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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #145: Don’t Look Now, but Your EQ is Showing!

July 15, 2021
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #145: Don’t Look Now, but Your EQ is Showing!

Is leadership mostly about your IQ or your EQ? Today Perry and Chris talk about the importance of Emotional Intelligence in leadership and how you can improve yours to better influence your team.

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Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, vice president with the John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining. We’d love for you to visit There you can leave us a question or a comment. You can learn more about some of our virtual deliveries, which we do a lot of and we’ll always be doing.

Perry Holley:    Gotten good at that, haven’t we?

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. Yeah, matter of fact, I love the fact Perry was leading a call last night with all of our facilitators and coaches and we were talking about how do we become more effective at doing this virtually with teams? I love that. We’re doing a lot of that. Perry has written a learner guide for us in these episodes. Visit there, leave a question, access resources and we’d love to hear from you.

Well, today’s topic, I’m intrigued by this. You guys know I love Perry’s titles, but today we’re going to talk about, Don’t Look Now but your EQ is Showing. I love it. Talk to us, Perry.

Perry Holley:    Well I was on a coaching call recently and the client admitted, I thought it was interesting, very candid, but he said that, he goes, “I lost it. I just lost it with one of my team members today.” As voices were being raised and bad words were being used, he recalled how he had been talking about ways, he and I had been talking about ways that he could either help or hurt his influence with his people. And he thought this would end up in the hurt column. I said he’s probably right. He was able to calm things down and recover the situation. It reminded me of the old debate we always have about is it IQ? And when it comes to leadership, is that IQ or EQ that’s the most? Intelligence or emotional quotient, what’s the most important to leadership?

Chris Goede:     Well, couple things come to mind. First one, we share the Harvard kind of Business Review study that they did, where it came back after interviewing and following 200 leaders, different industries, different size companies for a couple of years and found that 85% of the time, they focused on the EQ side of things. Now, Perry and I are not saying throw the baby out with the bath water and you don’t have to know how to lead. There is some skillset to that. There’s some intellect to that. But what we are saying is that, man, this is an important part that you need to make sure is showing, back to your title. And then also, I think you put here in the notes with Daniel Goleman’s kind of the father, people look at him as one of the thought leaders pioneers of the EQ side of things.

A great little quote here that they actually pulled out of the Harvard Business Review as well, where he said, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way, they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It is not the IQ and the technical skills are irrelevant. It’s not that they’re irrelevant, they do matter but they are the entry level requirements of executive positions.” And so I think it’s just a powerful quote to think about the fact that they do matter, but as you continue to grow your influence in your leadership, EQ will take a much more prevalent part in how you lead and connect with people.

Perry Holley:    Right. And Goleman went on to say that there are five elements that define emotional intelligence. I’ll give you his five then of course, you know I have my own five.

Chris Goede:     I love the number five.

Perry Holley:    But number one was self-awareness. Do you understand and manage your emotions? Number two was self regulation, where you control your impulses. You think before you respond. Motivation, defer your instant gratification for long-term results. Empathy, great word, recognize the feelings and emotions of others. And then social skills, are you able to handle relationships and let others shine? Let’s talk about this and how a leader can grow and improve their emotional intelligence to be more influential. It really is what it comes down to, your emotional intelligence and the way you handle that will either help or hurt your influence with people.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, absolutely. Go back and think about interactions you’ve had with individuals to where you could identify they had a higher level of EQ and tell me about your experience. That’s immediately what I think about. It’s obvious when you interact with people. And so as leaders, we’ve got to be thinking about this and the first thing a leader must work on if that’s the case is the self-awareness. How am I coming across from my EQ ability? What does that look like? And we’ve done a podcast in the past on self-awareness. I think it was number 130 if you want to go back and take a listen to that. We take this topic very seriously. We believe it’s kind of even the foundation of what you need as a leader. And you must become a student of yourself.

Now, when we talk about self-awareness, here’s the first thing. Make sure that you’re not surrounding your people with what I call, yes sir, yes ma’am people. Surround yourself with people that will give you candid feedback about your ability to connect with people. And as you become a student of yourself and you learn about yourself, those same things, you’ll be able to see and pick up in other people. Maybe even go back to the example that I just shared about an interaction with an individual and you’re like, man, how did that make me feel? Well, I want you now to begin to think about how do I make people feel? How, when I’m in a conversation, does that affect other people? We often talk about this quote of what’s it feel like to be on the other side of your leadership? Begin to ask questions of other people about this.

Now I’ve also said in the past, you need to make sure that and around self-awareness this is a habit. This is not something you do one time because the longer that we’ve had the opportunity to be in a leadership position, be able to lead people, influence people, the more unaware we become of what it’s like to actually be on a team led by us. Which means at times we’re probably leaving people in the wake. Just make sure you kind of go through that. I think self-awareness is a big part of it. And if you’re not self-aware, then you will not have an understanding of your true feelings and your true effect on other people and that’s a problem because we’re in the people business.

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Perry Holley:    That’s right. And I did place a self-awareness checklist in the learner guide of episode 130.

Chris Goede:     Oh good.

Perry Holley:    If anybody wanted to go back and assess your own self-awareness.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s good.

Perry Holley:    A second thing that I’ve noticed is that you can do to improve emotional intelligence is to really adopt really a teachable mindset. I always ask, how teachable are you? And I’ve noticed that teachable leaders have a certain humility about them and they value others. And knowing that they just value others more than themselves and they can learn from others. Here’s what I’m trying to say is that they see value in others and they see the value in learning from others. And when you do that, I just notice from myself when I kind of quiet down and don’t have to show how much I know but I’m willing to learn how much you know, I have that teachable mindset. It really helps me control any kind of emotional side of that.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. And I think behind that is the ability to listen. I was talking to a leader the other day and I had mentioned this quote that I saw, which was, “Hey, the person you should least want to hear from in a conversation is yourself.” And I think at your part of being teachable, it’s like, hey, what can I learn about this conversation? Hey, what is it that I can be developed? And so that comes with the ability to listen, which is a whole nother aspect of the emotional intelligence side quotient that we’re talking about.

Speaking of valuing others and their input, the third thing that you can do that Perry has here for improving your emotional intelligence is develop a quiet confidence in your own performance. What I mean by that is and I think where Perry’s coming from is you’re expected to do your job and do it well. The last thing you need to do is be telling everybody how well you’re doing your job. And so I think, there’s a difference when you see leaders that have humility and then those that are like, let me tell you what I did today and you’re tired of hearing that. But you don’t need to the center of attention. You’re okay with leading from the middle of the pack at times.

Making sure that, now listen as leaders ultimately you’re responsible for any and all things, both positive and negative. We get it, that happens. But when it comes to this, I think leaders that have the ability just to have confidence in their leadership, but do it in a way that’s consistent and that’s quiet and that they know that they can put other people on their team in the spotlight. I think that’s an incredible tool when it comes to improving your emotional intelligence.

Perry Holley:    And where I got that, it’s kind of a weird, quiet confidence about your own performance is a little bit of an odd thing to say. But I was noticing on a couple of conference calls where there was, I had the leadership team, but I also had their direct reports. A group call, we’re on a Zoom, a meeting that everybody’s all over the United States. And we were talking about one of the people that worked on the team and calling out something they had done well. And one of their attributes that they had made a contribution that really played well. And the leader, I could just tell he didn’t like that they were getting all the attention on the call. The leader started saying, “But let me point out a couple of things you could really work on.” And took a really great moment to celebrate and congratulate and turn it into something about him.

And I thought, we all know you’re the boss and we all know you do a lot of work and we all know you’re good at it, but why couldn’t you just have a quiet confidence knowing that yes, one of my people was being congratulated on an open call and I would be proud of that.

Chris Goede:     Absolutely.

Perry Holley:    I’m going to be your biggest fan and have a quiet confidence about this is not about me and by you getting rewarded actually doesn’t take anything away from me. And I found that that was the emotional intelligence that I’m looking for in a leader.

Chris Goede:     That’s good. I like that.

Perry Holley:    To say, they have the quiet confidence that I can allow other people to shine, especially people that are on my team that work for me. But even more so how about my peers? How about helping my boss shine? How about helping my colleagues shine?

Chris Goede:     That’s good, that’s good.

Perry Holley:    That requires emotional intelligence to have a quiet confidence that my accolades will come.

Chris Goede:     That’s good. Really good.

Perry Holley:    I’m sure, but now’s my chance to give it to you.

Chris Goede:     That’s really good. Really good.

Perry Holley:    Another thing that I found was being able to take note, maybe this is part of self-awareness, but being able to take note of my weaknesses. Just noticing, do I get upset easily? Am I easily triggered? What triggered me? Where did that emotion rise come from? Why did I feel the need to strike back? Do I tend to blame others? Do I become judgmental when tensions rise and I start assessing blame to other people? And I just find if you’re willing to admit that you have these challenges and then work on improving them, your EEQ will definitely improve, but you’ve got to know where you are really. Really where are you? And not kidding yourself.

Chris Goede:     And that goes to that thing, you don’t know what you don’t know, but you need to know it. And to your point, it’s more of a self-awareness kind of questions that you just took us through right there, that I would encourage you to answer. More importantly, I would encourage maybe some from your inner circle to answer on your behalf. That really want what’s best for you because I think there may be a gap in between your answer and their answer, especially when it comes to opportunities for growth.

Perry Holley:    It could be a blind spot and that’s why I love the inner circle ideas. Help me. How do I come across to you? And am I showing my emotion too much? And it’s okay sometimes to show emotion, energy and excitement and even anger is an emotion that it can be used appropriately. But if you’re triggered and you’re going off on people, no, that’s not good.

Chris Goede:     Made me think about when we talked about you don’t know what you don’t know. I was reading a book and it was a basketball coach and he was talking about, “Hey, it’s okay to take a bad shot. The problem is, is after the bad shot, if you don’t know or don’t think that was a bad shot, that’s a problem.” It’s that awareness. And to your point and that coach stepped up and said, “No, no, that was a bad shot.” Having somebody speaking to those questions, you just mentioned, I think is a great thing to do.

Well, I think the final area here, the fifth one to consider is increasing empathy for others. And that shows up in multiple different ways. And I think that the more that we can put ourselves in other’s shoes, I like the illustration you’ve shared with me before about, hey, when empathy is, is going down to where somebody else is and saying, “Hey, we’re going to figure this out.” Not saying, “Man, here, let me help you from up here.”

Perry Holley:    Sure am sorry, you’re in that hole.

Chris Goede:     I’m sorry.

Perry Holley:    That sympathy.Chris Goede:     That sympathy. And so I think the more you can do that and you can put yourself in other’s shoes and empathize on how they feel, that allows you to increase your emotional intelligence. And I think when I think about people that have shown great empathy for me, we’ve talked a little bit about being a good listener already. I think that that’s key as a leader, period, in everything that we talk about. But two other things that I think are really important is are you approachable? Even if you have a closed door policy, are people still, do they look at you and say, “It’s all right, he’s got that time scheduled, but man, when he’s out, he’s always approachable.”

And the other thing is, are you really curious about where your individuals on your team are coming from? What’s their experiences? What’s their values? What are they dealing with? And I’m not saying getting into a counseling session here. But are you really curious behind and the root cause of what people are going through in regards to work and can you put yourself in their shoes and jumped down in there and help them? I think when you increase your empathy and your ability to show empathy, that you obviously can set the foundation of being able to lead at a different level with those individuals.

Perry Holley:    Well people I’ve found with strong EQ really have great attitudes, usually. They’re kind of balanced. They rarely complain. They’re not overly negative. They don’t dwell on the past. They’re positive, future facing people because they know that good things happen, bad things happen and they’re balanced and able to handle that. But why don’t you wrap it up for us.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, this is something that man, I think we gave you just a quick 20-minute-high level on emotional intelligence. This is such a deep topic here, but it’s so important for us and I love it. It came right out of what Perry’s hearing in the field on a coaching call. And it kind of made him think about this. But if you can figure out how to show your EQ, back to his title, a little bit more, I think it will help you tremendously. Now remember, we talk about the fact that the difference between influence and manipulation is your motive and so make sure that your motives are pure on why you’re beginning to grow and show your EQ, your emotional intelligence.

But I want to challenge you to go back and whenever you’re listening to this, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I want you to think back over the last couple of business days, I want you to ask yourself, how much time did I spend with my team with those that I’ve influenced with my peers, you even mentioned your leader, really on the EQ side of things? Or was it all just about competence and intellect and we were going hard and charging? Or was there any of what we talked about today, any of these five? And what did that look like?

And that’s the first step of the self-awareness is beginning to evaluate and do that. Do your own little assessment and analyze the last previous couple of business days and figure out where you’re at. Because remember back to the percentage I gave you early on in this session, which was Harvard Business Review did a study that said 85% of the time, the leaders were focused on the EQ side of what was going on in their world. That’s a big deal. And I can tell you this, not every day am I at 85%. Matter of fact, not every day I might not be at the opposite number of that, which is 15% and so it’s good for me to hear it too, so I really appreciate it. Thanks, Perry.

Perry Holley:    Fantastic. Chris, thank you. As a reminder, that you can learn more about the five levels, 360° Leader, get a learner guide for this. Leave us a question or a comment. You can do all that at We always love hearing from you and we’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast.

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