Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 9 – Interpersonal Relationships

 In Emotional Intelligence, Engagement, Happiness, High Performance Culture, Interpersonal Skills, Leadership, Management, Organisational Culture, Organisational Happiness, Organisational Performance

This blog is part of a series of blogs exploring Emotional Intelligence. Looking at ways to be able to develop and enhance our own perceived levels of Emotional Intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional IntelligenceTo gain a greater understanding you can read a previous blog What is Emotional Intelligence and How Can I develop it, for more detail. However, Emotional intelligence is all about how well you understand your own emotions and the emotions of others, and the ability to identify and manage them. Emotional Intelligence, also known as “Ei” or “EQ”, is now well established set of “Competencies” that contribute to performance, engagement and success.

Their are five key areas of Emotional Intelligence, Self Perception, Self Expression, Interpersonal, Decision Making and Stress Management. Each of these areas has three traits. We are going to discuss each of these traits in more detail with their own blog. We have previous looked at the area of Self Perception and now looking at Self Expression. This week we will be exploring the trait, Interpersonal Relationships.

What is Interpersonal Relationships and the relations to Emotional Intelligence?

The Emotional Intelligence trait of Interpersonal Relationships looks at your ability to establish and maintain mutually satisfying relationships which are characterised by intimacy and by giving and receiving affection. It involves establishing meaningful and close relationships. People with healthy relationship skills are good networkers and good team players, they develop stronger long lasting relationships. People with overly high skills can sometimes spend too much time building relationships and those with low skills may sometimes be seen as loaners due to low interaction in groups.

The big thing to realise here is that you don’t need to have huge groups of friends and get on with everyone you work with. This is about how you can, and have the ability to build relationships, when it is needed.

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet. “Even longer,” Pooh answered.” – A.A. Milne 

How much do you use the trait of Interpersonal Relationships?

Taking a look at you, your friendship group, and the people around you at work? Do you interact with them or do they interact with you?

When Interpersonal Relationships is operating well:

  • Ease in creating & sustaining sociable interaction
  • Good teamwork & effective communication between and across departments
  • Understands how others can help them, as well as how they can help them
  • Good networker

When Interpersonal Relationships is low:

  • Problems in relationships
  • Understands how others can help them, but knows few details about them personally
  • Rely’s on own devices to get the job done, rather than asking for help
  • Prefers to work alone

Developing skills around Interpersonal Relationships

During Learning Cog’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Masterclass, starting with ‘Self-Perception’, we explain how to assess you own emotional intelligence and how to develop your EQ awareness. Here in this blog we have added some areas to think about when developing Interpersonal Relationships.


Take some time to observe those people around you that you perceive to be natural networkers.

  • Who do you know who is able to show their affection for all the people?
  • How do they connect with people really quickly?
  • Who do you know that makes friends easily?
  • Do others confide in them?
  • Who is also good at staying in touch with friends and colleagues outside of work time?
  • From what you observe, what are the actions that people take, who our good at building relationships?

Self Coaching

  • What habits do I have to stay in touch with people?
  • What do people tell me about my ability to maintain relationships?
  • When do I make time to schedule regular contact with other people?
  • Who are my main stakeholders and how do I maintain links with them?
  • Do I come across as engaged and warm or detached and cold when I meet someone for the first time?
  • How much time am I spending on building relationships, too much time? too little time? just the right amount of time?

Thinking and Reflection

Here is an exercise for you to complete to help build your understanding of your own Interpersonal Relationships.

Exercise 1: Networking Hints and Tips 

Networking Hints & Tips
Networking and building relationships can be hard and then what do you do with all the information you have found out after. Here are some handy hints that will help you through.

  1. Everyone is in the same boat – Arriving at a networking event can be really daunting and speaking to someone could look like one of the biggest tasks you will ever have to do. That said some people just do it naturally and breeze through the room. Remember that everyone is there for the same reason, they are interested in who you are and what you do just as much as you are them. You are proud of what you do so go and shout about it. The key is to smile and take a genuine interest in other peoples lives.
  2. There’s never a bad contact – Every contact is a good contact, you never know who is in their network that they will refer to you. If you make an impression on someone they are likely to remember you next time they are talking to someone else about what you do. So the person who runs a printing business might not get work from a window cleaner at a networking event but what happens when that window cleaner is talking to one of there customers who needs some printing done urgently
  3. Be generous – Since you’re looking to create mutually beneficial relationships, a good way to kick start this is by thinking of ways in which you can help others. It’s not all about contacts or job offers; you can offer compliments, listen and other less tangible but hugely valuable gestures of kindness. As long as your sincere you are establishing great connections.
  4. Follow up – Don’t get someone’s business card or company details and forget about them. Find way’s to keep in touch. If your in the area drop them a note and invite them for a coffee, if you found an article that they would be interested in send it over to them and then follow up some more asking if it was worth while.
  5. No saying Sorry – Never appologise for connecting with someone, asking for a favour or help. It can signal a lack of confidence. Remember there is nothing to be sorry for, you just checking if someone is in a position to help. The same at a networking event, everyone wants to talk to you so just go for it.


It is important to actual do something when taking part in any self development. The practical is more important than the theory.

  • Treat everyone with the same respect that you would wish others to treat you
  • Learn and practice negotiation skills
  • Use the scale of self-disclosure to establish report
  • Talk with people, show interest, listen to their stories, impressions and point of view
  • Keep your promises
  • Practice expressing appreciation on a regular basis
  • Make an effort not to let friends get cold. Stay in touch with friends and acquaintances
  • Develop and maintain appropriate interpersonal boundaries
  • Be explicit in identifying the expectations you have of others
  • Ask yourself how you feel when you are involved in satisfying relationships with friends, family, colleagues and how you feel about those relationships that may not be satisfying.
  • Talk with people, show interest in their viewpoints

The more time you spend observing yourself and the people around you, the more you develop your Interpersonal Relationships. Give yourself time, it may feel mechanical, clumsy and awkward at first, but with practice it will become quick and easy and automatic. Why not get in touch and talk to us more about developing Emotional Intelligence in yourself, your Leadership Team or your whole business.

Look out for the next blog on Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 10 – Problem Solving

Or read previous blogs:

What is emotional intelligence? and how can I develop it…

1 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 1 – Self Regard

2 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 2 – Self Actualisation

3 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 3 – Emotional Self Awareness

4 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 4 – Emotional Expression

5 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 5 – Assertiveness

6 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 6 – Independence

7 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 7 – Social Responsibility

9 Developing Emotional Intelligence – Part 8 – Empathy

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