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    EQ (Emotional Intelligence) - Vistage Presentation
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    EQ (Emotional Intelligence) - Vistage Presentation

    August 2011

    I’m a member of Vistage – those familiar with the format understand that each quarter there is a guest speaker that presents on a topic.  This quarter’s topic was on the “EQ”.  EQ (Emotional Intelligence) is an ability to identify, understand, and use emotions to cope with ourselves, others, and the environment.  What’s this have to do with a business and your finances – EVERYTHING! I can promise you that my clients that are in good moods make more than my clients that have bad moods and are always complaining!  Our presenter, Heather Anderson from Leading Challenges, LLC had our group take a survey which gave us our EQ across several different categories.  The theory is that leaders with average to high average (outside of norms is not normal) tend to be better leaders.

    Well, I don't know if I was in a bad mood or not the day that I took it but I was pretty hard on myself. My results were average to below average in several categories. That's okay, once over my initial shock I thought "time to get to work" as I'm trying to keep a group of accountants, notoriously pessimistic people, optimistic in a period of economic negativity.

    Then I remembered Heather's advice – "prove to me that you're below average." I figured that my wife, Julie, knows me as good or better than I know myself so on our 5 hour drive to Hilton Head for our annual family vacation I had her to take the test as if she were me. Best idea I had, following Heather's advice. She disproved the areas that I was most concerned about – namely assertiveness (I was showing way below average in this area – it's a must have for a leader. She reminded me that I can't even let the family decide what's for dinner, how can I possibly not be assertive!)

    However, we did agree on some categories that I really need to work on, namely my overall happiness and sense of satisfaction. Well, I am definitely not as happy as I was in college (sometimes I question who is?) and I've always been accused of never being satisfied (which is ironic, because I'm not super competitive with anyone but myself). So, I figured that I'd start working on these two items.

    Why work on this?  Fish Rots from the Head Down! My mood is affecting the team! I have seen the enemy and he is me! If you don't think that leadership and the leader's mood are not related, I think you are ignoring what's happening in your own company and an entire body of research contrary to the subject (in addition to the current leaders of company culture, like Zappos founder Tony Hsieh!)

    In my course of self discovery I came across two recent blog posts about the state of 'moods' as it relates to the workplace – since I definitely need to work on mine. Okay, this was good news; I'm not the only one feeling this way!

    • Eat Your Heart Out, Kathy Bates – We've Got Some Real Misery Here

    So, what did/am I doing about it? Well, I tried to remember what makes me happy both in the workplace and outside of the workplace. I like helping clients and I like educating. I'm doing more of this.

    What do I like in my personal life? Well, I love my wife and kids, and we spend a lot of time together. What I have found is that the things that I personally enjoy (playing the guitar, playing golf, skiing) – I am not doing any of. This is contributing to my bad mood as I think I feel overwhelmed. We're going to address this – last night I sat on the back deck and played the guitar for about an hour after everyone went to bed. I'm going to teach the kids to play golf in the fall (only way that I'm going to get back into a more full-time zone and get my handicap back) – we also started a Vistage foursome in our group. Still working on what to do about the snow / water skiing (I own a boat that I don't use enough) – we'll get there though. After playing the guitar I listened to the Andres Segovia station on Pandora for about an hour and didn't think about anything – it was amazing how positive I felt after that – this has translated into my work day today – hopefully I'm turning the tide on the rot!

    I think a lot of folks that own companies feel the same way I do – especially after the last four years. Most business books on leadership and company ownership (e.g. E-Myth) were written during good times or less bad times – there's not really anything out there for this time other than taking a cue to get passionate, remember what makes you happy, and remember that your mood drives the team.

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