People Skills Program

Ben Roulston

By Ben Roulston, Thinka Co-founder,
1 January 2024

This program helps leaders develop people skills to cultivate relationships and high performance.

The goal of this program is to work with team leaders and middle managers on key skills that are geared toward growing leadership effectiveness, coaching and giving feedback, and creating an inclusive culture. The learning is supported by an eLearning module and pre and post workshop tasks. Optional ‘train the trainer’ and ‘facilitation skills’ workshops can set up senior leaders with the skills to facilitate this program in the second roll out.

What a challenge, it takes you out of comfort zone and gets you thinking. I know the team put in a lot of work in the background and do an awesome job, but Ben is the perfect frontman. He gets to know the individuals and what makes them tick and how to get the best out of them.

Stage II
Program Purpose

This People Skills Program supports leaders to develop better interpersonal skills and build trust with their teams. It helps leaders in all industries grow emotional intelligence and relationship management skills, so they can have greater impact on team performance. Whether your leaders are just starting out or have been in these positions for some time, our program helps them develop self-awareness, more effective communication, and skills in tackling situations like difficult conversations.

Partnering with organisations in Melbourne, Sydney and across Australia, we know that leaders face unique challenges in this modern world of work. Here are a few:

  1. Rise of ‘human skills’: More and more, organisations are helping leaders develop both technical skills and soft skills. Leaders who understand the value of soft skills like emotional intelligence, active listening and managing a range of communication styles, can cultivate a safer, healthier work environment.
  2. Professional development: Employees are seeking organisations who will help them reach their professional and personal development goals. Organisations have a significant competitive advantage and a more compelling EVP for attraction, retention and engagement when leaders provide skills training and development support to their direct reports. 
  3. Managing multiple stakeholders: Leaders often have to balance the needs of multiple stakeholders, including customers, shareholders and employees – who all have different communication styles and needs. In today’s fast-paced business environment, team leaders need assertiveness to achieve project goals, while satisfying the requirements of all stakeholders. 
  4. Complex world of work: Living in a ‘VUCA’ (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) environment means that leaders need to cope with a changing environment that constantly presents difficult situations. Covid recovery, economic instability and hybrid working call for leaders to engage in active listening and interpersonal communication that supports both the organisation and their teams. 
  5. Complex macro environment: Leaders are dealing with rapid technological change, a fluctuating economy, and rising expectations from organisations. Leadership teams must adapt constantly and be aware of change before it happens. Interpersonal skills help leaders build trust with their teams, so they can handle change and find ways to move through it.

Overall, these challenges present a strong case for investing in people skills for leaders, so both workplace culture and organisational performance can be improved.

Program Benefits

With the help of this People Skills Program, leaders will enhance their leadership capability in areas such as:

  1. Self-awareness: This involves the ability to recognise and regulate one’s own emotions and maintain healthy relationships with others. Leaders can improve their self-awareness by engaging in self-reflection, by listening to and taking on feedback, and by developing empathy for their direct reports. It is also about becoming aware of what healthy non verbal communication and body language look like, to make sure their people skills are strengthened.
  2. Empowering teams: Leaders who seek to understand other people and appreciate their differences, are better able to maintain healthy relationships. When leaders have grasped the fundamentals of people skills, they listen and respond in respectful ways to what people need, and focus on building long-lasting connections. This has a positive effect on team member psychological safety and encourages team members to stretch and grow.
  3. Collaboration: Leaders who can appreciate different needs and perspectives among stakeholders are better able to foster a safer, more collaborative work environment. Leaders with emotional intelligence and well-developed communication skills know their audience and can connect with ease. They also actively include all people in conversations and decision-making.
  4. Empathy: Finding ways to relate to other people’s experiences and the emotions they are feeling, gives leaders a better insight into team members. When this happens, there is a better opportunity for connection, and difficult conversations when needed. When leaders understand their direct reports, they can have open and honest discussions that lead to better outcomes.
  5. Curiosity: Leaders build trust when they are genuinely curious and ask questions to understand what their direct reports need to perform at their best. Leaders can build this capability by challenging their own biases, developing their questioning skills, and by engaging in active listening with team members.

By developing people skills in their leaders, organisations benefit from an improved workplace culture that supports teams to do their best work.

Program FAQs

What is a People Skills Program?

Thinka’s People Skills Program is specifically designed for leaders to grow their interpersonal skills to support team members. It aims to provide learners with the skills, tools, resources and confidence necessary to improve communication skills and relationships. Our specialist facilitators have worked with many leaders across Australia and draw from these experiences to offer meaningful advice, practical strategies, and case studies to learn from.

Why should my organisation offer a People Skills Program?

Being part of this People Skills Training Course can help leaders develop essential skills, access mentoring and build partnerships across a supportive community of peers. It can also help participants to support each other to build skills in self-awareness, collaboration, and empowering others. The networking opportunities are crucial to helping leaders help each other.

Who can attend a People Skills Program?

This People Skills Program is designed for leaders. The leadership skills we focus on build competencies in establishing a healthy, thriving workplace culture, as well as building trust with team members to enhance relationships and performance.

Are People Skills Programs only available in person?

Thinka’s People Skills Training Program can be delivered face-to-face or as online learning via Zoom – depending on the organisation’s set-up. It is typically made up of a series of workshops and/or webinars with case studies and tools to support real world application – so leaders can apply skills straight away.

Often these are complemented by coaching sessions with a Thinka coach. Coaching plays an important role in challenging old behaviours and supporting leadership development in each of the participants. Organisations might also opt for a blended program that makes use of eLearning modules and other forms of media.

Program Case Study

Leadership Collective Program with Health & Happiness Group (Swisse)


1. What was the objective?

Bringing together the 75 leaders of Swisse, this program was designed to build a forward-thinking leadership culture, with a focus on interpersonal skills, feedback and coaching, leading a growth mindset, and developing and empowering employees. The program was developed using the aspirational tone of the Swisse culture to keep it brand aligned.

2. How did we do it?

Over the course of the 8 month program, we designed and delivered a series of modules that supported the development of key leadership capabilities. The program was built around a learning loop formula, where each capability would be applied through a series of stages from understanding and implementation through to application and reflection. Each module was delivered using different modes of learning, including pre and post work application tasks, eLearning modules, animation, and workshops delivered face to face and online.

3. How was it integrated and what were the results?

The program was integrated as part of a broader leadership development initiative. This meant that this program was a collaboration that worked in partnership with Emma Murray, a mindset coach, and a team of innovation experts at Naked Ambition. This integrated model meant the participants could access expertise from a variety of different people to get the result they were looking for.

Example program

Month 1

Brand and identity

Defining leadership brand and what it means to personalise your style.

  • Program roadmap
  • Induction
  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module

Month 2

Goals and habits

Understanding the role of goals and habits to build good leadership practices and sustain them.

  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module

Month 3

Coaching and feedback

Developing the skills to coach and give meaningful feedback that has impact.

  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module

Month 4

Performance and development

Articulating the principles of high performance and supporting people in their development.

  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module
  • ‘Train the trainer’ virtual workshop
  • ‘Facilitation skills’ virtual workshop

Month 5

Motivation and engagement

Knowing the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and engaging people by tapping into this.

  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module

Month 6

Culture and inclusion

Appreciating the importance of positive workplace culture and developing an inclusive approach.

  • Pre and post work tasks
  • Virtual workshop
  • Tools for application
  • Supporting eLearning module


Delivery Options

In Person Program

Virtual Program

Hybrid Program

Key Outcomes

1. Leaders who understand who their team members are.

2. Leaders who demonstrate empathy to connect with team members.

3. Leaders who inspire better relationships between team members.

4. Leaders who know how to motivate and inspire high performance.

5. Leaders who coach their team members and support their development.

Possible Inclusions

1. Program roadmap

2. Induction

3. Welcome box

4. Workshops

5. Activities (e.g. Hackathon)

6. Guest speakers

7. Tools for application

8. Assets (e.g. eLearning, video)

9. Coaching

10. Participant management

Target Audience

Team Leaders and Middle

Our in-person delivery option maximises opportunities for robust conversation, experiential activities and intensive group work. This is no ‘death by PowerPoint’ experience – our facilitators are skilled in presenting and leading immersive experiences that get the most out of people. Supported by multimedia, attractive takeaway pages and practical strategies for using back on the job – this in-person approach is valuable for building strong bonds and bringing people together to collaborate.
Our virtual delivery option breathes fresh life into the online experience with its almost ‘radio show’ feel. Our expert facilitators use a combination of multimedia, questioning techniques and break out activities to target micro-skills – with a focus on application. Supported by an online platform hosting custom-built materials, participants can be assured of lively, dynamic sessions that have a distinct bias to action. Going virtual keeps program sessions succinct, sharp and focused on targeting particular skills in a dynamic way.
A hybrid model takes the best of in-person and virtual delivery options and blends them together, so there’s a healthy mix of face to face collaboration and targeted skill building. Depending on the program themes, we work with you to decide what is better suited to getting together in a training space versus what would sit comfortably in an online setting. This flexible combination allows you and your team to get the best of both worlds.
This audience includes team leaders and middle managers – people who directly support team members in capability building and enhancing performance. They work closely with their teams and play a vital role in motivating, coaching, supporting and giving feedback to individual team members.