Episode 117: Your Boss Should Care More About Your Relationship Building Skills

The 90th Percentile: An Unconventional Leadership Podcast

Published: September 6, 2023


Do personal relationships have the power to shape a leader’s perception of individual performance? The significance of fostering healthy workplace relationships cannot be underestimated. Extensive research has shed light on our ability to connect with diverse individuals, revealing that we are not only happier but also more productive in doing so. However, how much does the ability to forge strong workplace connections truly influence better performance? In this episode, we will uncover the interaction effect between relationship building and other leadership behaviors.

Key Learnings

  • Zenger Folkman’s data from 12,299 individuals explores the link between relationship-building and performance rankings. Contrary to expectations that relationship reigns supreme, this research identified seven other capabilities that had a greater influence on performance rankings.

  • Those individuals who are the bottom 25% on Relationship building only rank at the 30% on this skill and you can see similar scoring on the graph for all of these competencies. On the flip side those who are really good at relationship building in the top quartile scored over 70th percentile on all of these skills.

Connect with Joe Folkman


Zenger Folkman hosts an exclusive live webinar every month, where you can meet Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman and talk about their latest leadership development research. Find out more information and register here.


Why Leaders Should Work on Their Relationship Building Skills— Article by Joe Folkman
Not Here to Make Friends– Article by Sarah Watcher
The Increasing Importance of a Best Friend at Work– Article by Gallup