5 Signs You Have Bad Interpersonal Skills

By Sheera Hussin|05-12-2016 | 4 Min Read
"When asked to rate the importance of having good interpersonal skills at work on a scale of 1 to 5, managers rated this at 4.37."

Interpersonal skills refer to one’s ability to communicate effectively with another person or a group of people, be it personally or professionally.

At work, are you one whom everyone finds a joy to interact with, or are you known as the ‘office grump’? The latter, being someone who is always sulking, complaining and grumpy at every little thing.

According to CareerAddict, an online career consultancy, when asked to rate the importance of having good interpersonal skills at work on a scale of 1 to 5, managers rated this at 4.37. This is the second most important skill after teamwork, which stands at 4.49.

Thus, it is a fact that substantial verbal and diplomatic skills are required to interact effectively at work.

Are you one with the following traits? If you are, it is time for you to take control and try to eliminate them. 

1. Overloaded with emotions

If you are one who gets frustrated and angry easily, i.e. one who lets emotions get in the way without conscious control, you are more likely seen as an impatient hothead.
Emotional outbursts can be threatening to co-workers and can result in low productivity in a team setting. Learn how to cool it.

The next time you feel like you are about to burst, try these:

  • Quickly excuse yourself, walk it off.
  • Calm yourself down by taking deep breaths.
  • Drink a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Be alone for the next 15 minutes.


Chances are, you would have calmed down by then and able to think clearer by the time you resume your work. 

2. Lack of self-confidence

It’s normal to feel challenged when you climb up the career ladder, or when given a big project to manage, or even replacing someone else’s roles in a short notice.

In this scenario, learn to believe in yourself because if you don’t, then no one will. Find out what is causing you to lack confidence and address this area of concern courageously. For example, if it’s the lack of training, speak to your superior or arrange a training session to improve what’s needed. 

3. Too quick to quit

If you are one who gives up easily during challenging times, you can expect not to go far. Organisations are always looking for people who are resilient through difficult times, given their best and encouraged teammates to stay the course as well. 

4. Reluctant to coach

Those who are willing to help others in their career by sharing their knowledge and skills are seen as team players who can accelerate an organisation’s growth. If you are one who can’t coach or mentor your fellow teammates, or worse, reluctant to, then you are more likely to be perceived as a selfish person.

Helping others through knowledge-exchange and providing feedback will not only accelerate their career growth, it will help enhance yours too.

5. Refuse to network

If you don’t let people know how good you are in what you do, they might never find out. If you don’t network well and connect with the right people, you will be the one losing out.

Learn to speak about your achievements and skills with people of influence who can help you soar higher. When networking, you can practise:

1. Smiling

People are more likely to warm up to someone who says hello with a broad smile than those with serious, grumpy expressions.

2. Asking questions

Build your credibility by asking questions to the group you are interacting with before barging in with an opinion.

3. Listening

After asking questions, don’t forget that you need to listen to what they’re saying first! Mastering the art of listening with sincerity can help you build a lasting rapport. 

Concluding thoughts

Many of us may have encountered similar situations in our day-to-day interactions, and are only aware of our shortcomings or unintentional behaviours after it happened.

It’s never too late to learn the importance of interpersonal skills at work, so let’s try to change some of our bad habits. Together, let’s make workplaces a conducive place to thrive and grow as individual and corporate contributors.

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Sheera has a knack for different languages and aims to cultivate life-long learning in others.
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