How your interpersonal skills can affect your leadership style?

Experts recognise several types of leadership styles as effective, although they can be very different. Aggressive, pushy types are often found in military training or coaching roles. Low-key personalities tend to lead by example. Taking a closer look, it becomes clear a person’s interpersonal skills often impacts his or her leadership approach. You can be hired to fill a leader’s position based on the qualities you demonstrate during an interview. Personality tests are sometimes administered as part of an application process to determine a candidate’s suitability for a certain leadership style. There are several ways your interpersonal abilities can impact the way you lead others.

Problem Solver

If you have a track record of solving problems, that suggests you are a critical thinker who can process the factors in a given situation to come up with a workable strategy. This is a valuable skill in any organisation. Rather than handing off an issue for another employee to handle, addressing the problem directly shows that you are willing and able to accept challenges and find ways of effectively meeting them.


Although empathy can be tricky, as you don’t want to be too sensitive toward employees under your supervision by overlooking flaws or accepting too many excuses, it does help to show empathy when appropriate. Even if you have a perfect attendance record and meet every deadline, other employees might not have the same job strengths. The ability to understand someone’s need to call off work due to a sick child, for example, reveals compassion and flexibility in enforcing attendance policies, which may garner added respect from employees.


Looking ahead and planning for the future is a prized hallmark of a capable leader. While it is important to focus on daily operations, it is also valuable to note trends and forecasts to adjust the department or company operations as needed. A forward-looking leader can also recognise employees’ potential for developing new skills that will facilitate advancement for the employee and progress for the organisation.


Human development theories suggest that there are two main ways to motivate people: the stick or a carrot. The first refers to getting people to do what you want them to through fear, such as fear of being disciplined or getting fired. On the other hand, a carrot represents rewards and incentives, such as public acclaim or recognition as well as a promotion or pay raise. Sometimes a blend of these two styles can lead to success, but in certain environments, one or the other may work better. The key thing is for a leader to demonstrate the ability to get employees to do their jobs, preferably with a positive mindset.


Leaders must be assertive at times as that is the nature of their role. They may need to push an employee or a department to meet a deadline. They sometimes have to propose a need for a department change or request funding for a special initiative. Passivity is not a useful leadership tool. Demonstrating a willingness to get things done according to the guidelines without being overbearing or unfair is a valuable quality.

Many interpersonal skills come into play in a leadership style. Staying calm during a crisis, being friendly and approachable, and knowing where to set and maintain boundaries are similar qualities commonly prized by organisations. Know your style and use it to advantage when leading other people.

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