15 Essential People Skills to Help Advance Your Career

People skills are essential to success in the workplace. Improve on these top 15 skills to help advance your career.



Table of Contents

  1. People Skills
  2. What Are People Skills?
  3. Why Are People Skills So Important?
  4. What Are the Top 15 People Skills for the Workplace?
  5. FAQ: People Skills

People Skills

People skills are an integral part of work and professional success, regardless of profession or industry. So, whether you’re an entry-level marketing professional or a seasoned IT manager, interacting with co-workers, clients, or industry associates is a part of the job.

In order to be qualified for a particular job you have your sights on, advance your career with a promotion, or even lead a team successfully, you’re typically expected to possess extensive experience and refined technical skills, or hard skills. These traits and qualifications are certainly needed to achieve professional success. Still, they won’t be fully leveraged if you don’t possess the necessary soft skills, or people skills, to carry them out effectively.

People skills allow you to interact and work well with others in the workplace and beyond. While people skills may often be superficially associated with a person’s likeability, they are much more than that. They are skills and attributes that allow you to effectively and persuasively communicate with others.

People skills boil down to how effectively people interact with one another, from a verbal and non-verbal communication angle. They are not technical skills and rely on a person’s personality, attitude, mindset, empathy, and articulation to carry them out successfully.

Possessing good people skills allows you to fully leverage positive and productive interactions with others to benefit everyone involved and not just yourself. This sort of emotional intelligence is needed to foster trusting relationships with others that have built on mutual respect and kindness.

This article will explore what people skills are and why they are so important to possess. We’ll then show you the top 15 people skills needed to succeed in the workplace that potential employers seek in candidates.

What Are People Skills?

People skills are the necessary skills and attributes that enable a person to effectively talk to and work with people in the workplace in a positive, friendly, constructive and ultimately productive manner.

People skills can be defined as three sets of abilities:

  • Personal effectiveness: How well you come across to others
  • Interaction: How well you predict and interpret the behavior of others
  • Intercession: How well you lead and influence others

The skills in each of the three sets of abilities work towards the same overarching goal: ensuring that your professional relationships with others remain positive and mutually rewarding and productive.

Why Are People Skills So Important?

No matter their background, people want to connect with others in the workplace in a productive, engaging manner. This fosters a pleasant and high-achieving working environment with employees collaborating towards a common mutually beneficial goal.

Strong communication skills play a crucial role in utilizing your people skills to their fullest potential. In addition, effective communication is a great people skill to effectively convey your point of view to team members in your own personal style.

People with strong emotional intelligence and self-awareness have the interpersonal skills and competencies to achieve significant career success as strong and influential corporate leaders. In addition, they understand that individual success and corporate success are only achievable through building trust and human relationships in the workplace.

Strong people skills are essential to coexisting eight hours a day with co-workers who have varying beliefs, personalities, aspirations, and so forth. In addition, people with strong people skills can easily socialize with and relate to others in the workplace.

You can positively influence co-workers through good communication and strong people skills. By properly utilizing your people skills, you can better predict their behaviors. In addition, co-workers with strong people skills add immeasurable value to the company as it helps create trust, respect, and harmony in the workplace.

What Are the Top 15 People Skills for the Workplace?

If you’re interested in advancing your professional career, then you need to develop and refine these top people skills for the workplace:

  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Ability to relate to others
  • Show empathy/relate to others
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Teamwork
  • Open-mindedness
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution
  • Good manners
  • Showing respect

FAQ: People Skills

Q: What are some people skills questions that get asked during interviews?

Some commonly asked questions about a candidate’s people skills include:

  • Could you walk me through a conflict at work? What’s your approach?
  • Tell me about a time you worked with a coworker you found undesirable or did not trust.
  • How do you build relationships when you first start a new job?

Q: How can I improve my people skills?

You can improve your people skills with the following tips:

  • Be attentive to others’ challenges and needs.
  • Show appreciation and make it a habit to thank others more often.
  • Find ways to contribute to team efforts that go beyond your own tasks.
  • Always do the right thing and treat others how you want to be treated.

Q: How can I demonstrate people skills during an interview?

A job interview provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your people skills. You can demonstrate them by doing the following:

  • First, make sure to have people skills included in your CV and cover letter that match the job description. Don’t just list the people skills you possess, but instead incorporate them into specific examples in previous job duties and how they contributed to positive outcomes.
  • Make sure to prepare for the most commonly asked interview questions. When preparing your answers, use clear examples, and match your answers to the job requirements. Make sure to incorporate your people skills in your answers and how they fostered a productive work environment and achieved results.

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