Develop both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills

Five Pillars to develop both Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Skills

As social creatures, humans have the need for establishing connections with others, also known as relationships, which exist in many different ways. Whether in the professional sphere, with customers, companies, employees, co-workers, stakeholders, educational institutions… be it in the personal aspect, with family, friends, loving partners, social groups, religious, and many others.

In this article, we will find information about interpersonal and intrapersonal skills. We will get to know how we can develop them and see both distinction and similarities in them.


For a long time, the prevailing conception of the concept of intelligence was that human beings had a unique intelligence, equal to those of too much, and that should be measured by the tests of the intellectual quotient (IQ).

Psychologist and researcher Howard Gardner was the one who questioned in the decade 1980 this current conception of intelligence, proposing the study of Multiple Intelligences. The author used the term multiple to highlight an undetermined number of differentiated human capacities.

According to Gardner, “an individual possesses several bits of intelligence and not just one, and each intelligence is used to accomplish something different as composing a song, invent the machine, solve problems, choose the best route to go to school, create projects and contribute to the understanding of the cultural context.”

Gardner’s studies point to eight types of intelligence, in which the author has chosen to explore the i) interpersonal and ii) intrapersonal. Gardner understands intelligence as the ability to solve problems or create products valued within one or more cultural settings.

What is Intrapersonal Skills/ Intelligence?

Intrapersonal intelligence is the capacity to know oneself, to be well to know the limits, the desires, the fears, and to manage the feelings to achieve goals.

Often mistaken with interpersonal skills, the intrapersonal relationship is an individual’s ability to integrate self-knowledge, self-mastery, self-assertion, and self-affirmation.

Intrapersonal SkillsInterpersonal Skills
DefinitionThe intrapersonal relationship is the act of knowing oneself, identifying strengths, and needing improvement, emotions, and skills;The interpersonal relationship concerns the relationship with others, the way we deal with our colleagues, bosses, superiors, clients, and all those involved in the work environment;
BenefitsIntrapersonal skills allow people to use effective thought processes and mental habits to succeed in personal and professional relationships.Interpersonal skills describe a person’s ability to interact with others positively and cooperatively.
DevelopmentA person with intrapersonal skills can communicate stemming from both conscious and subconscious thoughts.Unlike technical skills people attend school to learn, interpersonal skills are usually developed over time through interactions.
How can we identify?It’s the way we see ourselvesand how we react to several day-to-day situations;It has a lot to do with our reaction before other people of our conviviality, both personal and professional;
Which skills need to be mastered?
It’s the constant search for self-knowledge, self-control, emotional and self-esteem.The integration of self-knowledge, self-mastery, and automotive acquired in the relationship intrapersonal, is the basis for the realization of interpersonal relationships.

It is important to emphasize that a person who owns an intrapersonal intelligence can easily understand, identify, manage their actions, feelings, and emotions appropriate to the various situations of everyday life, meeting their personal goals of reflection and self-assessment.

Intrapersonal abilities are based on the knowledge and understanding of what is happening within us: the «intra» inner meaning. Intrapersonal skills are needed to steer our three subsystems optimally: emotions, thoughts, and consciousness. 

5 Intrapersonal Skills to Master

  1. Self-Knowledge

Knowing yourself can be quite a challenge, as many people do not pay enough attention to their feelings, values, and impulses. A series of research was conducted in the US by psychologist Tasha Eurich, which concluded that only 15% of people are conscious of themselves and have an accurate self-image.

As the word itself makes explicit, self-knowledge is the ability to know oneself. In the most diverse aspects, from emotional to small attitudes. That is to say, to know oneself within one’s individuality.

  1. Self-Regulation

Refers to the ability to act based on prior knowledge of our emotions. It also includes the ability to reflect on one’s emotions, their causes, and how to work on them. It is based on self-control, reliability, adaptability, and innovation skills.

  1. Self-Motivation

It is the capacity by which we can set, meet our own goals and objectives, and make efforts based on what we want to achieve. Self-motivation is about achievement, commitment, initiative, and optimism.

  1. Goal Definition

Each time we determine, pursue and achieve goals, we are practicing our intrapersonal intelligence. It’s not enough to have self-knowledge; you have to define precisely what you want.

Each time you determine, pursue and achieve goals, you are exercising your intrapersonal intelligence.

  1. Value Identification

Finally, the identification of values represents the last fundamental characteristic of intrapersonal intelligence. What is important to you: freedom, honesty, justice?

This question must be answered with absolute sincerity so that you can set your real priorities and align them with your life purpose.

Once you have discovered your core values, you should cross each with your life goals, ensuring consistent. This is one of the great secrets of intrapersonal intelligence: to know oneself well enough to harmonize one’s objectives with one’s principles.

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What is Interpersonal Skills/Intelligence?

Interpersonal intelligence is the competence to understand and relate with others. They may be therapists, teachers, politicians, actors, salespeople, students who take leadership or understand when a colleague is not well.

Interpersonal relationships refer to behaviors and abilities that a person can develop, which positively favor their social life. When well developed, this ability can contribute to more satisfying interactions with others.

According to Daniel Goleman, a pioneer author on emotional intelligence, we can define interpersonal intelligence as understanding other people and their respective motivations. Only from this understanding can we become able to work cooperatively with them.

3 Interpersonal Skills to Master

  1. Assertiveness

It consists of a social and communication ability that allows you to defend your point of view or others positively and clearly. In the same way, it helps us not passively accept something with which we disagree.

In the field of psychology, to be assertive is to manifest oneself firmly and constructively, promoting equality in interpersonal relations; those who have this competence can respect the feelings and thoughts of other people without leaving their own aside. 

It is a dynamic based on respect and empathy, as the needs and limits of all parties involved are taken into account.

  1. Capacity for social analysis

Ability to detect the concerns and motivations of others, facilitating the creation of deeper links that will build a relationship that others can easily trust you. A high level of interpersonal intelligence serves as the basis for an individual’s social success. 

These people tend to be emotionally stimulating, making others feel good about themselves. In addition, it is common for them to master how to tune in to the feelings of others, adapting as needed.

  1. Empathy

Empathy is considered to be the central pillar of emotional intelligence. In any area of life, it becomes fundamental to understand how the other is feeling. 

Often emotions are not expressed verbally, and this understanding can occur on different, more tenuous levels; commonly, people who can empathize “read” non-verbal signals such as changes in facial expression, postures, gestures, and tone of voice.

Five Pillars to develop both Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Skills

  1. Self-Knowledge

The more we get to know ourselves and recognize our strengths, qualities, weaknesses, and limitations, the easier it will be to acknowledge the other and accept it as it is.

  1. Empathy 

That is the ability to put yourself in the other’s place to understand their views, opinions, and motivations, and from this, it is possible to reach an agreement with people.

  1. Assertiveness 

That is the ability to express our wills, our opinions in a clear, objective, serene and respectful way.

  1. Cordiality and Kindness

With small gestures like a good day at the beginning of an email, hold the door of an elevator for someone to come in, and help a person collect papers that fell to the ground, all of it demonstrates that we have an appreciation for the other person. 

Cordiality is a facilitator of relationships in the workplace.

  1. Ethics

This means that, in the conduct of our actions, not harm the other deliberately, not break the agreements made, not break the word and not go against everything considered right and just.


Intrapersonal intelligence primarily involves the analysis and knowledge that an individual makes of his feelings, while interpersonal intelligence looks outward toward the behavior, feelings, and motivations. Developing this particular type of intelligence is key in order to become a more balanced, mature, and interesting to hang out type of person.

References and Further Reading

AcethePresentation. Intrapersonal Skills Vs. Interpersonal Skills

Gardner, H. (2003). Multiple intelligences after twenty years. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Illinois.

Matterapp. Interpersonal vs. Intrapersonal Skills: Why You Need Both to Succeed

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