The social aspect is a main pillar in human development. Personal characteristics are strongly linked to the nature of previous relationships. On the other hand, maintaining good professional relationships helps build a favourable climate for business development as well as for the well-being of employees. In this article, we share practical tips for better interpersonal relationships at work.
What are interpersonal relationships?
Interpersonal relationships refer to interactions between two or more people who may have common interests in a family, work or personal setting.
In the professional context, interpersonal relationships refer to the ability to establish bonds based on trust and understanding of the other to accomplish expected results. Developing interpersonal relationships within a team involves taking into account the values, expectations and emotions of each member.
What are the criteria for a healthy interpersonal relationship?
The definition of a healthy interpersonal relationship depends on the level of satisfaction, which varies from person to person. However, a healthy interpersonal relationship can be said to exist when:
- There is an atmosphere of mutual respect between individuals;
- Communication is open and transparent;
- Problems are solved smoothly and collectively.
How important are interpersonal relationships?
The development of healthy interpersonal relationships at work brings benefits for both individual and corporate development. Moreover, this type of skill is part of the soft skills and personal qualities that have a considerable impact on the business environment.
At the level of individual development
- Improve well-being;
- Increase self-esteem;
- Reduce stress;
- Motivate yourself;
- Stimulate creativity;
- Express yourself freely;
At the business development level
- Strengthen employee commitment to the company;
- Improve productivity and quality;
- Develop mutual aid and exchange of skills;
- Reduce employee turnover;
- Stimulate growth and innovation;
- Optimize the decision process;
- Promote early conflict resolution;
What are the dimensions of interpersonal relationships?
Effective teamwork in terms of interpersonal relations is based on the complementarity between the various personalities and skills. This is why it is essential to identify the interpersonal skills of each person. In this respect, we can distinguish 4 dimensions of interpersonal relations: influence, interpersonal ease, emotional intelligence and leadership skills.
These are people who have a natural ability to influence and convince others. They have the facility to create new relationships and share knowledge with others. Employees of this type are often responsible for:
- Motivate the team during critical periods;
- Carry the word of the group;
- Negotiate with suppliers and clients.
Interpersonal fluency refers to the ability to adjust communication and behaviour to the personality of the other person. Individuals with this interpersonal skill can analyze emotions and decipher the ulterior motives of others.
Employees having good interpersonal skills can:
- Have a clear vision of the hidden issues behind the relationships within a team;
- Assess each person’s motivations;
- Support struggling colleagues;
- Resolve conflicts.
Emotionally intelligent employees master the art of communicating emotions through visuals or words. They can:
- Nurture strong human relationships with individuals they do not know;
- Conduct relevant discourse;
- Demonstrate empathy;
- Understand non-verbal communication (body language);
- Adapt their behaviour according to the needs of others and company regulations.
Managers who develop a sense of leadership can lead a group to achieve common goals. Their assignments include:
- Promote cooperation within the team;
- Mobilize employees for a specific project;
- Empower employees so as to increase their motivation;
- Manage talents optimally;
- Identify the human resources required to achieve objectives.
9 tips to improve your interpersonal relationships
- Know yourself
Self-awareness is an essential step in developing healthy interpersonal relationships. It is about identifying your own behaviour, your strengths, as well as those that need to be improved. By doing so, you will improve your self-confidence and know your limits. You will also be able to perceive others’ qualities, tolerate their faults and understand their needs
- Demonstrate confidence
Having confidence in yourself, your abilities and your values is important. This allows you to freely express your needs, set your limits and participate effectively in the interpersonal communication of your company.
- Develop active listening skills
Active listening is a basic principle in interpersonal relationships. During a conversation, we tend to prepare our next response as the other person is speaking. This attitude becomes more pronounced when we are in an argumentative position. Active listening counteracts this mechanism and helps us to interact appropriately with the other person.
Here are 3 fundamental techniques for developing active listening skills:
- Rephrasing: reiterate in your own words the key points expressed by the speaker to make sure that you have understood what he or she is saying.
- Questioning: ask targeted questions to clarify certain points.
- Empathy: take into consideration the situation of the person to whom you’re speaking and gauge their emotions. This allows you to gain their respect and trust, two essential elements for a constructive discussion.
- Recognize the qualities of others
Appreciating and valuing the expertise of colleagues fosters a climate of mutual trust and exchange of know-how.
- Cultivate a positive attitude
Whether it is a personal problem, an urgent task or an internal conflict, it is necessary to control your emotions and remain positive. This allows you to better manage the situation and avoid making it worse. Adopting an optimistic attitude helps to maintain motivation and team dynamics, even in difficult times.
- Manage conflicts with serenity
It is recommended that you step back and control your emotions. Once you have calmed down, you should immediately move on to resolve the conflict before it escalates.
- Using Nonviolent communication
Nonviolent communication (NVC) is a communication technique that focuses on empathy, sincerity and respect for others. It is particularly used in conflict management.
The nonviolent communication process is based on 4 principles:
- Observation without evaluation: it consists in acting according to concrete facts without value judgment. Generalized blame should be avoided. It is better to say, for example, “you are 10 minutes late” instead of “you are always late”. This step is designed to keep the other person open.
- Expressing needs and feelings: conflict is often the result of one or more unmet needs. Identifying your needs and feelings allows you to target the potential source of a relational tension.
- Make a request with sincerity: a request must be sincere and expressed with clear and positive language. Otherwise, it provokes resistance in the receiver.
- Receive with empathy: Before responding, make sure you understand the message of the person you are talking to. Empathy requires identifying with the other person in what they want and feel.
- Invest in the development of your team
In order to develop quality interpersonal communication and reinforce the cohesion between your collaborators, it is advised to:
- Encourage teamwork;
- Taking care of the social and personal life of the employees;
- Organize team building and other entertaining events (cultural events, sports competitions, group travel, etc.);
- Participate in soft skills training.
- Develop your emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to direct your thoughts and behaviour according to your own emotions and those of others. It allows you to:
- Recognize and control your emotions;
- Identify the emotions and needs of your conversational partner;
- Understand and analyze your verbal and body language;
- Take appropriate action;
- Maintain positive relationships.
Workplace Interpersonal Relationships Test
HRID, a company specializing in the development of assessment tools, provides you with reliable and targeted tests to meet your personal and professional development needs. In order to fine-tune your interpersonal relationships, you can take the Emotional Intelligence Test. It helps you to:
- Identify your personality type according to the DISC model (colours);
- Reveal your strengths and limitations;
- Manage your emotions and interactions with your colleagues;
- Get developmental tips to increase your emotional quotient (EQ);
- Get an instant result report;