Interpersonal skills influence business cultures because they affect job performance, which in turn helps to decide the outcome of a company's success. Interpersonal skills include interaction with others, good communication skills, active listening skills, and attitude. Companies should realize that interpersonal skills are not learned in a classroom; rather they are characteristics that an individual may possess naturally. But these skills can be honed.

Often referred to as soft skills, interpersonal skills allow people to communicate effectively, handle conflicts, and respond to others' needs accordingly. In an ever-changing job market, these skills teach workers and business owners how to be agile, solve complex problems, perform critical thinking on their feet, and manage diverse relationships both internally and externally. Measuring a potential employee's ability to interact with others in a respectful and appropriate manner determines how they are likely to thrive in a team-oriented environment.

According to a study by Harrison Assessments, some of the major factors that make up a person's interpersonal skills are diplomacy, helpfulness, optimism, influence, and flexibility. Also vital are collaboration skills, empathy, tolerance, and frankness. These characteristics are important in corporate culture as well as in a small business. Business owners in general want to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that business flows in a consistent and cohesive manner.

Business owners must realize that even if they have a vision and goals, these cannot be achieved without solid communication skills, which are needed for relationship management. A big budget does little good if you cannot build rapport with employees and customers.

Ways to improve interpersonal skills include touring different sites and departments, managing by walking around, arranging lunches, and corresponding consistently via phone or email. Having good interpersonal skills promotes approachability, likability and comfort. Managers who possess strong interpersonal skills motivate their staff to challenge themselves and do a better job. Most importantly, they make workers feel as if they can go to their bosses with any problems or concerns.

Both verbal and non-verbal interpersonal skills are extremely important when it comes to a company's success. When you can speak to people in an articulate manner, you avoid communication errors and you are more likely to have happy customers. It's just as important to maintain the correct tone of voice and posture. Non-verbal communication consists of facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language. It can also determine whether or not your interaction results in a satisfied customer. When you combine both verbal and non-verbal skills, the result is a powerful demeanor that may help to determine a company's success.

In addition, good interpersonal skills encompass listening skills, problem-solving, decision-making, and negotiation skills. The ability to communicate internally with employees and co-workers is just as important as building and maintaining solid relationships with customers.

The Bottom Line

Good interpersonal skills include verbal and non-verbal communication. While hard skills such as knowledge, expertise, and experience are important, without interpersonal skills, you or your company can go only so far. Good interpersonal skills can help motivate employees and attract and keep customers. Happy employees and customers are critical to business success.