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Interpersonal Skills in the Workplace: Examples and Importance

  • 0:06 Interpersonal Skills
  • 1:03 Verbal and Non-Verbal…
  • 2:20 Listening Skills and…
  • 3:33 Problem-Solving and…
  • 5:21 Assertiveness
  • 6:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
The ability to communicate within an organization depends heavily upon people's interpersonal skills. These are the tools people use to interact and communicate with individuals in an organizational environment.

Interpersonal Skills

Violet Jones of Intestinal Distress Taco Restaurant has recently hired a brand new assistant manager named Fred Beans. Fred has turned out to be an absolute nightmare supervisor who has no social, communication or interpersonal skills.

Interpersonal skills are the tools people use to interact and communicate with individuals in an organizational environment. There are seven main areas of interpersonal communication that Fred fails at with his workers, and this has led to his immediate termination after working only one month. The seven areas are:

  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Listening skills
  • Negotiation
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Assertiveness

Let's look at the case of Fred Beans to see what happens when employees do not have the interpersonal skills needed to perform at work.

Verbal Communication

Fred failed miserably in verbal communication with his entire staff. The definition of verbal communication is how and what words are used to communicate with individuals. It is the ability to communicate through words with the correct tone and manner.

Fred's initial week with Intestinal Distress Taco revealed that he was not capable of good verbal communication. He mumbled orders and then screamed when employees did anything wrong. Most employees grew to dread working with Fred because they could not understand his directions. He also was not a good non-verbal communicator as well.

Non-Verbal Communication

Another type of interpersonal skill is non-verbal communication, which consists of facial expressions, body language and hand gestures. Fred only communicated with negative non-verbal communication, which consisted of frowns and angry stares.

All of the employees prefer Violet's professional demeanor as she speaks clearly and is animated with positive non-verbal communication. She always has a smile on her face and uses her hands to further explain complicated directions. Two-way communication is essential when developing a set of excellent interpersonal skills.

Listening Skills

Fred also has very ineffective listening skills, which has led to a store crisis happening each week. Listening skills are the ability to hear attentively and process information correctly. Fred was not paying attention when one of the employees told him that they were low on taco meat. Later that week, the store ran out of meat and had to close down temporarily until a shipment was delivered.

Violet was furious at Fred's tendency to ignore important pieces of employee communication. She quickly put him on probation. Fred's behavior continued to decline during the month.


Negotiation is the next type of interpersonal skill that is important to effective business communication. This term means having the ability to discuss and reach an agreement in a professional manner.

Violet excels in negotiation as the employees and customers are always complaining or asking for favors. She is good at listening and discussing situations and then coming up with a fair solution.

On the other hand, Fred ignores any request for discussions and rules with an iron fist. This has caused his employees to view him as unfair and undiplomatic, especially when it comes to solving problems.


The fifth type of interpersonal skill is problem-solving. This is a very important skill for business people to have as constant problems are a common result within organizations.

The ability to find a solution to a problem after considerable thought is Violet's forte. She has solved numerous issues for the restaurant, including how to increase monthly sales.

On the other hand, when Fred is faced with a problem, he ends up in a panic. Last week, a customer complained about the quality of their taco meal. Fred took the complaint personally and ended up calling the customer picky. Violet had to intercede by offering the customer an apology and a few free meal coupons to use for the future. Analyzing options is another interpersonal skill that Fred has yet to master.


A manager has to be able to analyze situations and develop a professional solution within an organizational environment. Decision-making is a key element of interpersonal skills.

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