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Interpersonal skills in the workplace: 10 types and examples

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Interpersonal skills in the workplace are ways we talk to and get along with other people, like our colleagues, leaders and customers. These skills are essential for resolving issues, creating strong relationships and maintaining a positive atmosphere.

Below you’ll find a list of important interpersonal skills you can use in any job, along with practical tips for improving them.

10 types of interpersonal skills

1. Communication.

Being an effective communicator allows you to convey your thoughts clearly and respectfully through written and verbal formats. At work, this means you’re skilled at explaining your ideas through emails, messages and reports. It also means you do a good job talking about your ideas in meetings and when you give presentations.

Example: You provide constructive feedback to a coworker in a way that’s direct and respectful.

2. Active listening.

Active listening involves fully paying attention to what is being said. This skill ensures you are engaged in a conversation and understand the other person's point of view.

Example: You focus on the presenter, nod in agreement, ask follow-up questions and maintain eye contact.

3. Compassion.

Showing understanding and empathy toward colleagues fosters a supportive workplace culture. Compassion is about acknowledging others' struggles and offering support.

Example: You reach out to an overwhelmed coworker and offer to help with a project.

4. Teamwork.

Working well with others to hit common goals is very important in most jobs. This skill promotes a collaborative work environment, which leads to more efficiency.

Example: You collaborate with team members on a project and lean into everyone’s strengths to achieve the business’ goals.

5. Dependability.

When your team knows they can rely on you, it builds a solid foundation of trust. You become someone everyone can count on to get things done.

Example: You consistently meet deadlines and are trusted to complete important tasks at work.

6. Self-awareness.

Having a clear understanding of your strengths, weaknesses and emotions, and the impact of your actions on others is essential for professional growth. It also helps strengthen relationships with coworkers.

Example: You seek feedback from your leader on your performance and use it to improve your work.

7. Integrity.

Being honest and having a strong moral compass shows integrity in the workplace. This creates a trustworthy environment that fosters open communication and ethical decision making.

Example: You take ownership of a mistake you made and take immediate steps to correct it.

8. Responsiveness.

Replying to requests or concerns on time is very important in the workplace. This skill is crucial for maintaining good relationships with your team, customers and clients. It shows you care about their time and input.

Example: You quickly respond to an email from a client to address their concerns about a service offering.

9. Responsibility.

Taking responsibility involves being accountable for your actions and the tasks you are assigned. It shows that you can be trusted to manage your workload and contribute to the team's success without constant supervision.

Example: You update your leader about the progress of your tasks during a one-on-one meeting.

10. Flexibility.

Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changes and challenges in the workplace. This skill is important for dealing with unexpected situations and finding creative solutions to problems.

Example: You take on a different role in a team project when another coworker is out sick.

How to improve interpersonal skills at work

Developing interpersonal skills in the workplace is an ongoing process. It’s a continuous cycle of reflection that can significantly enhance your professional interactions and success.

Here are four practical tips to help you improve your interpersonal skills at work:

1. Schedule time to develop your interpersonal skills.

Whether you read relevant articles or take extra time to respond to emails, set aside 30 minutes once a week to grow your interpersonal skills. Making this a regular part of your routine helps integrate these skills more naturally into your daily interactions.

2. Build connections with your co-workers.

Set aside one hour once a quarter to get to know your colleagues better, even if it's just grabbing a coffee. If someone works remotely, schedule a virtual meeting to catch up. This will help develop trust and communication among your team.

3. Find a mentor to help you grow a specific skill.

If your leader is a strong communicator, ask them for advice. They can give you tips and feedback to help you improve your communication.

4. Be open to asking questions.

Asking questions helps clarify expectations and shows you're engaged in the conversation. Practice framing your questions clearly and try to actively listen to the answers you receive.

Sharpen your professional skillsets.

Discover the top areas of professional development you can focus on to grow your career. 
About the author
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Jenny Kennedy began her career at Schneider in 1992 after she graduated from The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.  She started on the customer service team and has held numerous job titles over the years.  Jenny is currently a Corporate Recruiter focused on finding top talent for Schneider's office roles.  When she's not working, Jenny enjoys camping, boating and traveling with her family.
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