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When an office is full of tension, interpersonal skills are necessary to get any work done. These kinds of communication skills are used when people interact directly with each other. If used successfully, they bond people together -- which is important for reaching business goals. If interpersonal skills are lacking, workers easily get frustrated with each other. Key interpersonal skills help people get along at work.
Can You Relate?
Empathy involves the ability to connect with others to relate through their feelings. Where sympathy entails attempting to understand another person's situation, empathy goes deeper and tries to feel the person's pain. Drawing upon one's own experiences of turmoil helps gain empathy for others. It's a skill helped along by having an open mind to another worker's journey in life. For example, extending compassion to an absent-minded co-worker who is upset about a death in her family, rather than reprimanding her, is being empathetic.
Open the Lines of Communication
Being able to communicate with limited restriction is a useful work skill. Work relationships are similar to romantic ones in that the more you can openly and effectively communicate, the more likely both parties will connect and get along. Effective communication involves the ability to express oneself about an issue before it becomes a problem. Telling a co-worker in a calm and reasonable way that her music is so loud that you can't concentrate is effective communication.
Be All Ears
In addition to being verbally communicative, knowing when to listen instead of talk is an excellent interpersonal skill for work. People like to know they have been heard and sometimes the best thing you can do to get along with a co-worker is to be attentive to what she's saying. Active listening requires more than just being silent while the other person is talking. It means visually acknowledging the co-worker with nods, smiles and affirmations that you hear what she's saying.
Watch Your Manners
A genuinely polite nature goes a long way in getting along with co-workers. Personalities vary so being overly friendly is not as critical as a general sense of warmth and grace. Politeness involves being fair to co-workers and knowing how to remain calm during conflict. An example of politeness at work is kindly greeting other employees with a smile or asking a co-worker about her vacation.
Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.