Emotional Influence

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By Aaron Templer

Thought leadership of Leading through Challenging Times focuses on emotional intelligence. Want to influence through tough times? Learn to manage emotions.

Three Over Four does lead gen and content marketing for the Executive Education unit at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. One of the great things about this client, beside their concise name, is that we get to learn. It’s a 24-7-365 class proxy of some incredible content tailored specifically for working professionals.

And their orientation around leadership aligns perfectly with our strengths. So it’s a good fit for both of us.

This month we’re creating content around a leadership topic relevant to just about all of us: Empower to Perform: Leadership strategies for empowering people to rise up to business challenges. We interviewed Mark Gasta, former Executive Vice President, Chief People Officer, and Chief Sustainability Officer of Vail Resorts. We interviewed William Espey, Branding Creative Lead for Chipotle. We asked three leadership professors to comment on one of the eight temptations leaders fall into during challenging times as outlined in this article. And we curated all kinds of content around the subject for their social feeds.

Here’s my main takeaway from all this learning: Leading, following, and influencing change through challenging times is about leading, managing, and tapping into emotions. Which, as anyone who’s tried to work on emotional intelligence can tell you, is horribly mislabeled as a Soft Skill because it’s really, really hard. And despite being everywhere online right now, Emotional Intelligence is as misunderstood as it is important. It’s what helps us from falling into a bunch of the traps in the article, it’s what will connect employees to a vision of an alternative future, and it’s what helps us craft compelling stories.

In other words, emotion drives influence. So we’re all in.

One place I turn to when I want to go deeper is Eric Barker’s blog Barking up the Wrong Tree. And it just so happened that this month he published a challenging look at emotional intelligence through a review of the book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. Eric has me wanting to read it. In the meantime, here are my takeaways from his review:

  • Emotions are learned, aren’t hard-wired, so must be approached without a one-size-fits-all template.
  • Emotional Intelligence takes a lot of practice. And just like anything else, you can hone it like a craft.
  • The more sophisticated your understanding of emotions, the better we can fine-tune our reaction to it, be it our own self management or helping others do something with theirs.
  • Bourbon is an ineffective coping mechanism (bummer).

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