (written and oral),
  • building trust,
  • respectfully disagreeing,
  • relationship repair and conflict management,
  • giving and receiving feedback,
  • collaboration,
  • project management,
  • leadership skills and more.

You can see that this list includes both self-management skills and other-management or relationship management skills.

Interpersonal skills are at play any time you are working with others.

Early-career employees:

If you are very early in your career, you would use your technical skills a lot more.

Your interactions at work may be restricted to working with a manager and a mentor. If your interpersonal skills are not great, you may not see the impact of it immediately.

However, your first promotion might already require you to have a good relationship with your manager and other decision makers.

Also, great interpersonal skills always elevate your career, even if you are just starting out - so the return on your investment to improve interpersonal skills is strong

Beyond the frontline roles:

If you are leading projects or leading a team, interpersonal skills are what will make you effective.

For those aspiring to reach executive ranks, honing interpersonal skills is paramount.

These skills are what enable a frontline employee to get their first leadership opportunity and then grow their influence and impact.

Executives are not just responsible for overseeing technical operations but also for shaping organizational culture, leading diverse teams, and making strategic decisions.

Strong interpersonal skills enable executives to inspire and motivate teams, negotiate, build partnerships, and navigate high-stakes situations gracefully.

Interpersonal skills > Technical skills:

A person with adequate technical skills and great interpersonal skills will always grow faster in their career, compared to a person with outstanding technical skills but average interpersonal skills.

A person with strong interpersonal skills can walk confidently into any room, connect with others, influence/persuade/lead people and leave a lasting impression.

If you are interested in growing to the executive ranks, it's time to start mastering interpersonal skills.

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