College of Business

Three skills employees want from leaders

By Maggie Reynolds | October 10, 2023

To be an effective leader, you need interpersonal skills. Employees are looking for leaders who are willing to help them develop at work. Leaders should practice building their interpersonal skills to motivate employees.

The fastest way to grow as a leader is to go back to school. Charleston Southern University has a great Master of Arts in organizational leadership program. These are the top three interpersonal skills that employees desire in their leaders:

Active Listening

Active listening is a necessary interpersonal skill that will help you build strong relationships. Collaboration in the classroom will allow you to practice active listening. Being surrounded by people who are seeking to improve their leadership abilities will motivate you to listen actively.

Dr. Rick Fulwiler from Harvard School of Public Health states, “actively listening to others lets them know that you are interested in their needs, as well as what they’re trying to say. When people feel that you care about them, they will be more likely to follow your leadership.”

Listening provides the greatest opportunity to learn. When your employees feel their words matter, you will earn their respect.


Empathy is a common characteristic that people desire from those who are leading them. According to Forbes, “when people felt their leaders were more empathetic, 86% reported they can navigate the demands of their work and life—successfully juggling their personal, family, and work obligations. This is compared with 60% of those who perceived less empathy.” Positive outcomes abound when a leader creates empathy within the workplace.

Conflict Resolution

Being in a classroom will provide useful techniques in conflict resolution. These techniques can later be used in the workplace.

Blogger John Mattone wrote, “Psychology research has demonstrated that from a very young age, people expect leaders to play a role in resolving grievances and correcting injustice. Most adults don’t expect leaders to magically fix interpersonal conflicts, but they do look to their leaders for assistance.” People look to leaders when conflicts arise, so leaders must be equipped with the skills to resolve disputes.

You cannot develop conflict resolution skills without getting experience dealing with conflict. Being in a classroom full of leaders has taught me conflict resolution skills, such as asking questions, maintaining accountability, adapting to changing environments, and respecting different leadership styles. These skills will increase your ability to become a global leader.


To be the best leader possible, you must continually build your leadership skills. Charleston Southern University’s organizational leadership program is a great place to master these skills. It will also make a difference in your relationships with your employees.

The top three interpersonal skills needed are active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution. These skills will help you become the leader that your employees need you to be.

Maggie Reynolds is a student-athlete on the women’s soccer team at Charleston Southern University where she is pursuing her MBA. She graduated with her BA in international business from Houston Baptist University.


Brower, T. (2022, January 12). Empathy is the most important leadership skill according to research. Forbes. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from Forbes.

Mattone, J. (2019, August 12). 5 skills that help leaders with conflict resolution. John Mattone Global, Inc. Retrieved July 15, 2022, from John Mattone.

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