Communication Skills vs. Interpersonal Skills

Previously, we have discussed the various skills important to effective management.

Each is important as you work on your personal management skills and leadership development.

Today we’ll take a brief look at interpersonal skills and communication skills.

At first glance, one might think these two terms mean the same thing, but in reality there are important differences.

I do not, however, believe that an individual can use one correctly without having developed the other.

Interpersonal skills refer to the ability of a manager to communicate with and understand his team.

Included with this are the abilities to get along with others on a personal level, to maintain a professional level of empathy towards the situations your subordinates may be experiencing, and to simply get along with people on a personal level.

Everyone you work with is a person with individual feelings and needs.

Communication skills, on the other hand, involve your ability to take an idea or set of instructions and convey them to your audience in a manner that is comprehensible.

These skills will enable you to give clear instructions, communicate ideas to your team, and keep upper management informed of the status of your current projects.

Both communication and interpersonal skills are important, but each is more effective with then other than alone.

It doesn’t matter how nice you are (interpersonal) if the instructions you give cause confusion.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how clear your instructions are (communication) if your team members think you are rude, cold, and cruel.

Take a look at your own management process and style in an effort to determine whether or not you need to strengthen either of these areas.

You might find that you, or other members of your team, may benefit from incorporating some communication exercises into your next management training session.

Before I sign off, here are some more articles on improving your communication and interpersonal skills:

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

(Image by stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.