Interpersonal relationship skills are the soft skills we use to interact with other people individually or in groups. The process where we exchange information through verbal and non-verbal messages is called interpersonal communication(according to the Oxford Dictionary).
When we take part in a face to face communication we have to be careful not only what, but also how we say it.
The interpersonal relationship skills help us to relate in a positive way to others to help us build working mental, social and professional well-being.
In our lives, we build interpersonal relationships with different groups of people. For example, here we can put groups like: parents, children, family members, students or teachers, neighbors, co-workers, bosses, etc.
While we have to deal with different groups of people we have to build different groups of interpersonal skills to help us be successful in different situations.
The interpersonal skills groups we use in a situation like exchanging information, establishing contact and maintain a relationship, express personal needs, understand the needs of others, give or receive emotional support, solve problems, create and present decisions, influence attitudes, and behaviors of other people, etc.
Like every other skill, interpersonal relationships skills can be affected by a variety of factors. Here I will share with you three of those factors that I think are most impactful:
- Attitude – This factor has several elements who plays an important role in interpersonal relationships. Here I will share 5 with you:
- It is an object-based component – We for our behavior based on our interaction with persons or groups we accept as an object to build behavior on it
- Direction drove – well we can form two directions of behavior – positive or negative.
- Stability – this element is connected with our understanding of what is our perception of a given situation and how flexible can be in this current given situation.
- Motivation – what motivates us to act in a certain way in a particular situation can differ in another situation
- Behavior learned – we are not born with specific behavior or attitudes. During our lives, we learn in different situations different behaviors according to the people we interact with.
The Attitude we build has three main components: cognitive component(here we put beliefs or system of values); effective component(where we put feelings) and behavioral element (our behavior with person or situation)
These 3 components balance each other to deliver a balanced interpersonal relationship If any inconsistency occurs when we move from a more balanced to more emotional and unstable behavior. Then we often tend to use next categories of behaviors and styles that harm our interpersonal relationship:
People often stereotype others and are not very likely to change their opinion. This factor can be easily recognized in:
- Over-generalized beliefs – like categorizing individuals and groups on account of pre-convinced notions. Here we can put people in groups divided by race, religion, political belonging, gender, etc.
- Change resistance level – here we stereotype people by their willingness to change. We can put people in groups like Energizer, Stopper, etc.
People prejudices are crucial in the process of forming attitudes. We prejudice people based on unfair on unreasonable opinion or feeling in respect to their religion, race, nationality, etc. That is often done without having enough knowledge for the situation or based on limited or poor experience. Some of the sources of prejudice are shared below:
- Personality characteristics – categorization based on factors like skin color, beliefs, etc.
- Intergroup conflicts – categorization based on opposing beliefs or numbers. For example the majority v.s. minority, level of friendliness, etc.
- Practices, used for socialization – here we categorize people based on practices we follow. These practices are often learned from older family members and are seen as traditions.
In our lives we deal with different people or groups, so we need to adopt different styles of behavior to be successful in these relationships In order to accommodate the different styles we often need to:
- Be punctual
- Pay attention to details;
- Build personal organization habits;
- Face every situation open-minded;
- Show attentiveness and interest;
- Share personal experience in a positive and friendly way.
But still, how are we going to approach different situation depends on our behavior style.
In my practice, I have explored 3 different styles of behavior. In the following text, I will explain them to you and will give you some direction on how to act with the representatives of each style.
THE PRACTICE STYLE
The representatives of this style are hands-on oriented people. They are here to do the job. These people are energetic and ready to act even if don’t have enough information on the situation. To deal with people using this style you will have to implement several rules:
- Accept on the structure you will follow;
- Be as precise as you can in all the things;
- Do all the things in orderly steps;
- Demonstrate to illustrate an idea;
- Minimize discussion in favor of work on the task;
THE METHODOLOGICAL STYLE
The representatives of this style are kind of thinkers and discussion open people. Instead of star acting these people want to first analyze the data given and decide carefully how to act. They are strategy builders. To work with them you will need to:
- Provide ideas and documentation;
- Use some sort of graphical or table representation of information on ideas;
- Support all information with solid facts;
- Focus on main ideas and be open and ready for topics to be debated, research type ideas to be discussed and logical explanations to be presented;
- Support opinions, coming with logic and evidence.
THE ADVENTURER STYLE
These people are kind of archeologists. They like exploring new things or ways to do the job. They don’t stay at one place just because someone has said it so. They look for new approaches and need room for creativity. To successfully build an interpersonal relationship with these people you will need to:
- Allow room for creativity, but be ready to relate the ideas coming from them with the real world situation;
- Take risks;
- Be patient with a high-speed tempo of work and ideas generation(they actually jump from idea to idea so often that you may lose the sense for high ground)
- Be open to discuss the amount of all generated ideas;
- Focus on processes and their potential development than on facts from the current situation.
THE FREE BIRD STYLE – the new reality
In the 21st century, there is another fourth style emerged in our interpersonal relationships. The people characterized by this style are the new nomads of the workplace. They are more like free souls. In this group, we can put creative freelancers working without any supervision, from wherever they want to work. They are informal, don’t follow corporate rules and policies and focus only on product or service delivery while living the life they believe it is OK for them. They are kind of thinkers without limitations. To work with people, representing this modern style you will need to change your perspective in work by implementing elements such as:
- Picturing and coloring;
- Positive body language
- Humor; Straightforwardness and Sincerity;
- Apply personal meaning to ideas they generate and show how they apply to life, interest or concerns of people;
- Show patience and be open to metaphorical expression
- Show patience to interruptions and understanding of the not structured environment they work in.
The way we start to develop our interpersonal relationship skills can affect our attitude or behavior. If we successfully build interpersonal skills we will be able to force ourselves in changing the way we like, understand and accept people. Together with that, we will have the opportunity to build more meaningful and productive contact and establish interpersonal relationships that support our and others success and build more balanced environment, able to meet all people differences and include them in a well working professional and personal model. The one thing we have to remember is to not stop trying to change ourselves to answer as most adequately we can to the environment we live and work in.