March 23, 2022

How Emotional Support Can Retain Workers

6879753-1648008275122-4ae499200bdb8“Today we have more ways to communicate but we’re connecting less than ever before,” says Adam C. Bandelli, Ph.D. An industrial-organizational psychologist,  Bandelli has observed the devastating impact of both the pandemic and increased reliance on technology on people’s ability to create the kinds of relationships needed not only for business and career success, but for personal satisfaction and growth.

In his new book, RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life-Changing Relationships (April 2022), Dr. Bandelli draws on extensive research to introduce the concept of “Relational Intelligence” and explains why it is at the heart of effective leadership. Tune in for a VERY informative interview with an industry leader


Adam C. Bandelli, Ph.D., author of RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, is the Managing Director of Bandelli & Associates, a boutique consulting firm focusing on leadership advisory services and organizational effectiveness. He is also the author of What Every Leader Needs: The Ten Universal and Indisputable Competencies of Leadership Effectiveness. His articles on leadership and management have appeared in such publications and websites as Leadership Excellence, Chief Executive, InBusiness, HR Daily Advisor, and CEOWorld. For more information, visit


Retention Hacks-12





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Vanessa Martin (27s):
Seventy-five percent of candidates will research a company before even applying and 86 percent of candidates will not work for a company that has a bad or non-existent employer brand. Some of the many benefits of having an effective and strong employer brand include doubling the amount of applicants you get per job post, decreasing your cost per hire by 40 percent, improving employee retention by 60 percent, and overall, just yield better Glassdoor reviews.

Will Staney (55s):
We know that companies with stronger employer brands spend about 10 percent less overall for talent.

Alex Her (1m 1s):
Proactive Talent helps out clients with their employer brand by going in and working with them in several phases to learn more about the culture, the people, what are the important values to each and every employee, and then to share that story and refresh the employer brand, or build it from the ground. The benefit of having an effective employer brand is that you're going to be able to attract the talent that you really want to join your company and not just people who would be simply applying for whatever requisitions you have out there. They generally love your message, love your culture, and are there to be with you for the long haul.

Jim Stroud (1m 35s):
For more information on Proactive Talent, visit them online at or click the link in the podcast description. Hello, sir. Welcome to TribePod. How are you?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (1m 46s):
I'm doing well. How are you?

Jim Stroud (1m 48s):
Doing well, doing well. Tell us, who are you and what do you do?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (1m 52s):
Absolutely. My name is Dr. Adam Bandelli. I am a leadership advisor and organizational psychologist. I own and run a boutique consulting firm, Bandelli & Associates. And we really help leaders identify, unlock and unleash their full potential. And so I've been doing this work now for 20 years and we really focus on three areas. One is helping select and onboard leaders. So we do a lot around external selection, internal development. We do a lot around leadership development, which is executive coaching, team development. And then we also do around an executive education and training. So we do a lot of work around leadership programs and training programs as well.

Jim Stroud (2m 29s):
Cool. Now I understand you have a new book out. And it really caught my eye on relationships, and I think it's something we, as a society, could really benefit from.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (2m 40s):

Jim Stroud (2m 40s):
Let me read to you a short quote from this news article, which I think illustrates this, right? So this is from a website called Splinter, and this is the quote here, "It was an all too familiar scene, a car parked at a gas station in Beavertown, Oregon this weekend had caught fire and a group of people gathered around it not to help the poor woman trapped inside the vehicle, but to shoot video of the unfolding tragedy. Luckily for the woman, a Phillip Bitar saw the absurdity of the situation and she says there was like six bystanders just videotaping the old man and she needs to get some help. He later told Fox affiliate KVTV.

Jim Stroud (3m 21s):
I told her, "Hey, I'm going to pull you out, get away from the window because I have to break it." He ended up saving a woman's life. And now local media is calling him a hero. Bitar says he just did what any person is supposed to do. And the article goes on to say, "Others show other incidents where people have witnessed something horrific or something dangerous and rather than help somebody they just filmed it." Totally, I don't know what the cognitive dissonance was there. They just did not help them. What do you think of that? And tell me how that relates to your book. I think maybe kind of obvious to people once they know.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (3m 55s):
Yeah. So, I mean, I think we're living in an age now where everyone's connected, but we're connecting as people less than ever before. So when I hear stories like that, Jim, I think it's really, it's sad that the people aren't able to help each other, aren't able to develop relationships, connect with each other. Everyone has a cell phone. Everyone records things now, but people rarely have the chance to emotionally and connectively get together and communicate. And this is really tied into my book. So my book is called Relational Intelligence, The Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life-Changing Relationships. And what I unpack for the readers is really a framework, a conceptual model about how I think about relationships, how we do it with our clients, but it really works professionally and personally.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (4m 37s):
These skills, we'll talk about them in a moment, are essential. If you want to really connect with people, but then also build strong, sustainable long-term relationships.

Jim Stroud (4m 45s):
How is relational intelligence different from emotional intelligence? Can I hear a lot about that too?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (4m 50s):
Yeah. Yeah. So I define relational intelligence as the ability to successfully connect with people and build strong long-lasting relationships. Emotional intelligence, EQ, that really focuses on your ability to understand your emotions, the emotions of others and how to manage emotions effectively. So just being able to understand emotions doesn't mean that you can develop trust with people. It doesn't mean that you can embrace diversity and be inclusive in terms of how you grow your relationships. So EQ falls under what we call understanding others, but it's not separate. They're not identical to relational intelligence.

Jim Stroud (5m 24s):
Okay. So how would you say the rise of technology and the increase in these hybrid work environments, how do you think that affects the importance of relationship-building in the workplace?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (5m 36s):
Yeah, I mean, I think it's changed the game dramatically. I mean, today we look at, especially with the hybrid work model that a lot of folks are dealing with, we're communicating through this way, you know, through Zoom and through Microsoft Teams. People have lost the art of how to sit in a room together, think through ideas, problem solve, drive innovation and creativity. And so I think the rise technology is forcing us to really make sure that we're intentional about the time we spend with others because if you're communicating through this way, and that's the only way you're interacting with your colleagues, you're missing out on those moments. Some of my clients talk about the water cooler conversations or walking down the hallway where you can connect with people, because we're missing out on that, teams are having a difficult time really connecting, building the strong partnerships they need to.

Jim Stroud (6m 20s):
You know, I haven't done this recently. I've done this a few times over the past couple of years where I would go over to or some other job search engine and I type in the word "interpersonal" and I will see how many jobs come up that have that word interpersonal and how much companies really wants people who can connect with other people.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (6m 44s):

Jim Stroud (6m 44s):
Really, really interesting. It really shows the need for your book. Tell me a bit more about your background and your research and how you develop this concept of relational intelligence.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (6m 54s):
Yeah, yeah. So it's a great story. So I was in college in the mid-'90s where Daniel Goldman came out with his groundbreaking book, Emotional Intelligence. And so I started studying it undergrad into my master's degree. And I really looked at kind of what is the tie between EQ and influence? How do leaders influence and impact their people? And I found that leaders can use EQ for positive census to build partnerships, but they can also manipulate and use and control their employees. So that got me thinking more about what are the skills that lead to really positive engagements with people and positive relationships between managers and their direct reports? I did my doctoral dissertation on relational intelligence. I didn't call it that at the time.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (7m 34s):
It was more of a psychobabble type word, but really kind of unpacked what these five skills were that people need. And what we found in the research was that leaders who engage in these five behaviors, they would be able to really connect with their people and unleash their full potential, help them to grow, help them to develop, nurture, and develop the talents that they have, which ultimately leads to strong job performance, higher financial profitability, and the ability for leaders to really developing groom successors.

Jim Stroud (8m 3s):
Nice. Nice, nice. Why do you say that relational intelligence is a key part of effective leadership? Can you give us some examples on how it may impact the leader's ability to be effective?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (8m 14s):
Yeah. I mean, I think relationships are critical to leadership because leaders have to connect with their people to get things done through them, to really partner with them. You know, I like the saying, "We don't do business with companies. We do business with people and business with human." And so that's the piece where I think relationships matter so much. And then the higher you move up in an organization, the more the influence and relationships matter. When you come into an organization, you have a subject matter expertise, you have a technical skillset that you develop as an individual contributor, but as you move up the ability to manage people, the ability to work cross-functionally, influence without authority, those things really come up more. So when I think about famous CEOs who kind of model and use relational intelligence, I think of servant leaders like Ajay Banga, the former CEO of MasterCard, really built a culture at MasterCard where he talked about the decency quotient or treating people with common decency in the workplace.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (9m 8s):
So not just the golden rule, but really about how are you embracing individual differences? How are you cultivating inclusive environments? You look at Howard Schultz at Starbucks. He believed that the only way to really have great customer service is to create a great culture for your people. If the people in your organization are well-suited and developed, they will help your folks. And then you think of the opposite end of the spectrum. You think of someone like Steve Jobs at Apple who had horrible relations with his people. He was ousted from Apple in the '80s, came back in when he developed the iPhone. But, you know, throughout both personally and professionally, he struggled with relationships. And so I think about that from a kind of CEOs or leaders that we know about.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (9m 48s):
In my own practive, we use relational intelligence every day with the clients that we work with. And so we use it in our executive coaching work. We use it in our leadership development work. And I'll give you two examples. I'll give you one of a leader who really models relational intelligence and another leader who challenged was challenged by it. I have a leader in the technology industry, senior vice president. She leads a team of nine individual contributors, nine direct reports, and they all are spread out across the country. They all have different roles and different jobs that they do, but she has built a culture focused on people and really inclusivity. And I think that has driven how she gets things done through her people. It's really helped them to unlock the abilities of the people below them.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (10m 32s):
And so she lives in Breeza. She has one-on-ones, even though we're doing this virtual, she intentionally focuses on spending time with their people to help them grow, to help them develop. And it's become part of the fabric of the team that she runs. They've had, I think three years of successive quarter after quarter profitable growth because she's put people in culture first. I think-- Yeah, go ahead.

Jim Stroud (10m 52s):
No, no, no, no. I'll say I liked you said it, you were able to point to profitable growth because I think that when certain leaders hear what you're saying, they say that sounds good, but I just don't have time to give that one-on-one attention. I don't have time to really do all of that, but you mentioned a profit motive, so that's really good. Is there another motive besides profit you think that incentivizes leaders to do this?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (11m 15s):
Yeah, I think a job performance. I mean, if you want your employees to really bring their best selves to work, you want them to enjoy where they're working. I think of the famous quote, you know, "People don't quit jobs. They quit bosses." And so, you know, I have another example, I'm working with a client in the media and entertainment industry right now. And, you know, they're the leader, senior vice president of a group has like three or four direct reports. And he leads with more of an iron fist, more authoritative, more top-down. And so that's created a schism between him and his people where they're afraid to voice their opinions. They're afraid to share their perspectives. Trust has not been developed there. And when that happens, you really don't get the best out of your people. And what we're seeing in the great resignation, people are not just leaving for pay or comp or title.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (11m 56s):
They're leaving because they don't have good relationships and connections with their managers. And so that's kind of a piece there that we're seeing be that thread throughout the industry during the great resignation.

Jim Stroud (12m 6s):
I imagine that also with a stymied innovation as well, if people are afraid to talk, to speak up and suggest new processes or new perspectives, you're going to stagnate your company. It's interesting. In your book, Relational Intelligence, you identify five essential skills that all leaders should embrace. Now the first one I noticed was establishing rapport where you say is the starting point for developing trust. What are some ways people can establish rapport with others in an authentic way?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (12m 35s):
Yeah. Yeah. So authenticity is the thread that runs through all five skills of relational intelligence. You can't take this, you can't do it just to get to a means to an end or use people. So authenticity is the thread that goes through all five. When it comes to establishing rapport, you know, there's really five things that I think great leaders can do. And it's very simple things. People will say, this is, you know, kind of very basic stuff, but making a good first impression, how you dress, how you look, the way you come into a meeting, the way you interact with your team that goes to maintaining eye contact. Are you looking in the eyes of the people you're sitting across from? Are you leaning in? Are you using your non-verbal and body language to communicate that you're interested in the conversation that's happening, that you're showing them that you care about what they're saying?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (13m 16s):
As a leader, are you finding common ground with your people? Are you able to engage in conversations where you can find similarities, whether they're personal or professional, but ways where you can start to develop those early stages of trust? And then I think, you know, everyone talks about it, you know, humor, using humor to really engage and bring people in. We do a lot of the stuff here in our firm around self-deprecating humor and kind of just ways to kind of establish that credibility with your clients. So they know that you're there to support them, but it's also making it fun and exciting as well.

Jim Stroud (13m 46s):
Interesting. Interesting. I noticed you also mentioned in your book a lot about the importance of understanding others.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (13m 52s):
Yeah, yeah.

Jim Stroud (13m 52s):
You can't use the same approach with everybody, but can you expand on this for us, the importance of understanding others?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (14m 0s):
Yeah. So the second skill of relational intelligence is understanding others. It's being intentional about putting in the time and effort needed to get to know your employees on a deep level. So when we think about understanding others, there are kind of four different pieces that play a role here. First is having good EQ. So you need to understand your feelings and emotions and the emotions of others to really understanding people deeply. The second piece is having strong, active listening skills. A lot of times, I saw an article in the Harvard Business Review last month, people are listening just to speak and share their point of view. They're not listening to truly hear other folks. So really strong relationally intelligent leaders listen to understand, listen to hear what their employees are saying. The third piece is around curiosity and inquisitiveness.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (14m 41s):
Great relation intelligent leaders are curious. They show up and ask questions and they know how to use probing questions to really get to know the people that they work with. And then they're empathetic. We've seen in the pandemic as we're coming out of it now the last two years, empathy and compassion has been critical for senior leaders to really create cultures where their people feel that they are committed to doing a good job, not just day to day, but that they're serving a higher purpose as well.

Jim Stroud (15m 7s):
Nice, nice. Another key skill you identify in your book is embracing individual differences. Why does embracing diversity play a role in relational intelligence?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (15m 18s):
Yeah, I think, you know, as you look through and you go through the stages, this is really the third skill because it focuses on how do you acknowledge and accept that everyone comes from different backgrounds and experiences. You know, embracing individual differences is having a favorable reception towards people who think act, behave and look differently from you. So it's appreciating racial and ethnic diversity. It's valuing gender differences. It's looking at sexual orientation and invasion people based on that. It focuses on cultural differences and kind of spirituality, religion as well. And then there's this new focus around neurodiversity or mental health. And so again, these buckets are all important and we're all different based on those things. So when you are accepting of people who are different from you, whatever that category might be, or that difference might be, you can more effectively communicate with them.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (16m 4s):
You can more effectively start to build trust with them. And again, you may not agree with the practices or beliefs of another person, whatever they might be, but that shouldn't catch you from connecting with them and appreciating where they are. And so what we found in our research is that relationally intelligent leaders, they leverage those differences to get to superior outcomes, outcomes like creativity, problem-solving, innovation. If you bring different people around the table, we focus here on diversity of thought. That's a really critical piece here. So you could have a black person, an Asian person, a gay person around the table, but are they sharing ideas and embracing that diversity and kind of what they bring to the table? That's the way to get to great outcomes, that's the way to drive innovation and really appreciate the differences that we all bring as employees.

Jim Stroud (16m 44s):
I really liked what you said about diversity of thought because I think that's a component that falls through the cracks I think in a lot of organizations. I think they want to look around and see different colors and think, okay, we've achieved the goal, but it doesn't necessarily fight against group think because everyone could look different, but they all think exactly the same. You're not going to have--

Dr. Adam Bandelli (17m 7s):
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Jim Stroud (17m 8s):
Another key point in your book you talk about was really resonated with me. I want to expound on it, which is vulnerability. You talked about how leaders need to be vulnerable in order to create a foundation of trust. Can you give a little bit more detail on that?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (17m 23s):
Yeah. So the fourth skill of relational intelligence is developing trust. This is the most important skill out of all five in my framework and my model. And again, to truly develop trust, you have to make yourself vulnerable or take a risk of being exposed to the actions or behaviors of others. At our firm, we believe firmly that leaders need to extend trust and not demand it from their people or expect from their people. To do that, you have to first know, understand and trust yourself. We call it the mirror test. It's a part in the book where I talk about that is you have to know how you're wired, how your background experiences have those in shape, how you show up for your people.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (18m 3s):
But when you develop trust and you show that level of authenticity in your vulnerability, people start to let their guards down. You create a sense of psychological safety for your people in teams. And so that starts the foundation for it, but to develop and maintain trust, long-term, people need to continually nurture the relationship. And so when I mean by that, as you look at it, we call it the bank account of trust. Are you consistently making deposits into that account? And we like to think of the words, intentional generosity. So are you doing it regularly regardless of what happens as a leader or manager to really build that trust with your people? What you should ask for in return and what your team should do is really kind of several things. One, I think trust is about commitment. It's honoring your commitments to your people and vice versa.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (18m 43s):
It's showing up consistently to your people, show consistently day out, and do the same things. Do you model that? It has to do a character and integrity. So leaders who develop trust with their people operate with a sense of integrity in what they do. And what we found is when trust is developed, that really unlocks the ability for cooperation, team effectiveness, and collective job performance. And it's also tied to galvanizing and inspiring your people to become their best selves.

Jim Stroud (19m 8s):
Once you have all these pieces together, you should be like Mr. Influencer inside your company. How does relational intelligence connect to the ability to influence employees and teams?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (19m 22s):
Yeah, yeah. So that's the really, you know, I talk about developing trust as the most important skill in the framework. Cultivating influence is the most powerful skill. And you kind of already alluded to it jokingly. Influence, the way we define it, is the ability to have a positive impact on the lives of your people. And so we're not talking about manipulation or control or authority. It's putting your people and culture first in service of driving results and performance. It's helping your people become better versions of themselves. And so I think when leaders do that, when they develop trust, they're able to get people to exceed performance expectations, but they're also able to help those people develop and grow. And I'll give you a perfect example. We bring people into our firm, we try to align them around a special area of expertise.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (20m 4s):
I have one of my direct reports who focuses on test development. He's building our relational intelligence test right now, and I've supported him on kind of transitioning, not just from having that expertise but being more of a leadership advisor. And I want to see him become the best leadership advisor he can. So our relationship has developed around focusing on how to help him grow, where I'm intentionally investing time and helping him in the areas he needs to while he's ultimately delivering on what he needs to and under his KPIs. But the relationship has gotten to the point where we both influence each other, decisions that he will make about his role he'll share with me and I'll take his advice and input because I trust him and vice versa.

Jim Stroud (20m 41s):
Wow. Wow. You discussed in your book some of the biggest challenges facing business leaders today. What are they in your opinion?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (20m 49s):
Yeah, so I think there are four that are really impacting organizations, that I think one we're coming out of the pandemic. And so us communicating like this, there have been detrimental effects to how teams operate, to how teams collaborate. We're trying to figure out hybrid work models. And so I'm a firm believer. I've told all my clients to try to get in the office two or three days a week where you can really establish and have that human face-to-face contact. You've seen since 2020 with social justice, this focus on diversity and inclusion, not just getting certain numbers or quotas in seats, but like we talked about diversity of thought and really creating inclusive environments where everyone feels valued. I talked a little bit earlier about the great resignation, the great realignment.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (21m 29s):
And so the piece there really is, again, people are leaving companies because of the poor relationships they have with their managers, just as much as leaving for pay and compensation. And so RELATIONAL INTELLIGENCE is one of the solutions to really engage your workforce, develop your people, and show that you're interested in more than just the job they're doing day in, day out. And I saw an interesting article in Harvard Business Review a couple of weeks ago, it talked about automation. And so we're getting to the point now where many managers in mid-level jobs, they're becoming automated. So the definition and how we think about leaders is different than it was a decade ago. Leaders have to be more relational-focused. Leaders have to really think about how they're impacting their people, not just the, you know, standard tasks that they're managing as well.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (22m 10s):
So those are really the big four things. I think, you know, as leaders kind of move into this new era as we come out of the pandemic, being intentional about how you develop your relationships with your people is really a true way to unlock who they are and how they can impact your organization.

Jim Stroud (22m 24s):
I see how your book is directed towards leaders, but I'm wondering if could this also be suited for just every employee that's out there because every employee wants to progress in their career development. So couldn't your book be a way of climbing up the corporate ladder, so to speak with these skills?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (22m 45s):
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think relationships matter at the individual contributor level all the way up to the C-suite. And so the way that I've laid out the book, it actually goes into the personal lives of people as well. So the first part of the book, we have a chapter that focuses on each of the five skills. The second part of the book is the applications of relational intelligence. So we go into, and I cover family relationships. I cover friendships, I cover work relationships. And then I also cover romantic relationships in marriage. So this framework, this model, these five skills, it can be applied to both areas of your life. I think the great thing that I've seen in the last 20 years of doing this workaround relational intelligence is that you can have a positive impact on people across all areas of life. It's not just in the workplace, but individual contributors.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (23m 25s):
If they start to learn and practice these skills, they'll have greater influence with their peers, they'll have an impact on their managers and they'll ultimately get the goals that they want for their careers.

Jim Stroud (23m 35s):
Nice, nice. This book sounds very intriguing. Where can someone pick up a copy of it?

Dr. Adam Bandelli (23m 41s):
Yeah. So the book will be coming out in May. You can pick it up on Apple, Barnes and Noble. All retailers are gonna have it. We are also doing our kind of social media marketing campaign the last several months. So if you follow our firm, you'll see the different media articles that we're releasing. You can follow us on Instagram. You can follow me on LinkedIn. And so we just wrote a number of articles on EQ and Relational Intelligence on servant leadership and Relational Intelligence on the great resignation and relational intelligence. So we're kind of moving things forward with kind of what relational intelligence is, why it's important now in anticipation of the book coming out in May.

Jim Stroud (24m 19s):
Thank you so much for your time. I do appreciate it. Dr. Adam Bandelli, you've been a spectacular guest. Lots of good information here. Thank you.

Dr. Adam Bandelli (24m 26s):
I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Jim Stroud (24m 35s):
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you a thousand times. Thank you for listening and subscribing to our podcast. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please send them to us. You can reach us at TribePod that's We look forward to hearing from you.


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