Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Agility, and Leadership

Their interconnected nature in a very successful leader

Emotional intelligence is a topic that I have covered many times here in this setting. And I have explored the relationship between higher levels of emotional intelligence and overall success in life. Therefore, it is worthy of some additional coverage because of the major influence it has on your success as a leader. More importantly, it is worthy due to the fact that these are skills that can be learned and developed.

The key to understanding the link between emotional intelligence and leadership is the development of the sense of how our persona and how we communicate our ideas are being received by those that we are leading. Can we agree that most of our communication is non-verbal? A fellow writer on this site and a dear friend for many years has a mirror on his desk that was given to him in a training session more than 20 years ago. It serves to remind him that even when we are on the telephone, when we’re smiling, the attitude transmits and is received by the person on the other end of the line.

Intuitive or Learned

For many leaders, this is intuitive. For many, it is not. This is not to be considered as an indictment against those to whom it is not intuitive. There are many leadership styles and there are many successful leaders who don’t care one whit about “Emotional Intelligence”.

But my point is that as a leader we should want to care about how we are perceived by those we lead. We should learn that part of “seeing the big picture” is being able to communicate that picture in authentic and personal ways to those around us. We should want to use words and approaches that are meaningful to the receiver.

Emotional Intelligence has been likened to the graphic equalizer control in music. It tweaks the sound with a range from high to low and it adds depth and color to the sound. The actual lyrics or the musical melody are only a small fraction of the message in the music.

Emotional Intelligence can be learned, developed and maximized with a little awareness and little more effort. And it is incumbent upon us as leaders to do whatever we can to maximize our effectiveness.

The Leadership Application

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eBook editions of The Emotionally Agile Leader

Kindle and Nook editions are now available!

If you don’t like to buy books in print editions, then I have great news for you! You can now get The Emotionally Agile Leader in Nook and in Kindle versions right now.

These electronic versions have just been released by the publisher and they are in pre-sales mode just like the print version. So, the ebooks will be arriving on your ereaders on October 1, 2018 for any purchases made between now and release date. The book is doing very well in pre-sales and we are processing a couple of bulk orders by leaders who want to distribute this book within their organizations to really impact their leadership teams.

What is the book about?

We live in a chaotic world. Some of us are called to leadership positions in the midst of that chaos. How will we act and react? The leaders who will succeed in these times are the ones who are emotionally agile. That is the basis for The Emotionally Agile Leader. 

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The Emotionally Agile Leader is sometimes a Servant Leader

Thoughts from my recent workshop on Servant Leadership

I had the chance to speak to a small ballroom full of energetic and enthusiastic marketing professionals last Friday. I flew out to San Diego, CA to present a workshop on Servant Leadership to the Society of Marketing Professional Services at their annual Build Business Conference (SMPSBB18). It was awesome! And I hope they invite me back next year.

Is there a connection between emotional agility and servant leadership?

Yes! Emphatically yes!

I began my presentation with a travel story about an experience that I had in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia a few years ago. I wrote about it in an article entitled, Knowing Your Place. Click that link if you want the full story. But, here is a summary:

It was the last night of my stay at the very luxurious Ritz-Carlton in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Apparently, someone had alerted the General Manager that I would be leaving very early the following morning. So, he came to my dinner table in the dining room to introduce himself and to say “Thank you” for my extended stay It had been a 3 and a half week stay at his hotel. It was soon after our brief discussion ended that I saw an extraordinary example of true servant leadership.

A woman was struggling with a large balloon bouquet and a suitcase. In addition to the most senior person in the hotel, there were several other general staff in the very near vicinity. They probably saw her as well. But they did nothing. And then he did it.

Knowing his place in the hierarchy, he was at the pinnacle, he graciously walked over to her and picked up her bag and carried it to the bell captain while she completed her check out routine.

That is what he did. He carried the bag himself. I watched it all happen. At least twice he could have snapped his finger and had one of the junior hospitality staff take the bag. He could have very subtly caught the eye of one of them and asked them to do the menial task of carrying the bag. And he would have been right to do so.

After all, he was the most senior person and outranked everyone else on the staff. His place was at the top. I wonder if he started his hotel career as a bellboy. I wonder if he ever thinks of those early days.

My guess is that he has not forgotten his more humble beginnings. My guess is that he has always had a servant’s heart. My guess is that it was his focus on the patrons of the places that he has worked has been the thing that has propelled his career. He has never lost sight of the customer. Even from his place at the top.

What is the connection?

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Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership Workshop

Really looking forward to talking about one of my favorite leadership topics – Servant Leadership. I have the great opportunity to speak to a room full of marketing professionals about how servant leadership may transform their organizations.

Servant Leadership Workshop on August 17th at 1:30pm at SMPS Build Business 2018 in San Diego, CA at the fabulous Marriott Marquis at the Marina.

 

 

The Emotionally Agile Leader

My Big Announcement

My latest book is about to be published! The book, The Emotionally Agile Leader is the culmination of nearly two years of writing, editing, and preparing to launch my perspective on emotional intelligence as it manifests itself in the life of a leader.

I have been teasing this announcement for several weeks while I have been taking a break from regular writing and posting on the website. And today I want to announce that the book will soon be available in several outlets. Final distribution details are still being finalized. But, we are just a few short weeks away from The Emotionally Agile Leader going on sale!

What is an emotionally agile leader?

The best way to understand the basis for the book is to realize that we live in a chaotic world. Some of us are called to leadership positions in the midst of that chaos. How will we act and react when that happens? The leaders who will succeed in these times are the ones who are emotionally agile. That is the basis for The Emotionally Agile Leader. 

As emotionally agile leaders, we must not merely adapt. We must be agile. Being adaptive does indeed indicate a change. But the change can be imperceptibly slow. The change can be evolutionary and not revolutionary. It can be like a giant battleship or aircraft carrier. These ships must have the ability to turn and maneuver. And they do. They just can’t do it fast. It takes time and distance to turn a giant ship around. 

Contrast that with the image of a Vietnam era “swift boat.” These boats were small shallow-draft vessels used to patrol the coastal and inland waterways of the Mekong Delta. As their name would indicate, they were small, fast, and highly maneuverable craft.

In the pages of the book you will get:

  • A refresher on Emotional Intelligence
  • A call to introspection as a means of identifying the key emotions that drive our behaviors
  • Tools to manage your own emotions that affect your leadership abilities
  • Habits to form to increase your leadership abilities
  • And an invitation and methodology to create more emotionally agile leaders as you mentor other leaders around you

What are folks saying about the book?

What are folks saying who have read the advanced reader copy (ARC) of the manuscript?. I have gotten overwhelmingly positive responses from folks who have received and read the ARC. Friends, business leaders, academics, entrepreneurs and fellow leaders are saying great things about the book. Just take a look at the book launch trailer video and get a sense of what some are saying about The Emotionally Agile Leader. 

Would you like to be a part of the Launch Team?

I already have a launch team of more than 50 folks who have seen the value of the material in The Emotionally Agile Leader and who are committed to helping spread the word via social media. Would you like to be a part of the Launch Team? If so, click this button below and send me an email and I will add you to the team. I will be sending the launch team a dedicated message and will be giving them some advance content not yet available to the public and will have some special gifts for those who rise to the challenge to help spread the message via social media and other channels of communication with their circle of influence.

Will you help me launch The Emotionally Agile Leader? Will you be a part of the team? Will you start by clicking one of the buttons below and then will you come back here and share this big announcement to your social media network via one of the social media icons above the article or that are on the left side of your screen if you are on a computer and across the bottom of the screen if you are on a mobile device? That is what I need to start generating some excitement and to make this book a big success.

Thank you!

I want to be on the Launch Team!

Click here to visit the book launch website!

Still on a bit of a hiatus

And still working on the details of the big announcement


I hope that you and your family have had an opportunity to take some time this summer and get away to rest, relax, refresh, and revitalize the most important relationships on the earth. I have been very fortunate to have taken some time to be with family in a spectacular setting. And I have been enjoying doing some work in the background on a big announcement.

Thanks for being patient with me as I work through some details and logistical matters. My hope is that it will be worth it and that the time working behind the scenes will have been well spent.

Have a great week and I will be making the big announcement soon.

By the way, I have given you a clue in the graphic image in the last post. And there is another clue in this one. Some of you may have picked up on it. Some of you may not. But, I hope it will make sense to you soon and you will see the clues in the light of their obvious meaning after the announcement.

Have a great week!

Even Leaders Need Help

Or, maybe I should say, especially leaders need help.

With as much humility as I can muster, I will say that I am a very comfortable public speaker. It is one of my strengths. But, there are a lot of areas where I have weaknesses. The older that I get, the more that technology has become a weakness.

More than admitting a weakness

There is more to this little moment of transparency than just admitting a weakness. This is about being self-aware enough to know your strengths and weaknesses. Clint Eastwood gave us a memorable line from his 1973 sequel to Dirty Harry, entitled Magnum Force. He said in that movie, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It seems the older that I get, the more in touch I am with my limitations. 

Knowing one’s limitations is just another way of expressing one of the key components of emotional intelligence. Knowing our limitations is being self-aware. And self-awareness leads to being able to self-manage.

What does this look like from a practical standpoint?

I am in the midst of some very significant changes in my writing and coaching practice. Some of those changes are requiring a huge technological component in order to support my mission and goals going forward. And I do not have the skills necessary to perform much of the work that will need to be done. 

That is a hard thing for me to admit. I have more than 20 years in various areas of the IT industry. I have managed areas of a data center, I have managed software development teams, and I have managed It operations. Unfortunately, the last time I had a real IT job was 17 years ago. And yet today, I am totally out of my depth when it comes to technology. If I stray too far from my Mac and iPhone, I am in unfamiliar territory. And, truthfully, I don’t know a whole lot about my Mac and iPhone!

What is the practical application of this self-awareness?

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Are You a Visionary Leader?

And is vision alone enough?

I am fortunate to be involved with several non-profit organizations. They range from religious, to academic, to secular. Even those that are not religious know one of the passages in the Bible that deal with vision. Here is that often misquoted or misused scripture 

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”. 

It is found in the Old Testament in Proverbs 29:18. It is used many times from the pulpit to exhort us to catch the vision that the pastor has seen and to press us onward to the destination seen in the vision.

But I submit to you that there is a BIG difference between being a visionary and being a leader. And I ask the larger question: Is having a great vision enough? Beyond having a vision, is having one and being able to communicate it, enough?

What is a “visionary?”

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Proof of Leadership

Is there a “test” for leadership?

It is easy to look like a leader when everything is going well. I think we can make the argument that everything is not going well. We are living in difficult days. I am speaking globally. And I am speaking about our nation. And I am speaking about the great state of Texas. And I am speaking about my own little life.

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.

Publilius Syrus

Nobody panic. All is well in my home. I just love a great quote and this is one of my favorites. What does it mean? To me, it is about the difference between being a leader and just looking like a leader.

To my friends and family, there is no need for alarm. I am very blessed. But here is the reality of life as I see it.

Globally – We are seeing world events take place that may bring to resolution a conflict that my father was a part of 68 years ago on the Korean Peninsula. The world watches and waits.

Nationally – Our nation is on the verge of cultural and class warfare.

Texas – Here in Texas we are engaged again in a battle to see if we are conservative enough. Is there a “litmus test” for conservatism? I don’t know for sure. And if so, would I pass it? Would you?

Home – Home is where I find joy and contentment and love and acceptance. I am blessed beyond measure with a family that is strong and courageous and loving and caring. But there are still struggles every day that are common to many of you who read these words.

So, is there a test that determines if you are a leader or not?

It is easy to lead when times are easy.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Look Funny

Words of Wisdom from an Unsuccessful Presidential Candidate

I am putting the final touches on a manuscript. One of the tasks given to me by my editor is to chase down a quote that I plan to use to drive home a point in one of the chapters toward the end of the book. I have said many times that I truly love a great and pithy little quote. And this one from Adlai Stevenson is no exception.

Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (5 February 1900 – 14 July 1965) was an American politician and statesman. He was known as a skillful orator and debater. He served as a Governor of Illinois and he was twice an unsuccessful candidate for President of the United States. He mounted unsuccessful campaigns running against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956. He did serve the John F. Kennedy administration when he was appointed as United States Ambassador to the United Nations. 

Here is a quote attributed to him:

“It is hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.”

I am struggling to find a direct attribution to Adlai Stevenson although everyone seems to be quoting him. The quote in question has been written about recently in a book by Ron Gaddie entitled, Born to Run: Origins of the Political Career. In that book, Gaddie examines the political careers of nine different individuals who ran for political offices at a variety of local and state levels. I do not intend to review the book here. Rather, I want to look at the quote and explore its implication to us as leaders.

What does the quote say to you from a leadership perspective?

Here is what it says to me. It says that we must look beyond our own real, or imagined, shortcomings in order to be an effective leader. This is especially true when it comes to our self-confidence.

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