The 3 Different Types Of Interpersonal Roles

DiscussionLet’s take a closer look at a manager’s interpersonal roles..

As a manager, your interpersonal roles will be dictated by the type of position you hold.

Lower level managers will have different interpersonal roles than middle management.

The same goes for upper management as well.

Interpersonal roles

The interpersonal roles of a manager include acting as:

  • a manager
  • a leader
  • a team player

As a manager, your interpersonal role is to ensure everyone understands their roles, their responsibilities, their tasks and their objectives.

It’s getting the tasks done THROUGH people. That doesn’t mean just barking out orders but it’s communicating in a way that creates buy-in to getting work done.

It’s the “how” rather than the “what” and that’s why there is a big difference between the Management Skills Training that we deliver and the Leadership Development Training programmes that we run. There is a different emphasis.

When you hear the term “management” you normally think of the need to manage resources and tasks, rather than people.

I like to think that they go hand in hand. The tasks don’t get done themselves!

So, the skills required include:

  • Planning confidently
  • Organising efficiently
  • Controlling effectively

These include the ability to manage budgets, set effective targets and be objective when determining time management challenges.

How should these tasks be communicated?

Your interpersonal skills will determine the success of whatever needs to be accomplished.

So, be clear about your expectations. Be accurate concerning your needs and wants. And be conclusive about your desires on deadlines to be accomplished.

What about your role as a leader?

This is where your interpersonal skills can really be developed.

We noted earlier that we manage tasks and resources.

We also need to remember that people don’t want to be managed; but they do want to be lead.

Here are some skills that can be developed over time

Communication skills, which include Verbal Communication – what we say and how we say it; Non-Verbal Communication – what we communicate without words, for example through body language, or tone of voice; and

Listening Skills – how we interpret both the verbal and non-verbal messages sent by others.

Emotional intelligence – being able to understand and manage your own and others’ emotions.

Team-working – being able to work with others in groups and teams, both formal and informal.

Negotiation, persuasion and influencing skills – working with others to find a mutually agreeable (Win/Win) outcome. This may be considered a subset of communication, but it is often treated separately.

Conflict resolution and mediation – working with others to resolve interpersonal conflict and disagreements in a positive way, which again may be considered a subset of communication.

Problem solving and decision-making – working with others to identify, define and solve problems, which includes making decisions about the best course of action. By improving these specific skills, you create chances to motivate and engage your team to produce more and build more impetus.

You also need to show great interpersonal skills as a team player. You may not see yourself as a member of a team, but instead as the figurehead. But your role as a team player should also be developed. Our interpersonal roles often cover the job as a team player.

How can you do this?

Team players: – Create a team ethos – Build on team goals – Act as support frames – Know their skills, strengths and weaknesses

The interpersonal skills required include: – Good quality meeting skills – Creative problem-solving skills – Emphatic decision-making skills – Excellent questioning and listening skills

Being a manager requires us to play different interpersonal roles at different times. Our interpersonal skills will determine the success of the roles we play, and will help support our overall success rates.

Additional interpersonal roles resources

Here are some useful resources on interpersonal roles.

Please click below for more:

communication vs interpersonal skills


I hope these resources have helped you. If you’re looking to take your management game onto the next level then we have a number of Management Training solutions that can help you including a FREE Online Management Course that consists of 5 video modules and supporting materials. The course covers effective coaching, leadership styles, how to delegate, how to manage your teams and everything you need to know about how to give and receive feedback!

Thanks again



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training

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Updated on: 22 October, 2019

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