Communication 101

Using Interpersonal Skills To Motivate Your Team

September 17, 2022
5 min read

Leaders must be able to motivate their teams to achieve success. One of the most crucial tools for leaders is their ability to use interpersonal skills to build relationships and motivate their team. Interpersonal skills involve a leader's ability to understand and interact with others, including subordinates, superiors, peers, and customers.

A leader with strong interpersonal skills can create a positive work environment by establishing trust, displaying respect, and communicating effectively. This type of leader can help to resolve conflicts and encourage employees to give their best effort. In short, good interpersonal skills can help a leader to build a motivated team that is focused on achieving common goals.

Sound like the kind of leader you want to be? This Poised article will teach you more about interpersonal skills and how to use them effectively with your team.

What Are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills (often referred to as “people skills” or “social skills”) are those that enable you to interact effectively with other people. This includes being able to communicate clearly, listen carefully, and understand what others are saying. It involves having the ability to resolve conflicts and build relationships.

Some specific examples of interpersonal skills include:

  • Listening well
  • Speaking clearly
  • Initiating conversation
  • Asking meaningful questions
  • Emotional maturity
  • Conflict resolution
  • Public speaking

Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Nelson Mandela excelled in their interpersonal abilities. They were able to motivate people to achieve common goals through their communication and conflict resolution skills. They built relationships with others, which helped to create a healthy and productive work environment.

Sherly Sandberg, Warren Buffett, and Oprah Winfrey are a few examples of modern-day business leaders known for their exceptional interpersonal communication. It would be improbable for them to reach their level of success without the ability to build strong relationships!

Let's dive a bit deeper into the specific interpersonal skills above so that you can start growing today:

Listening Well

A leader who can listen well can understand the needs of their team and what they're saying. This involves active listening, which means paying attention not only to the words being said but also to the body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal communication. It requires you to resist the urge to interrupt and give the speaker your full attention.

Some tips for improving your listening skills include:

  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Nodding your head to show that you're following along
  • Asking clarifying questions
  • Paraphrasing what your partner said to ensure that you understand

According to a recent worldwide study of more than 4,000 participants, 74% of employees stated that they are more motivated and productive when they feel heard. Listening well is a crucial interpersonal skill for leaders because it allows them to build trust with their team. It helps to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunications.

Speaking Clearly

It's essential that you speak clearly when communicating with your team members because it ensures that everyone is on the same page and knows what needs to be done. It shows that you're confident in what you're saying. This can help to motivate your team and get them more invested in the task at hand.

Keep these points in mind when speaking to your team:

  • Make sure you speak slowly and clearly to help everyone understand you better.
  • Refrain from using jargon or technical terms that not everyone may be familiar with.
  • Repeat the main points several times throughout the conversation.
  • Ask questions to ensure that everyone is following along.
  • Encourage team members to ask questions if they are unclear about anything.

Achieving good communication with these tips will go a long way in motivating your team to collaborate and accomplish goals.

Initiating Conversation

There are many benefits to initiating conversations with your team members. It can help build rapport, trust, and understanding. It can also motivate team members to achieve their goals.

Sparking conversation shows that you care about your employees and their work. It demonstrates your willingness to listen to their ideas and concerns. This can help create a more positive work environment and increase employee satisfaction.

Initiating conversation can be challenging, especially if it doesn't come naturally. These five tips can help even the most introverted leaders strike up a productive conversation:

1. Be genuine in your interest. Ask questions about their work and their lives outside of work. Show that you care about them as people, not just employees.

2. Be a good listener. Truly listen to what your team members are saying; don't just wait for your turn to speak.

3. Encourage open communication. Encourage your team members to share ideas and concerns openly. Let them know that you value their input.

4. Follow up after conversations. Send a follow-up email or note to thank your team members for their time and to reiterate your commitment to working together.

5. Make it a habit. Initiating conversation should be a regular part of your interactions with your team members. As you practice, it will become second nature over time (perhaps sooner than you think!).

Asking Meaningful Questions

It's crucial to ask your team members meaningful questions to get to know them better and motivate them. By doing so, you'll be able to better understand their individual needs and how to best support them.

So what exactly makes a question meaningful in the workplace? Start with these examples:

  • How do you prefer to be recognized for your contributions?
  • What can I do to help you feel more supported in your role?
  • When you're feeling stressed, what helps you feel better?
  • What are your thoughts on our current project?
  • Do you have any suggestions on how we could improve our process?

These are merely a handful of ideas — get creative and tailor your questions to fit your team's unique needs. The more you know about your team members, the more effectively you'll be able to motivate them. So don't be afraid to ask away!

Emotional Maturity

We must all remember to behave with unparalleled emotional maturity in any and all business settings. This means staying calm under pressure, constructively handling conflict, and maintaining a positive attitude.

Remaining emotionally immature can lead to some severe consequences in the workplace. It can damage relationships, create tension and disharmony, and lead to a decrease in productivity. So if you want to develop effective leadership skills, work on your emotional intelligence.

Here are five tips for staying emotionally mature in the workplace:

1. Be aware of your triggers. What are the things that tend to set you off? Once you know what they are, you can be more mindful of them and take steps to avoid them.

2. Practice self-control. When you're feeling angry or frustrated, take a step back and breathe. This will help you stay calm and constructive in your interactions with others.

3. Be solution-oriented. When there's a problem, focus on finding a solution instead of placing blame. This will help diffuse tension and keep things moving forward.

4. Communicate effectively. When communicating with others, always be clear, direct, and respectful. This will help avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding.

5. Stay positive. Having a positive attitude can be contagious. It can help reduce stress and promote a more productive work environment.

Developing emotional maturity doesn't happen without intention and dedication. Depart from your comfort zone, and commit to the long game.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship, including the ones you have with your team members. While it's impossible to avoid, it's essential to know how to effectively resolve conflict when it arises.

There are many different approaches to conflict management, but the key is to find one that works for you and your team. Some standard techniques include mediation, arbitration, and negotiation.

The main lesson here is to always stay calm and respectful. This will help diffuse the tension and make it more likely that you'll be able to find a resolution that everyone can agree on.

Public Speaking

Research reports that to be an effective leader; you need to be comfortable with public speaking: the specific language used in corporate earning calls could boost stock prices by 2.5%. Similarly, researchers found that speakers who appeared authentic were deemed to be 1.3 times more trustworthy than their peers.

This means being able to confidently deliver a presentation, lead a meeting, or give a speech.

Public speaking can be daunting, but there are ways to make it easier. Start by preparing ahead of time. This means knowing your material inside and out. It means practicing, so you can feel more confident when it's time to deliver.

When you're speaking, try to focus on connecting with your audience. This means making eye contact, using facial expressions, and speaking clearly and concisely (and don't forget to breathe).

How Can Your Interpersonal Skills Motivate Your Team?

There's no one answer to this question; it depends on your team and what you feel would be most effective. But here are a few general tips:

Inspire Your Employees With Strong Communication

One tactic for team motivation is effective communication. This means being clear and concise in your instructions and providing regular feedback — both positive and negative.

Remember to listen to your team members. You must learn their needs to understand how you can best support them, and listening is the quickest way to build trust and rapport.

Finally, always be respectful in your interactions. This will show your team that you value them and their contributions.

Gain Your Team’s Respect

Your team will be more motivated if they respect you as a leader. You can earn their respect by being fair and consistent in your decision-making and by always following through on your promises.

Being a role model for the behavior you expect from your team is essential. If you want them to be punctual, you must be punctual yourself. If you want them to be passionate and committed, you must show them you are too.

Here are a few other tips for earning respect from your team members:

  • Be honest and transparent.
  • Be open to feedback.
  • Admit when you're wrong.
  • Be fair and consistent in your decision-making.
  • Follow through on your promises.

At the end of the day, be the leader you want to follow, and your team will develop the fire to succeed.

Communicate Your Expectations Clearly

If you want your team to meet — and exceed — your expectations, you need to be clear about what those expectations are. This means communicating your vision and goals for the project, as well as any deadlines or benchmarks.

It's crucial to provide regular updates on the project's progress so that everyone stays on track and is motivated. Further, remember to give credit where it's due. When your team members do a good job, let them know! A little recognition can go a long way in fostering productive teamwork.

How Can Poised Help Executives Develop Their Interpersonal Skills?

Poised is a communication coach that helps business executives improve their interpersonal skills. Our one-of-a-kind software helps leaders navigate communication challenges and connect with team members more effectively.

Get Real-Time Feedback on Video Calls

Poised provides real-time feedback on a wide range of communication metrics, including speaking clarity, eye contact, and facial expressions. It also tracks filler words and gives tips on how to minimize them. The coach will help you fine-tune your communication for maximum impact.

Let Poised Be Your Speech Coach

Poised works for thousands of business leaders and professionals across many industries. While there's still a place for human communication coaches, our software offers everything you need to become an impactful communicator and motivate your team during video calls.

Improve Your Confidence in Communication

When you have the tools and feedback to improve your communication skills, you'll naturally feel more confident in your abilities. This newfound confidence will shine through during your interactions with others, making you an even more effective leader.


Interpersonal skills are indispensable when it comes to motivating your team. Being able to listen well, speak clearly, and initiate conversation will quickly get your team on board.

You also need to learn how to ask meaningful questions and display emotional maturity during times of conflict. Lastly, don't forget that becoming a confident speaker will inspire your team and convey the importance of the task at hand.


New Survey Shows the Business Benefit of Feeling Heard – 5 Ways To Build Inclusive Teams | Forbes

7 Ways To Start a Conversation That Leads Where You Want It To | Inc

Personal Courage and Conflict Resolution at Work | LiveAbout

A Big Data Approach to Public Speaking | Stanford Graduate School of Business

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