The concept of “personal growth” plays a major role in the self-help industry and the wellness trends sweeping pretty much every aspect of popular culture in the year 2019. However, it also bears major significance in the professional sphere.
Employers and employees with strong senses of self thrive in any number of fields, but reaching that place of both acceptance and constructive development doesn’t happen overnight. It’s up to us to evaluate our relationships with ourselves and to direct our ambition into the paths and channels that best suit our goals.
The formation of these strong “intrapersonal skills” can also help you improve the way in which you communicate with others. With some notable exceptions, most workplace situations require interaction with colleagues, supervisors and/or direct reports, and in order to position yourself for personal and professional success, you need to invest time and energy into building and honing these methods of relating to others. Interpersonal abilities are often key points of consideration during the hiring process, and companies have a vested interest in attracting and retaining employees who can easily collaborate with their coworkers.
Honing your interpersonal intelligence requires you to form clear and honest views on yourself and your performance, how you handle conflict, your best methods of solving problems and how you can clearly translate this information into a digestible format for the other people in your life. Many people feel that they could use some improvement in these departments (hence the popularity of “personal growth” as a whole). If you count yourself among that number, read on for advice on how to discover, cultivate and bolster your own interpersonal skills.
What is interpersonal growth?
In its simplest definition, interpersonal growth refers to the process of developing and refining the methods with which one communicates with others. Some refer to these tactics and techniques as "soft skills," although that term is rapidly falling out of favor because of its minimizing nature. In fact, interpersonal skills prove among the most valuable in the majority of offices, because the ability to listen, share ideas and work together on projects remains unquestionably crucial.
Therefore, it stands to reason that interpersonal growth centers around the fortification and strengthening of these modes of communication. Individuals with strong interpersonal communication skills utilize empathy, leadership, conflict resolution, opportunities for negotiation and positive energy to build mutually-beneficial relationships with their friends and colleagues, which, in turn, lead to successful endeavors on personal and professional levels alike.
What are the 4 types of interpersonal communication?
While interpersonal communication can take innumerable forms, these four overall types provide a useful point of focus for anyone hoping to gain a powerful understanding and command of these skills.
1. Verbal communication.
A common (and necessary) trait among strong interpersonal communicators — the ability to express oneself directly and effectively — allows these individuals to deliver necessary information in a palatable manner that gives others the opportunity to fully absorb the facts and to allow the conversation to inform their future behaviors.
2. Auditory communication.
It seems quite obvious that discussions between two people should be inherently two-sided, but many enthusiastic speakers have trouble listening to others and digesting responses in a constructive manner. However, useful communication requires both talking and listening from both sides, and anyone striving to sharpen their interpersonal skills must develop these two abilities in equal measure.
Spoken dialogue represents an essential aspect of interpersonal capabilities. But particularly in the workplace, understanding how to compose a well-phrased email, how to distill important information into a clear memo, and how to document work projects becomes critical. While some workplaces value verbal communication above text-based correspondence, others rely heavily on written messaging, so honing both skills is in your best interests.
4. Non-verbal communication
Arguably the trickiest to master of all communication styles, non-verbal communication relies on intuition and the ability to read physical cues from those around you. Facial expressions, gestures, posture and proximity are all valuable non-verbal communication methods that should be considered while building one’s own repertoire of interpersonal communication styles.
Which interpersonal skills are most helpful to acquire?
On its face, interpersonal communication focuses on the notion of dialoguing with another person. However, gaining the confidence and wherewithal necessary to effectively communicate with others hinges on your ability to communicate with yourself.
While it’s not realistic to expect individuals to view themselves through a purely objective lens, those wishing to improve their interpersonal communication skills must learn to curb their inclinations to excessively criticize themselves. Instead, they must attempt to look at their actions and their thoughts from a less-judgmental perspective, focusing on empirical reality rather than perception tinted by personal prejudices.
2. Translating intrapersonal communication into interpersonal communication.
Intrapersonal communication frequently yields remarkable insights, but if you can’t deliver those valuable messages to your colleagues or friends, then their impact inevitably lessens. In addition to polishing your intrapersonal thought skills, you need to find a way to relay the resultant lessons to others in a clear, diplomatic and positive manner.
It may feel strange to categorize empathy as a “skill”, but a desire to understand others and to relate to them will serve you well in all social aspects of your life. Empathetic individuals often thrive in the workplace due to their trustworthy natures, their patience and their determination to help their colleagues.
How can interpersonal communication benefit you in the workplace?
Interpersonal communication truly forms the core of any successful professional environment. Regardless of your particular industry, the need to efficiently pass information to coworkers and to collaborate on assignments and projects remains of utmost importance, and those aspects are entirely contingent on a proper communication foundation. Understanding how your colleagues operate, how they prefer to interact, and how to present your questions, feedback and requests establishes you as a highly-effective team player and, as a result, positions you well for leadership consideration.
Workers who know how to explain their actions, to listen to their cohorts and to use self-reflection to improve their interactions with others increase the productivity of their respective businesses, and their empathetic style improves company morale, making these employees indispensable and, therefore, prime candidates for promotions and raises.