Interpersonal skills are traits you rely on when you interact and communicate with others. They cover a variety of scenarios where communication and cooperation are essential.

In a work environment, strong interpersonal skills are an asset that can help you navigate complexity, change and day-to-day tasks.

Why are interpersonal skills important?

Strong interpersonal skills can help you during the job interview process as interviewers look for applicants who can work well with others. They will also help you succeed in almost any job by helping you understand other people and adjusting your approach to work together effectively. This is especially true as more companies implement collaborative agile frameworks to get work done. Employers will be looking for workers who can both perform technical tasks with excellence and communicate well with colleagues.

Some examples of interpersonal skills include:

  • Active listening

Active listening means listening to others with the purpose of gathering information and engaging with the speaker. Active listeners avoid distracting behaviours while in conversation with others. This can mean putting away or closing laptops or mobile devices while listening and asking and answering questions when prompted.

  • Teamwork

The ability to work together as a team is extremely valuable in every workplace. Teamwork involves many other interpersonal skills like communication, active listening, flexibility and responsibility. Those who are good ‘team players’ are often given important tasks in the workplace and may be seen as good candidates for promotions.

  • Dependability

Dependable people can be relied on in any given situation. This can include anything from being punctual to keeping promises. Employers highly value dependable workers and trust them with important tasks and duties.

  • Leadership

Leadership is an important interpersonal skill that involves effective decision making. Effective leaders incorporate many other interpersonal skills like empathy and patience to make decisions. Leadership skills can be used by both managers and individual contributors. In any role, employers value people who take ownership to reach common goals

  • Empathy

A worker’s ‘emotional intelligence’ is how well they understand the needs and feelings of others. Employers may hire empathetic or compassionate employees to create a positive, high-functioning workplace.

Few other examples of interpersonal skills may also include Responsibility, Flexibility, Motivation and Patience.

During the job application and interview phase, you can highlight your interpersonal skills on your resume and your cover letter. After you are hired, you should continue to maintain your skills and develop new ones.