This is the final week in our series on operationalizing emotional intelligence. It started in April when we shared the four traits that Daniel Goleman found are essential to emotional intelligence. Each week since then, we’ve been coaching you on how to translate the ideas of emotional intelligence into actual behaviors and practices. If you missed any of the posts they can be found on our website.

Goleman’s four traits make sense intellectually and are important to leadership but many people get stuck trying to figure out what they actually need to do to practice the traits he lists. So to help you move from theory to practice, we are going to talk about Goleman’s fourth trait of emotional intelligence—relationship skills.

  1. Relationship Skills
  • Compelling communication: You put your points in persuasive, clear ways so that people are motivated as well as clear about expectations.
  • Team playing: People feel relaxed working with you. One sign: They laugh easily around you.


Compelling communication: This is really all about engaging others. It’s about creating a vision and getting buy-in for that vision through communication. Your goal when speaking with your team is to get them on board with what’s possible and (more importantly) how they can contribute to that possibility. Too often leaders get focused on the tactical and don’t spend enough time making sure that people understand the destination and opportunities that will come from getting there.

Team playing: This is about being an approachable individual. It’s somewhat misleading to suggest that people should laugh easily around you. We have worked with lots of very serious individuals who were great team players. The goal is to be someone who people can talk to about the good and the bad. They know that you won’t lose your cool or bark at them for being curious, honest, or the bearer of bad news. You know that you are a good team player when everyone gives his or her best because everyone is excited about the destination.

This week, spend some time working on your relationship skills with the people you encounter by sharing your vision for what is possible. And, make sure that your team understands the vision and what success looks like so that you get the most from them as a team.