At management level, good written and verbal communication is assumed. So the development focus here is not on establishing these fundamental abilities, but on applying these skills with sophistication to complex situations.

Five areas for development are highlighted overleaf: building working relationships; influence, negotiation and managing conflict; strategic communication; conducting meetings; and representing professionally.

There is no prescribed approach to any of these areas within the Victorian public sector. However, the Victorian public sector values* provide an important framework within which public sector relationships and interactions occur.

Other Development Guides also touch upon interpersonal skills, but do so within the context of specific management tasks and situations including, for example, managing people, working collaboratively and working with diversity.

What should a development activity cover?

The checklist that follows outlines the core content that development activities focusing on this subject area ought to cover in order to build the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for success in any Victorian public sector management role.

Accompanying the checklist is a list of resources. Use of these resources in the design and delivery of a development activity will help build knowledge, skills and behaviours that are of immediate and clear value in any management role in the Victorian public sector.

Some of these resources describe specific knowledge, skills or behaviours, while others provide information about the context in which Victorian public sector managers operate. In most cases, the resources do not address the topic in full. Additional material will still be required to provide comprehensive development in the relevant content area.

Most resources listed are freely available as downloads from the websites indicated.

*Section 7 of the Public Administration Act 2004 outlines the Victorian public sector values.These can be summarised as:responsiveness, integrity, impartiality, accountability, respect, leadership and human rights.

Core Content / Resources

Establishing the Context

Understanding the importance of advanced interpersonal skills as a key enabler for success in a management role in the Victorian public sector.


Establishing Effective Working Relationships

Techniques for:

  • Engaging with senior audiences to convey complex information or ideas with accuracy, authority, clarity and brevity
  • Building and maintaining mutually beneficial professional relationships with peers, both within and outside the organisation
  • Building trust, rapport and authentic relationships with direct reports and others who are more junior in the organisational hierarchy.

Constructing and Implementing Communication Strategies

Strategies and actions for facilitating communication and interaction between different hierarchical levels within an organisation.

Strategies and actions for constructing and implementing communication strategies to convey information and manage expectations in a variety of contexts.

Being Able to Influence, Negotiate and Manage Conflict

Techniques for:

  • Convincing others to engage on a topic of importance to you
  • Encouraging people to appreciate your perspective
  • Influencing people to undertake particular actions.


Conducting Productive Meetings

Understanding common theories about group dynamics (in the context of meetings).

Techniques for:

  • Conducting meetings in ways that facilitate decision making and information exchange to achieve outcomes
  • Contributing in meetings coordinated by others.


Representing Professionally

Strategies and actions for representing an organisation and the Victorian public sector in a professional manner, especially to members of parliament and the wider community.

 Seeking Assistance

Understanding when and how to seek support to assist with development and application of interpersonal skills.