How to get more juice out of life and business

As a Vistage coach and peer advisory group leader, I’m often frustrated and bewildered when the topic of emotional intelligence is raised. Most of the CEOs I work with got to where they are by being really good at something, and that “something” was not managing people and their emotions.

I’ve heard on numerous occasions, “If I could just get rid of the people in my organization, everything would be great.” Turns out that’s not an option for any of the leaders I work with.

More importantly, those leaders who choose to develop their EQ (emotional quotient) end up getting the MOST satisfaction from working closely with people in their organizations.

Paying attention to EQ

Before we get to the how of EQ, let’s discuss the why. Why should you care?

1. Around the Vistage table, recruiting and retaining good talent is most often cited as the obstacle to business growth. Good employees don’t stay in bad organizations or work for leaders they don’t respect and trust. A highly developed EQ improves your chances for keeping good people and growing your organization.

2. Happiness is most often associated with rich and fulfilling relationships. Developing your ability to understand your emotions and those of others allows you to connect. Feeling connected to others takes away the lonely feelings many in leadership experience.

3. Low EQ is frequently cited as the reason for stagnant business growth, as it affects your ability to build a thriving team or to engage employees.

A model company

I recently explored this topic with Steve Murow, CEO of Murow CM, whose company is listed among Orange County’s Best Places to Work. I asked him how he’s been able to attract and keep great employees. He said people need to know you care. Steve truly cares about his staff and demonstrates this every day in his actions and discussions about the future.

As you might expect, there are regular company-sponsored activities, a gym on site, and opportunities to further education. What you might not expect is that Steve knows the personal stories, hopes and dreams of his employees, and that these details really matter to him. As a result, turnover is low and morale is high, and Steve feels fulfilled in his work well beyond rapid company growth and hitting target numbers.

How to expand your EQ

But not all executives find it easy to connect personally with their employees. That’s OK. If you are not highly emotionally intelligent, then put yourself into situations that will expand this skill set. These will be uncomfortable situations, such as sitting around a Vistage table and inviting other CEOs to share the things you need to hear.

Sitting regularly with 16 peers who are unafraid to engage in a frank, robust conversation will undoubtedly expand your EQ. I always say that stepping into those conversations is a brave act and a great way to assure that your life potential is fully realized.

This article originally appeared in the Orange County Business Journal

Category : Leadership

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About the Author: Michele Jewett

Michele Jewett is a Vistage Chair for CEO peer advisory boards in Orange County, CA. She has served on the Board of Challengers at Chapman University, where she guest lectures and acts as mentor to start-up companies at the Leatherby Center …

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