Interpersonal Skills: What Are They and How Can You Improve Them?

Having ‘good interpersonal skills’ is a near-ubiquitous requirement you’ll see on person specifications for all sorts of roles, but what exactly does it mean? In this article, we will take a look at what interpersonal skills are and the steps you can take to make improvements in this all-important area.

What are interpersonal skills? 

Interpersonal skills, also commonly known as people skills or soft skills, are the traits and behaviours you exhibit when interacting with other people. This umbrella term covers a wide range of skills and attributes, from the ability to lead others and work effectively as part of a team, to being a good communicator, listening attentively and having a positive outlook.

When employers want to fill a role, there will always be some balance between the technical and interpersonal skills they are looking for. For roles such as data analysts, software developers, statisticians and other jobs where the individual will spend a lot of time working independently, an individual’s technical skills will usually carry more weight. 

In other occupations such as sales roles, public relations and customer service positions, interpersonal skills will usually be more important than technical skills, but there’ll almost always be some requirement for both.   

Examples of good interpersonal skills

If you come across a job advertisement that asks for someone with good interpersonal skills, the person specification will usually expand on this and provide more detail about exactly what the employer is looking for. For example:

  • A positive attitude 

Negativity in the workplace affects engagement, productivity and the morale of the workforce, which is why a positive outlook is one of the most sought-after interpersonal skills among UK employers. Employers want new hires that have a can-do attitude, are engaged and will make the office a brighter place.

  • A good communicator

Being able to communicate clearly, verbally and in writing is an important requirement for many roles. At the very least, you should be able to make yourself understood. However, certain roles will require a far higher level of communication skills, with friendliness, confidence and the ability to adapt your communication style to your audience all important attributes.

  • Leadership skills

Leadership tends to be a skill we associate with managerial positions, and while it is essential for those who are directly responsible for others, it can also be valuable for those who work as part of a team. Being able to take the lead on a project could be a skill that gets you earmarked for promotion.

  • A good team worker

To be a good team worker, you don’t have to be the most popular person in the workplace, but you do have to be able to collaborate with colleagues and clients effectively. Good team workers are those who are good listeners, take responsibility, communicate effectively and value other people’s opinions.

Brush up on your interpersonal skills

Some people are very reluctant to change, but just as your technical skills can be improved, so can your interpersonal skills. If you feel like your interpersonal skills are holding you back, you should identify areas of weakness and work on improving them. 

Self-analysis is never easy, so asking friends, family members and colleagues for the areas they think you could improve on can be eye-opening. There are also interpersonal skills tests you can take online that will help you identify the skills that you can develop. 

Once you’ve identified the areas that are letting you down, there are online and offline courses you can take to improve your interpersonal skills. Alternatively, you can consciously put yourself in situations where the skills you want to improve will be required. For example, volunteer to lead projects or work as part of a team whenever the opportunity arises. 

Apply for bilingual roles across the UK

At Linguistica Translation and Recruitment, we can help you find bilingual roles across the south coast of England, from linguistic roles to customer service positions with interpersonal skills at their core. Apply online or submit your CV today.