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Develop Your Interpersonal And Intrapersonal Skills

For many people a lot of the interpersonal and intrapersonal skills come naturally. Good leaders build on their strengths. However, there are usually some forms of behaviour that need to be changed and others that may need to be engaged in more often. Changing behaviour provides a simple checklist of action points that might be helpful to those wishing to enhance particular qualities associated with emotional intelligence.

Changing behaviour 

Some Action to Take to Become More

Competent if Necessary

Seek feedback from colleagues and team members.

Share thinking about personal strengths and weaknesses with one or two respected colleagues.


Analyse causes of loss of control and explore possible coping tactics with a close friend.

Express disappointment or annoyance rather than anger.

When hindered by an unwanted feeling, ask yourself

‘How can I use the present time more effectively?’

Try to develop the belief that nothing is important enough to justify losing control.

Acknowledge that people are fallible.

Count to 10 before responding.

Set aside time routinely for setting clear goals, prioritizing and planning work before taking action.

Review tasks undertaken to learn and modify if necessary when engaged in similar activities subsequently.

Make a point of getting involved in brainstorming sessions with colleagues and team members.

Encourage team members to offer ideas.

Make the effort to meet and talk to people from different walks of life.

Ensure that your goals are challenging but also attainable.

Try to ensure that at least 75 per cent of your work is interesting, enjoyable, fun or intrinsically satisfying.

Ensure that you are mentally and physically in good shape by making time for regular physical exercise, relaxation and mental stimulation.

The same action points as for resilience.

Social skill
Seek out situations where you have to interact with others.

Devote more time to small talk.

Learn how to make good presentations, practise with video recordings and obtain feedback from others.

Provide time for conversations with colleagues and team members.

Build trust by keeping people fully informed.

Give full attention when listening.

Listen as much as talk in social encounters.

Use people’s names more frequently (but avoid it being mechanical or inappropriately familiar).

Make occasional amusing remarks against yourself.

Don’t interrupt.

Ask more questions (but in a warm and friendly way).


In conversations make a point of demonstrating that you can see situations from the other person’s point of view.

Read a article on personality differences to provide a framework for understanding the different ways that people feel and see the world around them.

Never assume that other people automatically see situations in the same way that you do.

Be prepared to explore feelings that underpin behaviour.

Show personal interest.

Express support for the efforts that others make.

Show that you are listening attentively by reflecting back, asking questions sensitively and summarizing.

Seek feedback regularly from others about performance.

Tackle collaborative exercises, for example in meetings, with enthusiasm.

Show keen interest in others.

Respond with vigour.

Behave with enthusiasm even when you don’t feel like it – eventually it becomes second nature.

Be lively and enthusiastic in encounters with others.


Learn how to make good presentations, practise with video recordings and obtain feedback from others.

Listen attentively by reflecting back, asking questions sensitively and summarizing.

Take part in idea generation and problem solving in meetings with colleagues and team members.

Lead by example.


Listen attentively to different opinions and don’t rush to disagree.

Don’t interrupt.

Acknowledge that you understand the different values and beliefs that others may have.

In conflict situations show respect and regard for others by avoiding personal attacks and emotive language.

Stick to the issues and express your understanding of other people’s positions.

Try to solve conflicts by cooperation rather than competition.

Give a fair hearing to other people’s ideas and proposals.

It is perhaps helpful at this stage to be clear that behaviour is not the same thing as personality. People often make the erroneous assumption that they are the same. Behaviour is what we do, for example laughing, talking, listening, driving, playing sport, drafting documents, running meetings, conducting negotiations or watching television. Behaviour is action and is directly observable and it can be changed. Personality traits are deep-seated preferences for the ways in which we use our minds, focus our attention and draw energy. Extraverts, for example, prefer to focus on the outer world of people and activity. They draw their energy from interacting with people and from taking action. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer to direct their attention to the inner world of ideas and experiences. They draw their energy from reflecting on thoughts, memories and feelings. Whilst personality preferences clearly predispose people to behave in particular ways and set very broad limits, they leave us with plenty of scope when it comes to ways of behaving. For instance, we all know introverts who are capable of making entertaining after-dinner speeches and extraverts who are outstanding listeners.

Some people use their personalities as an excuse for being unwilling to change behaviour. We are all familiar with the saying, ‘A leopard can’t change its spots’. In fact, whilst it is true that our basic personalities are relatively fixed (except in response to brain damage, brainwashing or the use of drugs), it is possible for us to make significant changes to our behaviour if we so wish.