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How to develop your Emotional Intelligence Part 5: Social Skill

This is the fifth and final part of this EQ series. You can read the others here: Part 1 Self Awareness, Part 2 Self Regulation, Part 3 Motivation, Part 4 Empathy.

The fifth element in Emotional Intelligence is Social Skill, which can be described as the ability to manage relationships to engage people to take certain actions. People with Social Skill are good at managing relationships and building networks; they have the ability to find common ground with others and build rapport.

Social skill can be thought of as a culmination of all the 4 other components of EQ. To have good social skill, a person needs to be self aware and able to regulate their responses and behaviour to connect empathetically with others, driven by a motivation to achieve their goals.

This level of self management and sensitivity to others creates a compelling, dynamic, flexible, leadership style, with the ability to adjust and fine tune interactions to get the best outcomes.

What can this skill give you?


Socially skilled people ensure that they build a quality network of connections. They pay attention to people and use rapport to quickly build relationships by finding common ground. They have a flair for honing in on what’s important to others quickly. They are excellent listeners, using their empathy skills to strengthen a sense of connection and understanding with others. They are aware of their emotions and how they can impact others.


When a socially skilled person has a vision or goal, they can mobilise others to make it happen. By being able to use their motivation and energy in ways that connect with others, the socially skilled can get buy-in from others to improve collaboration on projects and deadlines.


The person who works on their social skill also develops many leadership qualities. Being able to engage others with their infectious motivated energy whilst being in control of their own emotional responses is a powerful combination for creating trust and loyalty in a team. In addition, pressure and stress can be managed more effectively with high emotional intelligence.

Managing Change

In times of change, the socially skilled leader can help people transition without alienating anyone, managing the emotions – and therefore the commitment – of all concerned. Change in a company brings a lot of uncertainty but people can cope well with it when there is trust in the leadership. Self awareness and self regulation, combined with an empathetic attitude and positive energy can hold a team together in challenging times. Surviving a period of adversity can, when handled well, actually create a stronger team in the long run.

As we’ve seen, Social Skill is not an isolated quality, it’s made up of all the other elements of Emotional Intelligence. EQ is not an easy set of competencies to learn, but the good news is that each element connects to the others so that when you work on one area, you increase your abilities in other areas automatically.

For example when you work on your self awareness it becomes easier to regulate yourself and you become more in tune with your own drives and triggers which develops your motivation skill. When you are more aware of yourself, you are better able to connect empathetically with others which increases your social skill.

One of the best ways to develop your Emotional Intelligence is to take some training and get a coach who will help you set goals, practice the steps, develop the skills and hold you accountable for your progress.

Emotional Intelligence is not the easiest skill to learn because it demands you do the ‘inner work’ that must be done. But since it accounts for 85% of your success in business, it deserves your priority attention.

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