Listen for the Crunch

As I backed my car out of the garage this morning, I heard every inch of movement. As tires hit snow hardened by sub-teen temperatures: crunch, crunch, crunch. Easing the car out of the driveway: crunch, crunch, crunch. Turning the wheels to turn onto the street: crunch, crunch, crunch. It’s amazing how aware you become of movement when you hear it happening. 

Likewise, how effective can leaders become when they pay attention to the way their movements (emotions) impact followers? It isn’t that leaders shouldn’t be pushing, prodding, encouraging, or inspiring movement. Whenever you influence others to move in sync, with a shared vision, toward a desired future, there will be crunchiness. The question is, do you hear it? 

In their book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves share that 90% of top performing leaders have a high EQ – Emotional Intelligence. EQ includes self-awareness and management and growing your EQ means that you become aware of your emotions, hearing the crunchiness, instead of being clueless about them or choosing to be controlled by them. Only 36% of people who have taken the EQ assessment were able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen. This is a problem since EQ accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. This means that approximately two-thirds of us are not yet skilled at spotting and using our emotions toward positive movement in our workplace.

Now for some honest disclosure... I took the EQ assessment* and I have some work to do.  There are movements I try to create where I have become deafened to the crunch.  It’s not enough to learn about EQ or to appreciate its importance. It takes action and hard work to become more self-aware.

Fortunately for us, there are ways to grow EQ! For me, personally, the assessment identified the following strategy: “Watch Yourself Like A Hawk.” A hawk has the advantage of soaring hundreds of feet above the ground to see what is happening in their world. For a leader to soar like a hawk is to slow down, to develop a more objective understanding of your own behavior, to practice taking notice of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors as crunchy situations unfold around you.

Leadership will always be “crunchy” because it’s about movement. The question is, are you employing all your senses to recognize the ripple effect of your emotions on yourself and those around you? For it is only when slow yourself down that you will grow your ability to lead when things get crunchy – and they’re always crunchy.


*Each book comes with a code that allows you to take the EQ assessment online.