Emotional intelligence

TheCaseOfTheMissingCutleryYou can buy a leadership book today for about $25.

Or you can get an MBA for about $30,000 or more.

But learning about leadership from a few decades of everyday experience and mentors? Priceless.

Kevin Allen was the pitchman for the “Priceless” ad campaign for MasterCard, which launched in 1997 and continues to influence people today.

Kevin wrote the Wall Street Journal best-selling The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following. And now he’s back with a new book, The Case of the Missing Cutlery: A Leadership Course for the Rising Star.

The book provides simple (and profound) leadership principles, primarily from an emotional intelligence perspective.

The big idea in Missing Cutlery is a concept Kevin calls “buoyancy.” Each person in your organization makes a decision about whether to buoy you up after they have assessed your authenticity, empathy, and connection with their true desire.

There are two primary steps to creating buoyancy as a leader.

  1. Uncovering the hidden agenda of your people. The hidden agenda comes in three forms: wants, needs, and values.
  2. Connecting your leverageable assets as the means to ignite the hidden agenda. These assets are: your real ambition, your credo, and your core.

To illustrate the principles, the book follows a true story from Kevin’s own life, in one of his earliest experiences as a young, new leader at Marriott. In addition, Kevin shares several other stories from his leadership at Marriott, McCann Erickson (the huge ad company that developed the “Priceless” campaign), Rudy Giuliani’s campaign to run for mayor on a platform of making NYC safe again, and now as founder of ReKap, a consulting and software firm that created Planet Jockey, an online leadership development game.

On the topic of communication, I have long tried to learn from the masters of advertising — which, like communication, is all about understanding and influencing people.

But on the topic of leadership, Kevin’s book may be the first time I’ve realized that advertising also has much to teach us.

We tend to think of advertising as manipulating people — and perhaps that works for some short-term relationships (how else can you explain all the awful TV ads for used cars?). But that could never explain the 15 years of continued success behind a campaign like “Priceless.” Clearly, that campaign taps into powerful emotional motivations, which can only happen when you truly understand and ignite your target audience’s wants, needs, and values.

I liked Missing Cutlery … a lot. In fact, I liked it a lot more than I expected. It’s a very fast, enjoyable read. It provides ideas and big concepts we can put into practice immediately.

Like a business parable, the main story made it easy to understand the principles being taught. Better than a business parable, it was a true story, with real people that we ended up really caring about … a story we’re more likely to remember.

And the book is also chock full of shorter real stories, told in a fun way, by a leader and advertiser who is well practiced at using stories to simultaneously entertain, educate, and inspire.

Jesse is the host of the Engaging Leader and Game Changer podcasts and managing principal of Aspendale Communications. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

{ 0 comments }

Flexible ThinkingIn the past, leaders who made fast decisions inspired confidence and often produced excellent results. In today’s more complex, rapidly changing environment, great leaders use and encourage a different skill that Jesse calls “flexible thinking.”

Flexible thinking is a leadership secret uncovered by David Burnham and other researchers at the firm Burnham Rosen, through studies involving hundreds of thousands of people beginning in the late 1990s. Flexible thinking recognizes that in the 21st century:

  • Situations tend to be complex rather than black-and-white
  • Information is widely available (the leader no longer has a monopoly on information)
  • Both situations and information frequently change.

New research from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business confirms the importance of flexible thinking, one of the five principles behind interactive leadership. Most people will be surprised to learn that the starting point is emotional ambivalence.

In this episode, Jesse discusses how flexible thinking can improve your leadership ability and outlines five ways to inspire flexible thinking in your team:

  • Recognize your own ambivalent feelings. For those of us trained to emphasize logic and downplay emotion, it can be helpful to see a list of feelings. Sorry guys: in this context, neither “hungry” nor “horny” qualify as feelings.
  • Give voice to your ambivalence. Specifically name two emotions you feel that seem to be conflicting. “I’m worried that we’ll lose money on this deal, but I’m excited about being the first in this market.”
  • Encourage team members to share their feelings (not just their rational thoughts). You don’t have to get touchy-feely about this (“Gee, Bob, tell me how you’re really feeling”). Usually, leading by example is all that’s necessary (recognizing and giving voice to your ambivalence).
  • Take care not to squash their feelings. The worst thing you can do is slip into “Lord of Logic” mode, and discount the emotions expressed by your team. Bite your tongue if you feel tempted to say “No, that won’t happen,” “That’s silly,” or “Yeah, but….”
  • Demonstrate a healthy attitude toward mistakes. Acknowledge up front that the group may not always get the answer right. Occasional mistakes are a part of doing business, and many mistakes end up not negatively affecting the outcome.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode

Subscription Links

iTunes Stitcher RSS

Your Feedback

If you like our show, please rate us on iTunes. That makes a huge difference in helping more people discover it. We love to know your thoughts about this episode. Please submit your comments below! You can also email comments to Jesse at jesse@engagingleader.com, subscribe to him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

{ 0 comments }

Your Brain on Emotion: 6 Steps to Avoid a Hair-Trigger Outburst

August 12, 2013

Effective leadership requires emotional intelligence (EQ). That includes responding rather than reacting in emotionally charged situations. Recently, Erin and I were enjoying a great day with another couple, touring wineries in a beautiful region. We’ve been close friends for a few years, and among many conversation topics, sometimes we talk about God or church. We […]

Read the full article →

042: 3 Ways to Become a Resonant Leader | with Richard Boyatzis

June 20, 2013

Richard Boyatzis is a Professor in the Departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology, and Cognitive Science at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of more than 150 articles on leadership, competencies, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, and management education. He was ranked #9 Most Influential International Thinkers by an 11,000 HR Director Survey in […]

Read the full article →

033: Leading Out Loud: Why Communication is the Most Essential Leadership Skill | with Terry Pearce

April 18, 2013

Is it true that communication is the most essential leadership skill? And if so, what are the biggest keys to leadership communication? To address that, our guest today is Terry Pearce, author of Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future. This is the bestselling guide to authentic leadership communication, and […]

Read the full article →

030: Why Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Isn’t Enough for Superior Leadership | with David Burnham

March 28, 2013

David Burnham has been a researcher for over 40 years on superior leadership in industry, academia, and governments around the world. He was one of the first thought leaders who called for a new style of leadership, including the necessity of emotional intelligence (EQ). The rest of the world eventually picked up the message about […]

Read the full article →

022: Messages They Need to Hear from You

January 31, 2013

Messages drive thoughts, which drive actions, which drive results. To get the outcome you want, many leaders start with training certain actions or behaviors to their people. But researchers at Burnham Rosen Group have discovered that it’s more effective to train people to think differently, because the right thoughts will lead to the right actions. […]

Read the full article →

014: 5 Ways to De-Motivate People (Are You Making Any of These Common Mistakes?)

November 29, 2012

Jesse and Marty discuss five common mistakes leaders make that steal most people’s intrinsic motivation to be fully engaged in their work. These are not simply based on opinion; the five points are based on decades of empirical research with hundreds of thousands of people by Burnham Rosen Group: 1. Make all decisions yourself  (To […]

Read the full article →

013: Socially Smart: Things Gen Y Needs to Know that Schools Aren’t Teaching | Featuring Jenn Swanson

November 22, 2012

In this episode, Jesse is joined by the host of the Communication Diva podcast as well as author of the e-book How to Be Professional in the Workplace, Jenn Swanson. Jenn teaches Human Relation Skills at the college-level part-time, and the other part of the time she works with high-school students in youth ministry. So […]

Read the full article →

3 Secrets to Professional Presence [video]

November 20, 2012

You may be super-smart in your field, but if you come across as stressed out and distracted, you won’t receive much support. Especially in times of stress and change, developing professional presence is essential. Here are three key components that can help. “Every leader needs to clearly explain the top three things the organization is […]

Read the full article →

6 Reasons Empathy Will Make You A Powerful Leader

September 24, 2012

Empathy used to sound to me like a weak word associated with touchy-feely concepts.  But in recent years, I have come to understand that it is actually an incredibly powerful concept. If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things […]

Read the full article →

How to Use Mirror Neurons to Influence People [video]

September 21, 2012

When communicating with people, if we trigger their mirror neurons, they will be more empathetic to our perspective. They will be much more likely to be influenced by the way we’re thinking. Resources: Podcast episode 004: Powerful Empathy 6 Reasons Empathy Will Make You A Powerful Leader Thank you to the following experts who taught me […]

Read the full article →