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7 Most Important Social Skills for Family, Relationships & Leaders

7 Most Important Social Skills for Family, Relationships & Leaders

Personal values, well-defined boundaries and standards, and strong judgment about what is fair and right are the foundation for developing social skills.

Without these basics in place, your social skills will be unfocused and inconsistent, and people won’t know where you stand on important issues.

In this article, you’ll discover seven common social skills that will allow you to quickly and easily build better relationships, both at home and in the workplace. These skills will also help family members stick together. Let’s get right into it.

What are Social Skills?

Social skills are skills related to building personal relationships and maintaining healthy family dynamics.

Social skills are not just for dealing with strangers or casual acquaintances. They apply to every person in your life, whether it’s your mate, your children or other family members, your co-workers, or people with whom you interact regularly in any way.

When you know how to interact effectively with everyone in your life, you’ll build stronger relationships and avoid many difficult problems.

The Benefits of Having Social Skills

Having the right social skills comes with a lot of benefits. The ten most important ones are:

  1. Better home life.
  2. Fewer challenges at work.
  3. Stress reduction.
  4. Peace of mind.
  5. More self-confidence.
  6. Fewer relationship problems.
  7. Less potential for lawsuits.
  8. More job opportunities.
  9. Increased earning potential.
  10. The ability to manage your time more effectively.

What are the 5 Types of Social Skills?

Generally speaking, there are 5 distinct types of social skills. Some suggest that there are more subtypes of social skills, though.

These five most commonly mentioned social skills are empathy, interpersonal skills, intrapersonal skills, communication skills, and listening skills.


Empathy is essential for building genuine relationships with others and improving workplace performance. Empathy refers to your ability to perceive and understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, and experiences.

Empathy is when you know your coworkers’ points of view, acknowledge their input, and share your perspectives openly. With empathy, you can foster a collaborative and successful working relationship with them.

Interpersonal skills

Being able to communicate effectively with your colleagues can help keep them engaged and focused throughout the discussions. Having good interpersonal skills allows you to be sensitive to others’ social cues.

You can also find different methods to adapt your communication styles when interacting with others which will help you to grow your professional connections. Having significant work relationships will also provide you with more career advancement opportunities.

Intrapersonal skills

Intrapersonal skills refer to your ability to recognize your thoughts and feelings. To improve your intrapersonal skills, you may want to be more aware of finding a suitable time and context to share your opinions and set social boundaries and goals.

Communication skills

Effective communication skills, such as active listening, written communication, and nonverbal communication, are instrumental in the workplace.

If you are a salesperson, you may want to develop your active listening skills to understand your potential customers’ needs.

As a team leader, you may want to hone your skills in providing constructive feedback to your subordinates to help them develop and perform better.

Listening skills

Listening and following instructions are two crucial social skills to have in the workplace. As most employers expect employees to follow their instructions, you will need to brush up on the two skills.

You can ask clarifying questions if you do not understand the instructions. You can also take the initiative to offer your opinions or perspectives when necessary.

7 Most Important Social Skills for Family

Let’s now get into more detail and focus on family. The following social skills are crucial for family members.

  1. Assertiveness
  2. Empathy
  3. Active Listening
  4. Conflict Resolution
  5. Mindfulness & Self-Awareness
  6. Communication Skills
  7. Anger Management


Assertiveness involves setting limits on what other people can do to you, sticking up for yourself without being aggressive, respecting other people’s limits, and working out compromises that everyone feels good about.

Being assertive means letting go of guilt, apologizing when necessary, and focusing on your behavior rather than trying to control other people’s feelings. It also means staying in touch with your feelings so that they don’t come out sideways as passive-aggressive behaviors or explode outward as anger.


Empathy is a vital social skill in any kind of relationship, family or otherwise. It’s crucial for healthy communication and conflict resolution because it lets us see things from other people’s points of view and understand their feelings and needs.

If there were no empathy between family members, the conflict would probably occur on a very regular basis. When each member of the family feels understood by the others, conflict becomes less stressful rather than more.

Active Listening

Active listening means that you give the speaker your full attention, without planning what you’re going to say next or mentally preparing your reply.

Active listening shows respect for the other person and helps both of you work out problem-solving solutions.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict resolution is one of the most important social skills that any family can learn. People who are good at resolving conflicts don’t ignore problems or try to pretend they’re not there; they tackle them head-on and work toward finding solutions everyone can live with.

If you grew up in a family where all conflict was resolved through fighting, yelling, or threatening violence, it may be difficult for you to handle conflict without getting overwhelmed by emotions or losing your temper.

You’ll need time and practice to develop new ways of dealing with conflicts so that everyone feels respected and understood rather than threatened.

Mindfulness & Self-Awareness

Mindfulness and self-awareness are two extremely important – but very difficult – social skills for any family to master, particularly if there are a lot of conflicts or anyone in the family has impulse control issues.

Without mindfulness, it’s impossible to think clearly about yourself or other people. When you lack self-awareness, you tend not to recognize your feelings, needs, and triggers until you explode with anger, hurt someone else, or feel deeply ashamed.

Communication Skills

When you communicate effectively with your family, you remove fear from the equation because everyone feels like they’ve been heard. This is important in any relationship, but when there’s a high risk for aggression or violence – as there often is in families – effective communication can save lives.

It’s not easy to learn effective communication skills if you didn’t observe them growing up, but it’s one of the most important social skills you can develop.

Anger Management

If anger had to be a language, then families who don’t learn how to communicate effectively become fluent in aggression and conflict.

Physical violence may occur at home, but more often it’s just constant arguing, shaming, or criticism which tears everyone’s self-esteem down bit by bit until people stop speaking up at all because they’re too afraid of being attacked for disagreeing.

The first step toward learning better anger management skills is recognizing that no matter how angry you feel, violence is never okay.

There are countless ways to deal with feelings of rage, but yelling, punching walls, or calling names has no place in your relationships with family members – not even if you’re mad about something they did.

The next step is setting some clear boundaries with your family members to make sure everyone knows what’s off-limits in terms of violence or aggression. If you live with someone who gets violent when he or she drinks, for instance, set a rule that no one can discuss serious issues while intoxicated.

As long as there are consequences for breaking the rules, your family will learn better anger management skills more quickly. When it comes to social skills, nobody learns them overnight – particularly if you didn’t observe them growing up.

3 Social Skills for Kids

Kids also need to learn these skills because they’ll encounter them in school and with friends, but it’s a lot more difficult for children – especially younger ones – who don’t yet have a strong grasp of the language.

They can pick up some of the most important social skills from observing the adults around them, but it never hurts to help them understand each point better.

Here are the 3 most important social skills every child needs.

  1. Turn-Taking Skills
  2. Empathy & Emotional Awareness
  3. Expressing Needs & Sharing Attention

Turn-Taking Skills

When you’re a baby, someone else can do everything for you. That’s usually easier than trying to coordinate your movements, so turn-taking doesn’t matter when you’re an infant or toddler.

As you get older though, it starts becoming more and more important that you can wait and take turns in conversation – especially if you want to build friendships with other kids. One way to practice turn-taking skills is by having a designated leader.

This person picks the topic of conversation, decides who gets to speak next, and politely takes turns (e.g., saying “thank you” or “please”). At first, the speaker should probably be an adult, but after everyone has had enough practice they can change places.

Younger children might need some help from adults when it comes time to practice their turn-taking skills; however, all this requires is patience and consistency until everyone learns how to do it effectively on their own.

Empathy & Emotional Awareness

Empathy is sometimes called the “social glue” because it’s one of those things that keeps us all connected. It’s what makes us feel compassion for other people and understand why they’re upset or angry about something, which lets us help them cope instead of just ignoring their feelings.

When kids don’t learn how to relate to other people’s emotions, they can become more aggressive and don’t always see a reason to treat others with empathy and sympathy.

When we grow up without knowing about our own emotions (emotional awareness), we sometimes think there’s no way to manage them except by denying everything or letting them run wild like a forest fire.

If you’re still lacking in emotional awareness skills, that’s okay – you can always learn them with a little patience and a lot of practice.

Expressing Needs & Sharing Attention

To express needs, you have to be cognizant of what those needs are first. If you don’t know, it will take longer for others around you to figure it out – which means nobody will meet all your expectations or help you feel better when something’s bothering you.

In the meantime, constant complaining isn’t going to accomplish anything. So when sharing attention, kids need to remember that a parent might need a little time by themselves – or even with another family member.

Sometimes parents will want to go out alone without the children, but they still love them and think about them every time they’re away. Children who don’t learn how to share attention can become resentful because they weren’t given enough of what they wanted.

Related: 20 Social Skills Activities To Help Child & Youth with Development

Social Skills in a Relationship

Having the right social skills makes relationships more manageable and less taxing. In a relationship, the best way to resolve differences with your partner is by communicating effectively.

This is often difficult for people who are naturally stubborn, like those who get riled up when challenged and resort to yelling or getting defensive instead of addressing the real issues at hand. When faced with a partner’s negative feedback, try not to focus on anything too personal (like how wrong they may be).

Instead, look at it as unbiased information that can help you improve your relationship. Remember: good leaders listen and learn – especially from their mistakes. People must learn how to respect the boundaries of others, even when they want something from them.

This means respecting their time by not calling too often or asking for a lot without offering enough in return. In a relationship, this means learning how to get what you need from one another while still being considerate of each other’s needs and wants.

You must also understand that your partner might have different values that may be worth sacrificing for the sake of a common goal – like having a family together.

7 Crucial Social Skills for Leaders & Managers

As a leader and manager, you will be expected to have some of the most important social skills that help build a good relationship with your subordinates.

Sometimes you might even have to break some bad news to them, and it’ll be crucial that you’re able to communicate effectively so nobody feels left out or hurt during the process.

The following are the 7 most important social skills for leaders and managers:

  1. Remembering Names
  2. Active Listening
  3. Empathy
  4. Negotiation
  5. Assertiveness
  6. Decision-making
  7. Motivation

Remembering Names

This is one of the most basic yet also most difficult tasks as a leader. This can be used in business negotiation and sales, as the power of a name increases with repeated exposure.

However, this is not limited to business alone; you can practice your name-remembering skills in your free time – perhaps by saying “How are you today?” every time you see somebody and ask for their name if they haven’t introduced themselves.

Active Listening

For leaders, it’s important to listen carefully so they know what’s going on at all times without having to rely on others’ reports or guesswork. This isn’t just about gathering intelligence, though: active listening also means showing that the leader has heard the subordinate and understood his/her concerns.

This can be used in business by listening to the client’s needs and concerns, for example. You have to show that you not only “get it” but also feel the same way – so even if you can’t meet all their requests, you’ll at least know what to offer.


Empathy means being able to understand someone else’s position based on where they’re coming from. In business, it means understanding what the client is trying to communicate – even if they’re saying something you don’t want to hear.

This can be used in daily interactions as well. For instance, when somebody asks about your day and doesn’t seem interested in the answer you give, empathize by trying to figure out what happened in their day.


It’s not enough for a leader to know what he/she wants; it will be important to figure out what the other party wants and how much it’s worth.

This is necessary when you have to ask your team members about something, or if you’re in a position where you need to get other people on board with helping you accomplish certain goals.

In business negotiations, this can mean trying to resolve differences by seeing things from the other person’s point of view – even if they didn’t express it until now. It also means being able to say “No,” if that’s the only way you can get what you want.


A good leader knows how and when not to back down. This means learning when to say yes and when to say no, even if the other party has more power over you than vice versa. This can be used in business negotiations, especially in dealing with difficult people who try to take advantage of your good nature.

For example, if they know you always give in – however unreasonable their demands may be – they will continue asking for more until you finally say “No.”


A great leader is also a decisive one. Whether she/he has all the information needed to make an informed decision or not, the fact remains that leaders are expected to show leadership by making major decisions on behalf of everyone else instead of leaving them guessing about what’s going on.

This can be used in business negotiations, where you have to figure out which demands are worth giving into and which ones should be declined – all while still keeping the other party happy.

You may also use this when assigning tasks to others, by setting expectations about what needs to be done and why.


Who doesn’t want leaders who can motivate them? The best way for a leader to motivate his/her team is by leading by example. This means working harder than everyone else or taking on special projects that nobody else is capable of completing.

It may also mean setting clear expectations and managing performance to ensure everyone will work harder – even if it means working themselves out of a job.

Leaders must understand that motivating others also involves protecting them from the harsh realities of life so they don’t give up or lose confidence in what they can do.

This protects their morale, which is especially important when facing impossible odds. Remember: no matter how much you know, there are times when you’re bound to fail – but your ability to rebound and find the motivation to go again, is what makes you stronger than all the rest.

How to Measure Your Social Skills?

Measuring your social skills is incredibly easy – just listen to the way you talk. Make a point of noticing when people change their tone, speed, or volume in response to something you say because this is often a sign that your words have affected them whether positively or negatively.

If you realize that they seem upset every time you speak, then try changing your approach by saying the same thing more respectfully (e.g. “I know I can be pretty harsh sometimes but please understand that I’m only trying to help” vs “You’re so stupid, don’t ever do that again.”).

Similarly, pay attention to how other people react when they listen to what you say – especially if it’s unclear whether they agree with anything.

How to Develop Your Social Skills?

Developing social skills requires patience and a desire to always improve yourself and your relationships with other people. You must remember that effective communication is like a muscle: it grows stronger the more you use it.

The more you communicate, the better you’ll be at handling differences in opinions or when dealing with difficult social situations.

10 Steps To Develop Social Skills

  1. Open your mind and heart before opening your mouth.
  2. Prepare for the conversation by thinking about what you want to say before saying it out loud.
  3. Start with respect and work your way up from there.
  4. Avoid confrontations by not taking things personally – even if others do.
  5. If you have to fight, fight fair.
  6. The bigger person.
  7. Learn to read body language.
  8. Have a positive mindset
  9. Sometimes stopping the fight is crucial.
  10. The importance of the follow-up.
  11. Express appreciation.
  12. Ask for feedback
  13. Stay in touch.

Open your mind and heart before opening your mouth

This means listening to others and not trying to impose your value system on them. Remember: good leaders understand that there is more than one way of doing things – so they don’t try to force their opinions on others.

Prepare for the conversation by thinking about what you want to say before saying it out loud

This helps avoid misunderstandings because you have time to think instead of blurting something out without stopping to consider how your words could be interpreted.

This also allows you time to carefully choose the right words for maximum impact, rather than just rambling about random thoughts that come into your head.

Start with respect and work your way up from there

You must show respect towards everyone else first by being polite and professional. This not only makes it easier to resolve differences but allows you to do so with tact and consideration for the other person.

Avoid confrontations by not taking things personally – even if others do

Stop the fight by letting the other person know that you’re not interested in continuing an argument with them – no matter how right you may think you are.

This will stop any further back-and-forth bickering and give both sides a chance to calm down before resuming communication.

Sometimes stopping the fight is crucial

This means not letting others ruin your day by getting under your skin or constantly trying to stir up arguments. Remember: nobody can make you angry without your permission.

The bigger person

Be the bigger person by accepting responsibility for your part in an argument, which prevents you from resorting to name-calling or making things more personal than they need to be.

Learn to read body language

Do you know that 93% of your communication comes from nonverbal communication? Nonverbal communication refers to your body language, facial expressions, and gestures. So, it is essential for you to develop this skill.

Body language may reveal a lot about how a person is feeling without them being aware of it. Each individual’s body language may differ from one person to another.

However, as you start observing others, you will see some common themes of gestures and body language. Knowing how to read a person’s facial expressions, body movements, or posture can reveal a lot about them.

Have a positive mindset

Developing your social skills can be challenging. But having the right mindset can help you bounce back after feeling like you messed up a conversation. Don’t give yourself too much stress if you think your social skills are not improving.

These skills are not something that can be learned overnight! Learning through your experiences and constant practicing is what will help you master these skills.

If you have to fight, fight fair

Fight fair by finding out what’s bothering someone instead of immediately trying to defend yourself or telling them they’re wrong/jealous/overreacting, etc. This prevents arguments from turning into battles no one will win (like when people start criticizing each other’s character).

The importance of the follow-up

Follow up on what you say by keeping your word once an issue has been settled for good. Doing so will help prevent any future misunderstandings because there won’t be any unresolved problems hanging over everyone’s heads.

Express appreciation

When someone does something nice for you instead of focusing on what they did wrong, express gratitude. Remember: every interaction is a chance to grow closer and strengthen your relationship with another person.

Ask for feedback

It’s critical to be receptive to constructive feedback from others if you want to strengthen your social skills. After giving a presentation or a meeting, find someone you can trust and ask for honest feedback about your skills.

Be open and accepting of others’ feedback and criticism. Once you identify the areas of development, you can start putting a concentrated effort into improving that area of your social skills.

Stay in touch

Keep in contact by staying in touch regularly – whether it be through email, phone calls, social media, or other methods.

This allows you to stay close even when you’re not physically together, which assures that the whole family is still connected despite any possible changes brought about by work, relationships, starting a family, or moving away from home.

How to Improve Your Social Skills?

Improving your social skills starts with understanding your weaknesses and the reasons why you do what you do.

For example, if you’re often criticized for talking too much or not listening to others, then make a point of staying quiet when someone else is speaking (even if they interrupt you) and asking them questions so that they know you are paying attention.

You can also improve your social skills by learning from the mistakes of others. This means reading about other people’s experiences so that you know how family & friends typically react in certain situations – which will give you an advantage over those who have spent their lives avoiding uncomfortable conversations.

10 Activities for Improving Social Skills

  1. Try something different every week
  2. Understand the other person’s perspective
  3. Find a mentor
  4. Be a leader
  5. Listen actively
  6. Get rid of distractions
  7. Make eye contact
  8. Control your tone of voice
  9. Be open-minded
  10. Don’t be too critical

Try something different every week

Trying something different every week will help you take advantage of every possible opportunity to grow and learn something new – which means that you’ll never run out of things to talk about.

Understand the other person’s perspective

To improve your social skills, be sure to make time for people who are important in your life by asking them how they feel about what’s going on.

This will allow you to empathize with their feelings, values, and goals so that you can communicate better by delivering information from their perspective instead of just using your own words.

Find a mentor

When someone speaks to you, make sure you are listening actively by not only focusing your attention on the speaker but also asking them questions to show that you’re paying attention and care about what they have to say.

Listen actively

Find a mentor who is good at dealing with family & friends, or someone who has become an effective communicator despite experiencing communication problems in the past – and ask them if they’re willing to help you improve your social skills.

Be a leader

Become more of a leader by taking the initiative and taking charge every once in a while – which means that you’re responsible for making sure everyone else feels welcome, included, and valued.

Get rid of distractions

Removing distractions is an easy way to make sure that you give someone your full, undivided attention when speaking or listening to them. This means turning off the TV, closing the door, and shutting down all other technology (including your phone) so that you can stay focused and aware of any signs that they may be feeling upset.

Make eye contact

Make eye contact when you speak to someone so that they know you’re paying attention and care about what they have to say.

Control your tone of voice

Control the tone of your voice by always speaking more loudly and slowly than normal (because this makes people think that you’re angry or upset), and then gradually speeding up until you’ve returned to your normal pace – which gives the impression that everything is fine.

Be open-minded

When someone says something wrong, don’t let anger get the better of you and listen patiently while keeping an open mind. This will make you seem more mature and calm by demonstrating that you can empathize with their perspective.

Don’t be too critical

Avoid being too critical of other people because this makes them feel like they’re not good enough or welcome in your presence, and then they’ll become less likely to want to spend time with you. Similarly, don’t tell someone that the way they’re thinking is just wrong.

How to Develop and Improve Social Skills in the Workplace?

Improve your self-esteem and confidence

People usually avoid communicating with their colleagues at work because they lack confidence. They are afraid of saying something wrong, so they would rather keep quiet.

When speaking to others, don’t assume that what they say is always correct and you are wrong. Your experiences and viewpoints are not only valuable, but they may be what others need to hear.

Participate in team and office discussion

In the office, people will be talking about different topics of interest, including sports and politics. When you encounter an argument during a discussion, practice conveying your views and opinions with justification.

Remember to keep an open mind whenever you are in discussion with others. Be open to constructive feedback and criticism from others. When others point out something wrong in what you said, accept it gracefully.

Volunteer yourself when given the opportunity to deliver presentations

The social skills needed in the workplace may not necessarily be the same as those required in your personal life. Giving presentations to stakeholders often reflects your competence and knowledge level in a particular area. Individuals with insufficient experience are not suitable to deliver any presentations.

To get to that level, you must first volunteer for every available presentation opportunity. You can start small by presenting to your team members. When you are confident in your presentation skills, you can look for opportunities to present to clients.

How To Improve Social Skills as an Introvert?

As an introvert looking to improve your social skills recognize that it is acceptable to remain quiet during interaction with others. You can learn to step out of your comfort zone by looking around you for social events or individuals you are interested in.

Then make an effort to connect with these individuals and projects. Before starting a conversation with others, you can prepare a list of conversation starters ahead of time.

Identify the professional individuals you want to network with within an event or webinar. Then think about a common topic or shared interest that you can utilize to initiate a conversation with these individuals.

Overall Conclusion Of Social Skills

In conclusion, understanding the most important social skills for family, relationships & leaders will help you improve your social ability and make other people feel more comfortable around you.

Also by building your relationship with other people through good social skills (like listening and communicating effectively), you will be able to resolve problems quickly, communicate effectively with others, make friends easily, be more persuasive and influence people’s thinking in your life.

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