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What makes a relationship?

Coaching business leaders and entrepreneurs provides me with a helicopter view of how individual styles affect the “weather” in companies and organizations.

There is not a formula build productive workplace relationships—There are components. Whether they are work colleagues or peers, friends, or family connections, they are conducted between humans. Many unemotionally intelligent people do not understand this.

Here are a few of my observations whether they are individuals or within companies:
  • Someone must make the first move to reach out to another.
    • Someone in a leadership position, must set the tone to begin the relationship.
    • Individuals observe what behavior is rewarded in this environment.
  • Listening is a key component to build trust.
    • This skill assures the person they are “seen and heard.” 
    • It underscores the person matters and is worth the investment.
  • The listener must perceive a benefit to connecting with the individual; somehow their life will be improved by aligning with this person, especially a leader.
    • People will walk through fire for team leaders who demonstrate by example what is important about their team.
    • This aspect builds confidence that individual accomplishments matter for the good of all.
Workplace conditions seed the “space” . . .

Trust—This is the foundation block in Emotional Intelligence.
  • It is a precious intangible to nurture. Tend it with care. Do not betray it because it is a steep climb to earn it back.
  • Nothing substantial can be accomplished without it. It can be intimate or shared with strangers.
  • All of the above plus there must be safety in the environment so people can reveal their authentic selves.
  • Effective managers hear what is important from their teams; that’s because the teams trusts the manager to back up the team, stand with them, or offer a reasonable solution to a problem. The manager’s focus is on the team, not punishment. It’s about progress and how to make a situation upright.
  • This relationship is about progress and encouragement, not winning. There is a “knowing” the trusted person will be present when needed.
Please read a recent related post—When did you last repair someone’s trust?

As always, your feedback and experiences are invaluable. Please share them by leaving a comment. Nothing will be published without your permission. Thank you.


As a credentialed business coach and analyst, one of my primary functions is to work with individuals and company managers to clarify where they are presently, where they would like to advance, and what tools they have and need to achieve their desired outcome.

I use a variety of tools to assess perceptions including Platinum Rule instruments, my experience and training in assessing behavior. My preferred tool is the EQ-i®, emotional intelligence inventory. I have specialized training on the EQ-i® and DISC Inventories and access to multiple other sources including a company culture index. I prefer the EQ-i® because it is the least judgmental instrument I have found. It focuses on strengths and areas of development related to the goals set by the individual. For example, people are more likely to apply the EQ-i®’s information rather than label themselves by the Myers-Briggs categories.

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