ATD Blog

Relationship Management: Final Step to Mastering EQ

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

For years, it was considered inappropriate to show our emotions or even to acknowledge other people’s emotions when we are at work. But in the early 1990s, author and psychologist Daniel Goleman ignited international interest in emotional intelligence (EQ).

Goleman and his colleagues determined that 80 percent of career success is directly attributed to the positive management of one’s emotions in the workplace. Since that time, neuroscientists have also weighed in with extensive research of the brain to prove that emotional intelligence is a learned skill that can be improved with age.

So what does this mean for the ATD community?


As individuals, we know that mastering the EQ competencies is critical if we want to move up in our career paths. In addition, if we are in a leadership position as a business owner, executive team member, HR professional, trainer, or mentor/coach, we now know what makes the difference: EQ.


Now, here is a challenge: Building on our earlier discussions of self- awareness, managing one’s emotions, and social awareness, how can we commit to building positive productive working relationships with our colleagues, bosses, direct reports, and customers each and every day?

Here are my favorite 10 tips to get started:

  1. Consciously decide “who” you want to be known as in your professional circles—not for the “what” you do but for the “who” you are.  Nurture that reputation so others get to know, trust and like you.
  2. Be visible, approachable, and perceived as easy to work with.
  3. Teach yourself to “read” social situations. Be aware of what the cultural and generational dynamics are as well as the different values, needs and intentions.
  4. Establish rapport with others by respecting, validating and appreciating them. Show people your sincerity both verbally and in your actions. Most people will respond in kind. Undercutting others will rarely benefit you and your career.
  5. Listen with the intent to understand the other person’s frame of reference first. When you fully understand them then you can move to being understood.
  6. Listen without interrupting or trying to rush in and fix the situation.
  7. Honor healthy boundaries by recognizing that others are fully capable of discovering their own answers and that ultimately it is far more beneficial for them to paddle their own canoe – less stress for you too.
  8. Acknowledge others’ right to think the way they do even when you disagree – offer your view as yours only.
  9. Practice using questions designed to promote others to take action and responsibility for their own ideas.
  10. Motivate others by recognizing what is important to them and giving them the opportunity to work in those areas. Use their strengths and honor their gifts.

Your goal as a leader of yourself and others is to become highly skilled in connecting, communicating, and collaborating with others. These 10 ideas can help you get started, but add what you know works best for you as well. It takes time, effort, and commitment—but your career depends on it. Enjoy your successes!

About the Author

Katherine (Kit) Prendergast, PCC, holds coaching certifications in Social & Emotional Intelligence (SEI); Executive Leadership Development (CELDC), and Career Management (CCMC). As the owner of Career Connections of Sierra Nevada, a well-established coaching and training company in Northern Nevada, Kit brings  a wealth of experience, expertise, and energy to inspire you to create the life you truly want at this time. She welcomes coaching and training clients nationally and internationally. 

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