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Relational Intelligence: How Leaders Can Expand Their Influence Through a New Way of Being Smart Hardcover – Sep 15 2009

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (Sept. 15 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047043869X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470438695
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #959,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From the Inside Flap


Relational Intelligence (RI) reminds us that the way we choose to relate to one another determines the quality of our human experience and reveals what we value most. If we took a panoramic view of humanity, we'd discover that human relationships unfortunately are often reduced to a commodity, as if people were buying, selling, and trading relationships for personal benefit. This book challenges leaders to no longer see people as a means to an end but to approach people with relational intelligence.

In this book, thought leader, relational intelligence practitioner, and professor Steve Saccone defines the six roles of a relational genius and why they're essential for the relationally intelligent leader. These life-changing principles can be applied both to church leadership and any other leadership context.

While many leaders want to be relationally intelligent, they struggle to understand what it means and how to implement it. Saccone defines RI in a clear and provocative way: "Relational" in RI means learning to see people as the highest value and conveying that to them. The "Intelligent" part of RI means learning effective interpersonal skills and then applying them in ways that expand influence.

Many leaders long to be influential and missional but, mistakenly, this pursuit is often at the cost of valuing people. When leaders get the relational part right (loving well), and combine it with the intelligence part (applying effective interpersonal skills), their impact will be far-reaching, and even immeasurable.

As a result of becoming relationally intelligent, the world will become not only a smarter place, but a more human one. This is the world Jesus envisions, where love and mission intersect—a world that can only become a reality if we begin to live—and lead with—this new way of being smart.

About Leadership Network

The mission of Leadership Network identifies and connects innovative church leaders, providing them with resources in the form of new ideas, people, and tools. Contact Leadership Network at

From the Back Cover

With a Foreword by Erwin Raphael McManus


Relational Intelligence

Steve Saccone

How Leaders Can Expand Their Influence Through a New Way of Being Smart

"If you've ever wondered why smart leaders do dumb things, this is the book for you. Steve unpacks the dynamics that make leaders most effective—as well as most joyful. You probably don't need this information yourself, but read it anyway. You'll think of lots of people who do need it."
—John Ortberg, best-selling author and senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church

"Steve Saccone . . . is not merely a theorist, but a practitioner that I greatly admire as I have seen in action what he writes about. Relational Intelligence is thought provoking and most of all practical. Leadership of any form is about people and communication and Steve ingeniously addresses both."
—Dan Kimball, author, They Like Jesus But Not The Church, and pastor, Vintage Faith Church

"Wow! You cannot read Relational Intelligence and not be challenged, empowered, and equipped. This book has it all, and every leader must read it!"
—Princess Kasune Zulu, advocate and activist for HIV and AIDS;

World Vision spokeswoman; world-renowned speaker; and author, Warrior Princess

"If anyone is qualified to write on Relational Intelligence it's Steve Saccone. You'll have a new friend by the time you're done reading this book."
—Mark Batterson, best-selling author and lead pastor, National Community Church

"Steve Saccone . . . .point[s] to issues in our inner and outer worlds that significantly shape our influence as leaders. For those of us who value leading through relationship, this book is a wise investment."
—Nancy Ortberg, consultant and founding partner, Teamworx2, an affiliate for Table Group (A Patrick Lencioni Company)

"Curiosity got me started in this book; great insight kept me reading; transformation has me planning on reading it again! Steve Saccone takes the mystery out of 'how to' when it comes to influencing others . . . .Brilliant stuff!"
—Ed Gungor, New York Times best-selling author, There's More to the Secret

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Inside This Book

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9d6c8b34) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cf6cbac) out of 5 stars There is a little Michael Scott in all of us! Oct. 15 2009
By Scott E. Savage - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I received Steve Saccone's book from a friend unexpectedly. I had listened to Steve via the Mosaic Podcast and at the Awaken Conference. He serves in LA as a part of Mosaic, where he develops young leaders and some of my friends have worked under his leadership.

This is Steve's first book and it speaks into an often unexplored area of leadership. Steve begins with the reality that many leaders accomplish their goals at the cost of their relationships with those they lead. A leader can show productivity, passion, imagination, and resourcefulness, but he or she can be relationally dumb in interacting with others. I have so many experiences with leaders in the church that knew the Bible well and had seminary degrees but lacked basic people skills that made their work difficult.

Some of my favorite nuggets from the book:
-In the past, authority and credibility were built on status, power or position, but in today's world it's built on power and trust. To be relationally intelligent, we must shift from a positional authority mind-set to the crucial mind-set of relational authority.
-Leaders treat people as a commodity. (OUCH!)
-When we love people well, we become the proof of God.
-Many leaders deflect responsibility and accountability instead of
absorbing it.
-We all have a little bit of Michael Scott in us.
-To be a person is to have a story to tell. (Isak Dinesen)
-If we want to be relational geniuses, we must learn to capitalize on moment's when we see people's values being lived out.

I could list so many great ideas here, but I think Steve makes his goal possible here by the content and context of this book. I think you and I can become more sensitive to our intuition and more aware of the people around us. I think we can develop new habits that are reflective of core values that remind us to value the people we are serving with, not just the task we are bound together in. In this process, "leaders realize that the more people they bring with them, the more powerful the effect they can have on changing the future and making the world a better place."

As the African proverb states, <strong>"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, bring others with you."</strong>

Great book, Steve!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cf6cac8) out of 5 stars Passionate, Inspiring, But is it Biblical? Dec 28 2010
By Angela Hampton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"Ri" addresses how to be relationally "smart". Saccone called it the new smart--which I'm not sure that it is all that new--and goes into guiding you through his thoughts on what Ri looks like and how to develop it in yourself and others. The first half of the book talked a lot about being relationally intelligent, giving many examples related to presenting to groups or large audiences, which could be particularly helpful to leaders who do public speaking. The questions that he suggested you ask yourself to help gage how emotionally present you are prepared to be included questions related to your heart, mind, soul, and strength. I found the questions to be very helpful just to keep a person on track, whether they are trying to be a leader or more relationally intelligent or if they just want a closer walk with God. The chapter about not being a boring person was funny, not because he intended it to be, but because he went on too long and became redundant--and boring. Amusingly, that is the only place in the book where he did that. As a whole the book is very engaging and I could read his passion for leadership throughout. However, I did have a significant departure from agreement in ch. 8, Disproportianate Investor, because he instructs leaders to choose carefully who they "invest" their time in and bases it on Jesus' calling of the disciples. I've read the Bible and don't recall it saying anything about Jesus' selection process, instead it seemed to focus on their willingness. When Jesus said to the guys in the boat, follow me. They went immediately. Jesus told some to not even go bury their dead or say good-bye to their families. Yet they came. It seemed like it was more about the followers willingness to take leaps of faith than it was about Jesus saying, "I'll take this one, not that one." In addition, as someone who taught intermediate grades for ten years in public schools I saw many students make significant changes in their lives, not because of my great leadership, but because for many years teachers had poured love, time, heaps of patience, and guidance on them. So when Saccone said to avoid "investing in" people who have a "consumerist mentality" I couldn't disagree more. Lastly, his choice of terms to avoid "consumerist mentalities" and "diproportionately invest in" people to me reaked of contradiction steeped in a business mentality that seems to be popular in education and churches these days, but I don't see where it is Biblical. If I could visit with Saccone personally, I would recommend Henri Nouwen's book In the Name of Jesus. Nouwen's ambitions and achievements as a leader were challenged when he was charged to "lead" a people that didn't care who he was or who endorsed his latest book. And although they weren't necessarily going to go on to lead a "proportionately" large number of people themselves, he found that these people "lead" him into a better understanding of what it means to "lead" others in the name of Jesus.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cf6cb28) out of 5 stars Yet another form of intelligence Dec 4 2009
By John Gibbs - Published on
Format: Hardcover
People with high IQs are not necessarily good at relating to other people, because inter-personal relationships require a different form of intelligence. There has been much recent literature about emotional intelligence; now Steve Saccone has written a book about Relational Intelligence, with a matching test available on the website [...]

According to Steve, there are six defining roles of a relational genius. The Story Collector is someone who can draw out other people's stories. The Energy Carrier knows how to enliven the mood in a room. The Compelling Relator knows how to get people interested. The Conversational Futurist knows how to use a conversation to create change. The Likeable Hero establishes authentic connections that make people feel valued. The Disproportionate Investor invests time and resources into a few carefully chosen people.

It seems to me that the online self-assessment, while thought-provoking, suffers from a problem common to many self-assessment tests: the relationally unintelligent person is likely to rate himself too highly, and thereby achieve a higher score than he deserves, because he is unaware of his own deficiencies. Nonetheless, the book provides interesting insights and should be useful for most people who have leadership responsibilities in a church.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cf720c0) out of 5 stars Relational Intelligence Sept. 24 2009
By Christina Owen - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Steve Saccone defines the long standing syndrome of "...leaders who remain completely unaware of his (or her) own contradictory philosophies, offensive insecurities, and oblivious way..." as the Michael Scott Syndrome. This use of culturally iconic humor helped open the doorway to my heart and allowed me to take an inward look into how I relate to family, friends, co-workers and the great people I lead. [...]
Relational Intelligence: How Leaders Can Expand Their Influence Through a New Way of Being Smart (J-B Leadership Network Series)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d4fc804) out of 5 stars Realistic and Passionate Aug. 31 2010
By Clark - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At first I wasn't terribly satisfied with Relational Intelligence (RI). The leading chapters had me thinking that maybe this book would try to herd me into the suburban Christian mindset that has become a hated stereotype by atheists, agnostics, and theists alike. I thought maybe it would tell me to plaster on a smile and hide my troubles from people so that they would think I was a superhuman representative of Christ. Or maybe to look people in the eyes when I'm shaking their hands and feign interest in any and all subjects they bring up.

Boy was I wrong. The further I delved into RI the more I realized that my presumptions were entirely wrong. Saccone doesn't to fake a smile or feign interest. He wants us to find our true passions and invest in them. He \ wants us to realize the potential of investing in people and the many things that can be gained from servitude.

He doesn't tell us to look for the kid who doesn't follow his passion and hides in the corner. He tells us to seek out people who are doing what they love or are looking for new ways to change the world. Investing in people who are willing to invest in other people is the best way to see a return in our investment (it makes more sense when he says it).

Saccone realizes that while we should love everyone, there are ways to love people which are more effective and have a larger influence. He also emphasizes how important it is that we remove the log from our eyes before trying to get the sawdust out of our brother's.

All in all this was a very interesting read. I recommend it to anyone, even if you already consider yourself relationally intelligent.