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Skills required for interpersonal relations


THE skills that are necessary for good relations with others are the most important skills anyone can learn in life. When it comes to improving organisational effectiveness, administrators, management scholars and practitioners are beginning to emphasise the importance of emotional intelligence. At the heart of service are relationships: interpersonal relationships; intergroup relationships; and, interdepartmental relationships. This is because managers who do not develop their emotional intelligence have difficulty in building good relationships with peers, subordinates, superiors and clients. An emotionally intelligent administrator can induce desirable responses in others by using effective diplomacy. They have the ability to change someone’s views, attitudes or behaviour in a positive way. Being in harmony with their emotional self, they have skills to influence and communicate to others in a way that gains support. A person with emotional intelligence is a strong mind mapper who understands others well and this plays a key factor for the development of effectual communication. They are good at assessing verbal signals, non-verbal gestures and body language. They communicate their views and feelings in a calm, direct and respectful way while respecting equally the views of others. There is a common tendency for leaders to try and keep hold of tasks, activities and processes. As the old saying goes, ‘No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.’ The unique quality that distinguishes an emotionally intelligent manager from others is the capability to develop others in team. They have the ability to sense how their employees feel about their work situation and to intervene effectively when those employees begin to feel discouraged or dissatisfied. They manage their own emotions, with the result that employees trust them and feel good about working with them. People who are good at building bonds cultivate and maintain extensive informal networks, seek out relationships that are mutually beneficial, build rapport and keep others in the loop, and make and maintain personal friendships among work associates. In order to make better use of the special talents available in a diverse workforce, building strong interpersonal bonds among employees is important. And in virtually every case, emotional intelligence must play an important role in satisfying this need. A person with emotional intelligence are aware of their own feelings and those of others, are open to positive and negative aspects of internal experience and are able to communicate them when appropriate. An emotionally intelligent person is often a pleasure to be around, has good influence and makes others feel better.

People good at collaboration and cooperation balance the focus on the task with attention given to relationships, share plans, information and resources; they promote a friendly, cooperative climate; and they spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration. An effective manager must possess emotional intelligence to establish mutual trust, respect, warmth and rapport with members of their group. People having strong bonding with group members prove to be more successful as it leads to group synergy which helps in accomplishment of collective and shared goals. If there are healthy interpersonal relationships among the team members, they certainly tend to work collectively towards the prescribed goal. Teamwork also contributes a lot to a healthy work environment. Employees feel good about working if there is a favourable environment at the workplace. If employees have a mutual understanding with each other, there are very less chances of any kind of workplace conflicts. It has also been observed that strong interpersonal relationships lead to motivation among employees.

From moments of frustration or joy, grief or fear, to an enduring sense of dissatisfaction or commitment, the experience of work is saturated with emotions. These emotions play an integral and inseparable part in building and maintaining the interpersonal relationships in everyday organisational life. In the workplace, a range of emotions including jealousy, happiness, love, hate, anger, shame, envy, enthusiasm and fear are experienced. The presence of emotions can lead to various positive outcomes on work performance like increased creativity. However, negative outcomes such as pessimism and aggressive behaviour can impede performance.

A solid emotional foundation is the base to build long lasting relationships. A very good example is a relationship between two persons in love. Emotional intelligence helps in understanding personal motivations, feelings and needs which helps in understanding how to communicate effectively to a partner. The ability to accurately read others, refute arguments and repair ill feelings are all components in this skill set.

Let us understand how emotions affect relationships

Happiness: Happiness helps to connect to others as happy mood can make people feel more giving, charitable and friendly. Positive mood enhances people’s decision making abilities and resolve conflicts, thus building connections and affiliations.

Fear: We become wary when we are fearful. Anyone who has ever had a job probably knows that fear is no stranger at work. Fear is a big relationship block because it makes us think everything and everyone is suspect.

Sadness: People in a sad mood generally tend to get disconnected with social world. Sadness brings depressing view of the world and results in loneliness. Yet, sadness can help to solve relationship problems by focusing on the details, looking for something wrong in a set of facts that one has previously ignored.

Anger: Anger narrows our field of vision, our view of the world, and it focuses and targets our energy on a perceived threat. It is reasonable to say that problems with anger are all too common and an angry manager easily spoils his relationships with peers, subordinates and clients.

Surprise: Studies show that mystery and surprise excites the emotional state. At workplace, little gestures of surprise can go a long way of strengthening team relationships. Surprise team lunch, sending a greeting card or birthday mail can surprise team members and helps in building relation

Emotional intelligence benefits human relations because people with this aptitude are typically very effective communicators, conflict resolvers, and relationship builders. These skills assist individuals in having the patience and understanding to deal with life’s difficulties as they greatly influence the success of the relationship. If you have high emotional intelligence you are able to recognise your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage with people in a way that draws them to you. You can use this understanding of emotions to relate better to other people, form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead a more fulfilling life. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you’re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.

RESEARCHERS report that emotionally intelligent people have greater emotional carrying capacity and can better handle both positive and negative emotions in the relationship. They are flexible in accommodating changing conditions and greater capacity level for withstanding tensions and bouncing back from difficulties. They have a higher degree of connectivity with others. Emotionally intelligent managers are often depicted as being energetic and magnetic by others. They are usually seen as very popular and often attract and inspire others to connect with them. Thus, it is quite reasonable to conclude that positive emotions are important tool for social functions. People high on emotional intelligence have critical ingredients that facilitate positive interpersonal relationships. They are more successful in the workplace because they can understand their emotions and why they behave the way that they behave. They can use their emotions as clues to what their body and mind are trying to tell them. And they can use their emotional intelligence to truly understand others and their points of view. Besides, they are able to understand the physical, mental and social impact that negative emotions have on their bodies, minds and relationships. They successfully moderate their emotions so that their emotions support their activities and enhance their quality.

Dr Dalip Singh, a 1982-batch IAS officer of the Haryana cadre, has a PhD in psychology from the University of Delhi. He can be contacted at www.eqindia.com

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