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What Are Intrapersonal Skills and Why Are They Important?

November 14, 2019
4 Min Read
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TED and Wikipedia

Do you ever notice how some people seem to have a clear sense of self, including a good understanding of their own motivations, desires, strengths, and weaknesses? They’re the sort of folks that can easily size up a situation and figure out what’s most important to them and start working toward a goal.

People who are self-motivated, focused, and confident are said to have great intrapersonal skills. Those people exude self-confidence because they are confident. They know who they are and what they are capable of producing and creating. Others seem to naturally gravitate toward them because they carry an air of strength and positivity everywhere they go.

Intrapersonal communication skills are part of the intangible “soft skills” that you can learn to cultivate and bring to the table everywhere you go.

The guiding force of your intrapersonal skills is awareness – awareness of your innermost beliefs and the goals that drive you and awareness of how you are perceived by others.

What Are Intrapersonal Skills?

Intrapersonal skills are all about self-awareness and controlling your own internal attitudes and inner processes. Your intrapersonal skills form the foundation on which you build your relationships with others because they help you more easily navigate your interpersonal relationships.

So, interpersonal vs. intrapersonal skills, which one is more important? Your intrapersonal communication skills and interpersonal skills are deeply connected. Both contribute to your emotional intelligence and your ability to communicate your needs, goals, and ideas to others in an effective way. Your interpersonal skills are essential for collaboration, leadership, and influence – but you can’t project those qualities until you develop good intrapersonal skills.

Some of the most important intrapersonal skills include:

These are soft skills that aren’t learned in a classroom. Instead, they’re a product of introspection and self-reflection combined with a constant revision of the way you project yourself to the world. Like your technical skills, however, intrapersonal skills are an essential part of your professional tools.

Why Are Strong Intrapersonal Skills Vital for Your Career?

When you have strong intrapersonal skills, you take personal responsibility for your own feelings and emotions. This mindset is also known as intrapersonal intelligence. You learn how to focus your attention, set priorities and goals, and engage in purposeful thinking and problem-solving. When something goes differently than you expect, you know how to respond with a thoughtful, intentional strategy to achieve a positive outcome.

It’s easy to understand why teams and companies want people who have the internal strength to approach every challenge or setback as an opportunity for growth. Their growth mindset enables them to stay flexible, open to new information, and willing to look for creative solutions to their obstacles. Their motivation comes from within and is naturally infectious to others.

Exemplary Examples of Intrapersonal Skills

Many of the world’s most charismatic leaders can communicate their visions and influence others simply because they have highly-developed intrapersonal skills and a profound emotional intelligence. From tech giants like Microsoft to agile startups like Simple Habit, interpersonal communication plays a key role in scaling success. Successful people see challenges as opportunities to gain new information and grow. Some high-profile people you may recognize include:

Empathy: Success didn’t come immediately to Gaby Roman. She had a great idea for an app, but no technical skills to create one, which led her to realize that a lot of great ideas by non-tech people were going to waste. Her search for a solution led to the founding of Coaching No-Code Apps. Through empathy and resourcefulness, Roman overcame barriers in the business. She changed how she looked at herself and how she presented her ideas to others.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, sharing advice about intrapersonal skills

Resilience: Mary Barra, the first female CEO of an automobile manufacture, Barra never set out to get to the top of General Motors. Instead, she focused on simply doing her best work. Through her hard work and resilience, she ultimately rose to the top of a typically male-dominated industry.

If I could offer some advice to my younger self, this idea of embracing new and different opportunities would be a good place to start.

-Barra shares her advice to young professionals in a Quartz interview

Vision: Musk is working to revolutionize transportation technology – both here on Earth and in space. His drive and ability to communicate his unique vision of the future has propelled him to the top of the list when it comes to who people see as the most influential in tech today.

How Can You Improve Your Intrapersonal Skills?

The guiding force of your intrapersonal skills is awareness – awareness of your innermost beliefs and the goals that drive you and awareness of how you are perceived by others.

Yet, it can be incredibly difficult to figure out how you’re seen by others because they don’t tell you. Without that kind of information, your internal concept of yourself may not match what you project to your peers.

Fortunately, you can get the feedback you need simply by asking! People will usually share their thoughts and impressions if they’re given a chance to do so. Regular, consistent feedback can help you adjust the way that you convey yourself in the workplace so that your inner strengths are clearly visible to others.

Regular feedback can help you embrace a growth mindset and overcome both the internal and external limitations that are holding you back.

Why Is Continuous Feedback Vital?

Personal growth isn’t achieved overnight. A single performance review only tells you how you were perceived within a specific timeframe. Once you adjust your way of communicating and interacting with others based on that review, you need more feedback to determine if the changes you made helped (or hurt). You can work hard at being more self-aware and conscious of how you project yourself to others, but you need continuous feedback to gauge how much progress you’re making.

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