Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Season 1, Episode 5


Episode Overview

In Episode 5, Pete Newsome is joined by Full Sail University Vice President Tom Lacroix, who shares advice that employees and leaders can use to manage and improve emotional health during these challenging times.   

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.

Transcript

Pete Newsome : 

You’re listening to the Hire Calling podcast Your source for all things hiring, staffing and recruiting. In this episode, we discuss emotional intelligence in the workplace, and how it impacts both employees and those who lead them. This is an opportunity to gain valuable insight that can benefit everyone during this time of high stress and remote work. Let’s go. Welcome everyone and thank you for listening to episode five of the higher calling podcast. My name is Pete Newsome. And today I’m joined by Tom Lacroix, who is the vice president of admissions at Full Sail University. And the reason I’m excited is not in the obligatory podcast host kind of way, but it’s because Tom is one of the most intelligent, witty and all around entertaining people I know. And Tom, I’m not saying that because you’re here. Yes, I’m saying it because I really need you to be all of those things today to make this podcast good because because I’m trying here, and you know, just starting from scratch so we got a long way to go. I need your help.

Tom Lacroix : 

I will do my best to be interesting and entertaining.

Pete Newsome : 

Perfect. Can we count on witty too? Can we get that?

Tom Lacroix : 

I will do my best.

Pete Newsome : 

But Tom, in all seriousness, this is a crazy time. The rules are changing day to day and we’re going to talk about emotional intelligence today. But I was thinking about earlier this morning that the last business meeting, I had the lunch meeting was with you coincidentally right at the beginning of all this. So that was what 1112 weeks ago. Could you ever imagine then that we would be here now?

Tom Lacroix : 

Absolutely not. So it’s a crazy time. It’s a time when obviously emotions are very high and we’re seeing stress levels very high and I have been Besides being the Vice President of admissions in my career, and at full sail, I’ve also been a student of emotional intelligence and the study of that. And I just wanted to thank you for having me come in and talk about this topic.

Pete Newsome : 

Well, I’m thrilled that you agreed to do it. And let’s, let’s just, let’s start with that tell us about emotional intelligence. What What do we need to know?

Tom Lacroix : 

Well, what’s interesting is as I progressed through my career and you know, started working in with large groups of people, it was fascinating to me as I coached and mentored people and coached and mentored leaders. How little people know about emotions, right? When I I speak on this topic pretty regularly and I always start with you know, raise your hand if you’ve ever felt the human emotion. Right and there’s a laugh okay, right. weeding out the sociopath in the room. We don’t write that way. We all have emotions. We all have emotions. Every day, we’re all surrounded by people who are also experiencing emotions. And we know nothing about them. Generally that there is science that is really, really advanced in this study in the last 1015 years about emotional intelligence, but it’s a topic where people just don’t know, just don’t know. Like, what causes your emotions. If I sent you, I always say to people, what do you think causes your emotions? I think your environment, of course, has to be a big factor in that i think that you know, how you were raised, right? Your socialization has to be a big factor in that and of course, who you know, it’s the whole nature versus nurture discussion to some degree as well. It is all of that. And I, I’m French, as you pointed out, we’re simple people. So I like to make it as simple as possible. I point that out. I don’t remember what you said.

Pete Newsome : 

I thought you meant the simple part.

Tom Lacroix : 

Good. Yes. Good, very simple people. So I like to keep this as simple as possible. In, in really what I like people to get out of this topic, the first thing I’d like people to get out of this topic is what you think about causes how you feel. Period, right? If I asked you to think about p the saddest thing that ever happened to you, right? Really think about it, and then tell us about it. How would you feel after you thought about that?

Pete Newsome : 

Well, I probably wouldn’t feel very good. No, you would feel sad

Tom Lacroix : 

because you’re what you think about causes how you feel when you and you mentioned environment or circumstance, the the quandary that we have is also we have a tendency to interpret the world and reinforce how we already feel. In other words, I’m watching TV, you know, watching a funny show, expecting a delivery, there’s an option Commodore, right? Oh, okay. Go get that back. A week later, there’s been a murder in the neighborhood. I’m watching the news. I’m kind of freaked out. I hear I interpret the same event completely differently now. It’s Oh my, they’re trying to kill me. Right? And so that is why in the basis of why people suffer from depression and anxiety because you become sad, you start interpreting the world in a very sad way. Next thing you know, every movie is very sad. Every song on the radio is sad. You know, the rain which used to be romantic kind of fun is not the saddest thing that’s ever happened, right? And you can run into a situation where you spiral because you’re just reinforcing that sadness. Fear is the exact same thing where people are a little fearful they start interpreting the world in a very fearful way. You know, you get the, you know, the the text from the boss, come see me at five o’clock on a normal day. Okay, we’re going to go out for a drink. But now, I’m interpreting that communication as they’re going to fire me. And then it’s, oh my I’m, this is very worrisome. You go through a physiological fight or flight, which we can talk about, but you go through a change in your body, where you are getting a lot of adrenaline, a lot of insulin and a lot of neuro epinephrine and cortisol, a lot of things are happening. And so you end up now becoming even more fearful. And then your heart starts beating faster, and then your breathing gets shallow and it’s Oh, my, I’m having a heart attack. And then it’s a panic attack. Right? So you can spiral because we have a tendency, again, to reinforce how we already feel and interpret the world based on how we feel. So confirmation bias. Absolutely correct. Okay, absolutely.

Pete Newsome : 

So, do you think most people in the moment, realize that right or what percentage of people do you think you have Have any kind of grasp on on that along the way?

Tom Lacroix : 

That’s a great point. No, it’s this is one of the difficulties that we have is one we don’t know what causes our feelings when it is what you think about. And then two, we do not realize that our interpretation is based on how we feel. Right. And if you once you realize what you’re thinking about is causing how you feel, it’s much easier to circumvent, it’s much easier to stop it. Right? There are people I know that are sad, and they don’t know why they’re sad. Sure, there are people certainly that are stressed and worried and they can’t they know they don’t want to feel that way anymore, but they don’t know what’s causing it. And if you don’t know what’s causing it, you don’t know how to stop it.

Unknown Speaker : 

So you know, mental health is something that seems to be talked about a lot more today than it did 10 years ago, and more than it did 10 years prior. But I’m not sure the understanding has improved along with the recognition of it, and especially right now where it’s a huge factor and You know what’s going on with people being locked down, being isolated. And you know, we could probably talk for hours just about that. But if you were going to offer advice to someone in that situation, I want to talk about the work stuff in a minute but just those who are isolated, is there any guidance you could you could come up with that people could apply.

Tom Lacroix : 

You know, when people started working from home and what we have are people that are working from home that are not used to working from home, we have people that are managing people remotely also who have not been trained or used to working and helping and coaching and managing people from afar. That is a recipe for disaster because when you are isolated, you are missing the normal human interactions of conversation and dialogue and A lot of the communication is very open to misinterpretation again the you know, you get my wife sends me a text, you know I say about my friends, my wife says, fine. Does that mean fine? Or does that mean fight, right? When you’re communicating with people and it isn’t face to face, it’s dramatically a subject to misinterpretation and people will reinforce, they will interpret it based on how they already feel. And people that are scared will become more scared. And people are very scared right now.

Pete Newsome : 

So let’s let’s talk about that for a minute. Because it’s it’d be remiss if we didn’t explore this remote workforce. And now, people are on both sides, right? managers, leaders are trying to figure out how to act and behave and their team is also trying to figure that out. How do you think that’s going so far?

Tom Lacroix : 

Well knowing what I know and talking to people around the country and around the world really that I’ve, that I, you know, interact with on leadership and executive coaching and this type of setting, what we’re finding is the isolation is causing fear. When you’re, and I’ll start at the beginning, it’s bubbling up, it’s bubbling up and a lot of defensiveness and anger. And there’s just a lot of that, and I’m going to tell you why that is. When you are afraid when you are, you know, when you hear the knock on the door, and it’s Oh my god, they’re trying to kill me. We have evolved as a species and survived because we have a fight or flight response when we are afraid. We get a massive dose of cortisol, we get a massive dose of adrenaline, we get a massive dose of insulin your body has prepared itself is preparing itself to have all of the energy you need to fight the threat or run away from it. It’s actually called fight flight or freeze up and we’ll touch on Those but you know, when you are afraid and you have a lot of adrenaline in your body, you you a lot of things happen right? The blood rushes from your extremities to your quarter protector course a lot of people when they’re very, very anxious and stressed, by the way as a fight or flight response, I sure I want to make that very clear, right? When you are stressed when you have the what if what if I die? What if I get sick? What if I lose my job, all of those things is just a release of cortisol or release of adrenaline. And it is very, very helpful from an evolutionary standpoint, but it can be overwhelming at times. So what happens is the blood rushes from your core, so a lot of people get very cold hands. A lot of people get goose bumps, which is a vestige of your hair raising to make you look bigger to fight the threat. A lot of people’s get short of breath, your heart starts beating a little faster, your blood pressure goes up. And so that’s why long term stress is very very debilitating from a health standpoint. And it also makes you very aggressive because you are setting yourself up to fight what you’re afraid of. Right. And so you run into jealousy as an example of this right? When you’re when you’re jealous. You’re really What are you afraid of when you’re jealous, right? Usually I’m jealous of my wife as a romantic jealousy. What are you afraid of? You know, I losing? Correct. I’m afraid of losing. Right. And when you get afraid of losing, right, the your thought triggers the emotion. What if I lose you? Right? What if I’m not good enough? Right? What if? Yeah, I mean,

Unknown Speaker : 

it’s fraught with insecurity. It’s, it’s

Tom Lacroix : 

insecurity really causes those that comes from that you’re correct. And so what ends up happening is you get a massive dose of, of adrenaline and norepinephrine. I won’t get into all the chemicals but you get, that’s where a jealous rage comes from. That’s where the jealousy is not really an emotion. Jealousy is the fight response to fear. So is road rage. No such thing as that. You get cut off, you think you’re going to get hit, you get very scared, boom, massive dose of adrenaline and you get very angry. And so people when they’re at home, and they’re generally scared, and now they’re subject to massive amounts of misinterpretation, because we don’t have even though we have zoom, we don’t have a lot of face to face interaction, right? And almost all of our interpretation of communication comes non verbally, right? They say 87% of all communication is nonverbal, right, the facial expressions, right, the posture, the, you’re just constantly interpreting to try to figure out what this person is really trying to communicate.

Pete Newsome : 

Well, yeah, that really resonates with me because as the leader of an organization who is office based, that who now has been remote for the past couple of months. I feel like we need to get back in the office. But I can’t really quantify that very well, because our productivity is not going to increase, right our capabilities because of what technology allows us to do isn’t going to increase by being back in the office. But there’s something to be said for being able to read body language to see people now that maybe that comes from being a career salesperson to where I feel like that is something that I’ve honed over the years. It’s inherent, I don’t even know when I’m doing it now. But I can, I can tell how well a conversation is going without the person having to say anything. Exactly. And you really lose that now. And it’s a it’s a concern for me, because when I think of our team at four corner, I don’t know how they’re doing just by seeing a very small image on a screen. So I rely on them. We rely on them to tell us how they’re doing. But that’s that’s, that’s not a very good way to do it. No,

Tom Lacroix : 

you’re in. It’s not just that you’re a salesperson, you’re a leader, right. And so any management book, any leadership book, you’ve ever read, write, set goals, motivate people, provide positive feedback, create a team environment, all of those things are designed to change the way your employees feel from fear and anger and confusion, right? Every leadership book is really about let me turn confusion into clarity by setting a mission statement. By having a plan. Let me turn feeling alone into feeling part of a group because loneliness is certainly a unpleasant feeling. And that’s why we have teams, right? You have to give positive praise because people will do anything to feel good. That’s what motivation is. And that’s what the leader does. He creates things that make people feel good, right. And they and they try very hard to recognize and make sure and correct if people are feeling sad pessimists. mystik, lonely, frustrated, angry, confused? And there’s cause to feel all of those things right now. Absolutely. And it’s very, very difficult to change that because what I have learned over the years, and when I talk to, you know, young presidents or people who are new to leading large amounts of people, people have now come to the realization that leading is not done from the desk, right? Most of the leadership interaction you have is done in the hallway, at the desk, at the coffee shop, where it’s how are you? How’s it going? How do you feel? I’m, I’m communicating, I care about you. I’m listening to you. Right. And so it’s very, very difficult to lead people if you’re not having conversation. Sure. open dialogue where people your dialogue being two people talking, not me rambling on like this. Listening, right? Nothing says I care about you more than listening. Right? Right.

Pete Newsome : 

Well, as you’re talking, I’m also thinking about the things that the other things that we’re losing by not being present. And one of those is the ability to lead by example, along the way too. And, you know, if I need people to have a good work ethic, there’s no better way for them to, to pick up on that and seeing that I, as a leader, have a good work ethic, right. And those things are really hard to pass along right now too. And so it feels like we’re, we’re communicating these little snippets over the phone or zoom, where there’s a message delivered, and you just don’t get those hallway interactions where, you know, I know, they’ve said over the years at times, that I don’t have to say anything. My actions should speak louder, and I show up every day and or I have is As a leader tried to show up every day, but now, I’m not showing up anywhere. I’m home. And so there’s there’s really no ability to communicate that at all non verbally.

Tom Lacroix : 

Yeah. What’s interesting is when you are a leader, your people that you’re leading are watching you all the time. And they’re trying to interpret, how are things going? Right. Does Pete have a smile on his face? Does Pete seem calm? Is is Pete listening to me? Right? What time is he coming? You know, is he working hard? Is he motivated? Is he you know, optimistic, you know, all of those things, people will look and try to interpret because they want to know how you feel and how you feel about them. My worry is that in the you know, you rush to have people work from home, there’s no training that people are out there on an island, so to speak, and we’d have a tendency to rely on email and zoom You mentioned phone good for you that you’re calling people I know people that have gone weeks without having a one on one dialogue over the phone with their employees. Which is horrific. Right?

Pete Newsome : 

It is. But there’s no rulebook for this, as we already talked about. Everyone is trying to figure it out and these these actions or inactions, they’re not intentional, right? And what I’ve even noticed is, you know, days turn into weeks pretty quickly lately, which is, which isn’t a good thing. So Tom, like many things in life, identifying there’s a problem is step one, doing something about it is altogether different. So, as an employee, if you’re home right now, we’ve already identified that there’s a good chance here you’re feeling stress, isolation, maybe many more emotions,

Tom Lacroix : 

right? What can you do about it? Well, the first thing that I would recommend is exercise and I know people say that and it’s very common, but I’m going to tell you why that’s so important. There’s a lot of much like the brain chemistry that we mentioned earlier that brings on, you know, anxiety, fear fighter flight. They’re also we’re blessed with wonderful brain chemicals, one of the endorphins that you get from exercise. And so when you have adrenaline in your body from fear, it has to go somewhere, you can sit and shake, you can punch walls. If you wanted to do something a little more constructive, you would exercise. And then the other benefit is another wonderful. And, you know, people can look these up. I don’t want to get into the whole thing. But you have another wonderful chemical that you’re blessed with called dopamine, which is a chemical that is released when you accomplish tasks, right? You reward yourself and you accomplish tasks. And so when you exercise most people start measuring how many miles did I walk? What was my pace when I ran? How many reps with The weights. And so you’re not only getting rid of your adrenalin by using it for exercise, you’re also complementing that by getting endorphins and dopamine to run through your system, which is a very, very calming and euphoric effect. That’s where the runner’s high comes from. Okay. So that would be one, two, most people don’t know how to breathe. And so when you’re sitting at home or not moving around, or very sedentary especially, and you’re very nervous, you have a tendency in the fight or flight response to have your diaphragm which is a muscle that runs right across your body cavity here, you have a tendency to that just kind of flutters up and down instead of really elongating and stretching out. And so that’s why yoga and meditation and all of those things, start with breathing. And the the the key for breathing just real quick is most people don’t do this. You have to push your stomach out on a big long inhale and make sure that you’re taking As deeper breath as you possibly can, and then letting it out slowly, right? So it’s in a count of one 1000 to 1000, whatever it is, and then out at it should be twice as long when you exhale. And what that does is it helps you, one stretch out your diaphragm. A lot of people feel their stress right in the middle of their chest. That’s why and then two, there’s a very, very calming effect it’s a signal to your brain that it’s okay to become right? Because you know if you can take it relax breath, it also releases a lot of carbon dioxide, which is not good for you when you have to get your pot. Oh,

Pete Newsome : 

yeah, one of the things it’s so interesting to hear you say that is I have a in the past, I ran quite a bit and for a number of years, and I never felt better than when I was in that mode. very consistently like clockwork, I counted on I look forward to it. And I rarely missed. But I, but I, when I think back on that time, I remember those times of stress at work, I found it very difficult to find motivation then it was when things were at their worst for me. From a stress standpoint, I abandoned the thing that benefited me the most, and I didn’t, I identified that, but I wasn’t. I didn’t necessarily solve it. And I wonder if, if that’s making. I don’t know if that was just me, or if that’s a common thing, where it almost compounds the problem.

Tom Lacroix : 

It is a common thing. It does compound the problem. I’m going to tell you why. Again, I feel like I’m short changing in the podcast because this is a topic that is very broad and I’m giving you small slices but the other thing that I just want to relay besides your thoughts cause how you feel, how you interpret the world reinforces how you feel the other thing that I would I’d like to say is that all emotion, including stress, sadness, fear is incredibly healthy, you would not have survived. We as a species would not have survived without fear, stress, anger, sadness, because those are queues to solve your problems, right? And so what ends up happening The other benefit of fight or flight and I and I’m going to say it is a benefit, besides giving you the energy and the stamina, it also makes us hyper focused, right? Someone’s breaking into your house. You don’t say, jeez, I wonder what we’re having for dinner. Right? You are hyper focused. Cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, make you hyper focused on solving problems, and it also gives you the energy and the stamina to solve the problems. That’s why we have tendency to obsess sometimes when we’re stressed. And then because of that, we focus on that instead of helping ourselves by exercising.

Pete Newsome : 

Does that make sense? It does. And so I wonder then, when you mentioned the energy everyone thinks of you’re staying up at night staring at the ceiling, you’re worried and but that makes sense that you would actually be energy rushing through your body. Right. So then, should you should you use it? Yep. Rather than stay or the ceiling should you get up and, and do something productive towards

Tom Lacroix : 

solving it? Well, exactly. Correct. This is the problem that we have today. We feel like emotions are bad. There must be something I’m sad. There must be something wrong with me. I’m stressed there must be something wrong with me. Nothing could be further from the truth. Right? The stress is there. You go to bed of course you can’t go to sleep because you’ve got adrenaline your body and when you have what if thoughts? What if I lose my job right? What if I get sick? What if I do that? That’s a signal to you to make a plan. The problem is we don’t make a plan. We just kind of sit and spin in our little Oh my god, what was me? This is awful. What if What if What if, you know, we used to say my mom was just a warrior. And so what ended up happening is she would be worried, worried, worried about whatever, and my dad would help her. This is a pattern that I noticed later in life, right? My mother go, what if the house catches on fire? What if house catches on fire? Right? My mother can’t sleep. You know, she’s just so worried. My father would say, Well, what if the house catches on fire? What are we going to do? Let’s have a plan. Okay. We’ll have a fire drill. We’ll make sure there are ladders in the upstairs windows, we’ll make sure the smoke detectors are working. We’ll have a rallying point. We’ll make sure somebody calls we’ll teach everyone not to pick up anything, just go. And then once you have a plan, you don’t worry about it anymore, right? Like what if I lose my job? Okay. What if you lose your job? Let’s talk about it. That’s, again another key component of leadership. is helping people become solution minded, right? Helping people take that stress and go, okay, hey, what if you lose your job? Not that you would say that you’re employed, but if you have a friend that’s or a spouse, whatever the thing, what if I lose my job? Okay, what are you gonna do? Well, and that’s really the best thing you can do if someone’s complaining, like, you know, we all live with have relationships with people, obviously they have emotions. You know, if they’re saying, oh, what I don’t think my boss likes me, this is awful. You know, I’m very frustrated. They don’t call, you know, the best thing you can do when you’re hearing stuff like that is say, I hear you. What are you going to do? Right, right. And now that you’re what you’re really doing from a physiological standpoint, is taking thoughts that are coming from one portion of the brain, the fear center, and now moving to a different higher level of the brain, which is the Solution Center. Right? And that’s why great leaders have a tendency to ask those questions to get better. To just more naturally become solution minded,

Pete Newsome : 

understood, that makes sense. So, so I’ll run with that from from a leadership standpoint. Yeah. How can someone who’s not necessarily supposed to be too involved in the emotions of their employees? Right, you know, at a personal, deep level and there’s a lot of deep emotions going on right now that leaders are sort of taught to kind of stay away from right some topics that are just very personal and sensitive and individual that, you know, we generally don’t get

Unknown Speaker : 

into, right how do you how do you draw that line right now and then and how far should you go?

Tom Lacroix : 

Again, I’ve, I’m not young. I know it’s difficult to tell them a podcast because I sound so youthful but I’ve been in leadership for a long time and I I have personally involved as a leader, I’ve watched a book And studies of leadership evolve, I watched other leaders evolve. And I’m at the point now where I believe empathy is the most important thing a leader can do. And we use the difficulty with these things is we use words but we people don’t really know what that is, right? We use words like empathy and Okay, I’ll be more empathetic but nobody really knows what that is. So again, as a freshman, I’m going to explain it. When you are empathetic. What you are doing is making the person feel less alone. Right? You’re saying to someone, I feel what you feel, I feel with you. I felt what you have felt. I recognize others that have also feel as you do, you are not alone. Right? And that’s what empathy is. It’s listening and saying, I’m with you. You’re not alone, which is a massive win from a leadership perspective, because what ends up happening is when when you’re first Frustrated or angry or sad, you also feel very, very alone. People have a tendency to couple those things together, right? You’ve been sad in your life, you’ve been frustrated. A lot of times, it’s this is the worst thing that’s ever happened. No one has ever experienced something like this but me, I’m, I’m so alone. And in order to combat that what people will do in the workplace is they’ll bring other people into their frustration. They’ll bring other people into their anger, because misery loves company. Of course, that’s why misery loves company because people do not want to be alone in their misery, right? I’m still miserable. I’m so miserable, but at least I’m not alone. Right now. We’re both miserable. Now, we’re both angry. Now. We’re both frustrated. And that, you know, that’s what we’re seeing today, when people are very, very afraid as they, you know, when people are very, very upset or people are very sad, or worried or fearful. All of that is also coupled with being alone and that’s why people do have a tendency to band together. together to say, Hey, we’re in. So we’re not alone. We know we’re not alone. Right? So that’s that. So as a leader, I would say, I would certainly be reaching out to people and saying, How do you feel? Right? How is it going? And people don’t like to talk about emotions right now. So you have to go the extra mile to get it to come out because emotions evolved from a center of the brain that was hundreds of thousands of years before speech was evolved, right? So emotions come from a section of the brain that developed before language, so we don’t know how to talk about them. Right? Like it comes from, right language comes from a different part of the brain. And it’s also there’s also been a stigma, that emotions are bad. There’s been that we’re not macho, you know, you’re not going to see guys going. I feel very sad. I feel very lonely right now. Right? You just don’t. It’s unheard of, particularly in some cultures, right? Like America, right? We don’t we just don’t, it’s not macho to talk like that. And so you have to draw people You have to say, Tell me Really?

Pete Newsome : 

And you know, with, with varying degrees of success, I’m sure, right? You’re gonna have it could it be though, be careful what you wish for. And that situation where, you know, a leader may end up going down a path unintentionally that, you know, where, where there’s HR considerations, right, for lack of a better way to put it. And that’s, I can tell you from my own perspective, why I tend to stay away from that because at times and I have stayed away from it. Because I am not sure. Get what, how much is my business

Unknown Speaker : 

to dig. And also, right now is very highly charged opinions on on on every topic.

Tom Lacroix : 

Yeah, as we talked about

Pete Newsome : 

before we started recording, the middle has disappeared with so many things and so it’s There, do you feel that there’s a risk in going down that path as a leader and getting into a place that just isn’t appropriate for work situation?

Tom Lacroix : 

You know, the downside of not doing it is so high that I, again, this is my, this is my leadership philosophy. I know, it’s probably not everyone’s leadership philosophy. And I feel like I’m equipped not to judge people’s emotions. The problem that leaders run into if they’re not equipped, is they’ll say, How do you feel and then what they’ll do is they’ll discount or discredit or try to talk people and say that emotion isn’t real or it’s not worthwhile or it’s not warranted, which is the worst thing you could possibly do, right? Everyone has a right to feel the way they feel. They should embrace how they feel and they should use it in a as a again, People are motivated, what motivation is, is really I will do anything not to feel sad, angry, afraid. I will do anything to feel confident, calm, happy, joyful, empowered optimum. I’ll do anything to feel that way. I will do anything not to feel this way. Right. Right. And so, and, you know, what I’ve learned over the years is Yeah, your feelings are your feelings and they are real to you. Right? They’re real. Correct. And so if you it, yeah, I guess the advice would be reach out to people and find out how they’re doing. And if they are not doing well, let them know. That you care. Sure. Because you do care, of course.

Pete Newsome : 

Well, and on the surface, right. It’s surface level conversations rather. That’s something that I’ve certainly always tried to do and to get a feel for that. This. We’ve talked about harder when you can read body language and you can see a mile away, what kind of mood someone’s in, by the way,

Tom Lacroix : 

you know, they stand walk, right,

Pete Newsome : 

you know, sit at their desk. But admittedly I’ve I haven’t. I’ve stayed away from Diane diving into deep. But one of the things that always stuck with me is an old boss of mine from years ago, had a saying and it was where you sit determines where you stand. And it’s I’ve always tried to apply that when trying to understand why did someone take a certain action or right Why Did someone say something or do something in a situation and it’s because of their unique perspective, which is going to be vastly different than mine or yours or anyone else’s. And so I’ve tried to understand that. But historically, I’ve applied that to the workplace and actually have taken in a work setting. So it is different to now. Look at taking that into, you know, a very personal emotional area and and that’s, that’s, um, I will tell you that’s a work in progress for me.

Tom Lacroix : 

It’s a work in progress for everybody. Right? The, you know, emotional intelligence, what we did, we didn’t talk about in the beginning but you know, when you get into a leadership role, right? What is what has been determined scientifically is that EQ how emotionally intelligent you are emotional intelligence being, I have the ability to recognize my emotions when I’m having them. And I have a tendency to regulate my own emotions, I can do that. And I also have the ability to recognize emotions and other people, and I have the ability and willingness to change the emotions of others. The ability to do that is dramatically more indicative of success, no matter how you measure it, as opposed to IQ, right? IQ, your smart EQ, I can, I can regularly recognize and regulate my own emotions. I can recognize and regulate emotions and others. No matter how you measure success, if you Have that you will rise higher in an organization, you will be able to lead more people, you will be able to identify yourself as happy, you will certainly make a better spouse, you’ll certainly make a better parent, you’ll certainly make a better teacher, mentor, whatever, no matter how you look at it. It is an incredibly important skill. But like any skill that needs to be practiced and improved,

Pete Newsome : 

it does and it’s we do talk about that under normal times quite a bit. The ability to control your emotions and a difficult situation is often the difference between success or failure. And in business that comes up a lot and I bought into that years ago, I honed it within myself and worked on how to control my emotions in even the most difficult situations because it only leads to it doesn’t lead to anything good,

Unknown Speaker : 

right? It doesn’t give confidence in those around you.

Pete Newsome : 

Right and if you let emotions take control of rationalization. That’s the outcome. is typically not going to be a positive one. Easier said than done like so many of the things that we’re talking about right now,

Tom Lacroix : 

it is easier said than done. And I’m gonna go back to somebody who said which was, which was really good you can recognize someone’s how they feel in their mood by just seeing them. People who people have a difficult time communicating how they feel verbally, we don’t want to do it. We don’t know how to do it, we don’t like to do it. So if I want to, if I’m angry, and I want to communicate that I’m angry, I just start acting angry. It’s a cry to say I want you to help me. Right? We see it in relationships, right? We’ve all been in relationship with other human beings, you know, the slamming of the doors and the slamming of the cupboards. Right and or the not talking, right, I’m going to turn my back because what you’re really saying is I want to communicate to you. I’m angry. Right? And we can’t just say it we have to write because we can’t verbalize it. Were we We use our nonverbal communication to our advantage to say let me show you but it’s really a cry for help. It’s a and we don’t it’s a cry for I want to communicate this and have dialogue with you about this now or eventually when when you have employees that are home and you’re on zoom and you’re not really digging in they do not have the ability to tell you how they feel. Right? Because they you’re not they can’t show you how it Yeah, correct. exactly correct.

Pete Newsome : 

So it where’s the line between emotional intelligence emotional control and emotional health because I you know, as we’ve been talking, I’ve, that keeps popping up in my head, are you what are these all healthy emotions, even though they may be necessary from an evolutionary standpoint? You don’t benefit by slamming a door right? Right. You mate. You’re gonna you’re gonna send a message right?

Tom Lacroix : 

But it’s not going to help you in your cause. All emotions are incredibly healthy unless as we mentioned, you have a tendency to spiral into something that is more pathological. Right? If you start spiraling or acting in a way, which is not going to get you to what you want, right? That you don’t want to feel this way you’d like to feel a different way. If it’s not constructive or getting you to feel it, eventually to feel better than it’s not helpful.

Pete Newsome : 

And I’ve seen that confused so many times over the years where I need to be right I need to be justified in my actions or when that doing so in the need to go in that direction may be a detriment to what you’re actually trying to achieve.

Tom Lacroix : 

Well, it’s interesting in when you’re talking about the emotional intelligent leader, the other thing that emotional intelligent leaders have have the ability to do is correct behavior to let people know that this is not good enough, not acceptable, not right. But because they’ve established a true relationship. It comes from, you know, the employee realizes it’s coming from a place of caring. That’s that’s always my advice to new leaders is you have to establish with people, I truly do care about you as a person. And I care about your growth and development in your success in everything that I do for you, including telling you when you’re messing up, is coming from a place of caring for you. Right that and that’s always short circuited. If you think your boss doesn’t like you, and they go, Hey, man, you got to get here on time you lose your mind because you’re reinforcing that fear. Right? If you if the employee and you truly have a good relationship, relationship is and there’s a whole subject about this About how to do this. But yeah, if you truly have a good relationship, if you can relate if the employee deep down knows like a parent, right? That’s why parental correction is so much easier because you know, your parents love you. Right? Right. Your your, if you and your employee have a relationship where they truly do know and you remind them that you care about their success, it makes it much easier to lead. It’s much easier to manage people. Right? manage being task responsibilities, correction, right leaders change the way people feel managers assigned duties and get things done.

Pete Newsome : 

That’s a great way to put it. And and I think that’s a really good topic to close with, because we started out in a direction today that I didn’t go exactly as I thought it would, in the past, under normal times. Write a word that we hear a lot these days, you when we’ve had these discussions, they’ve been about emotional intelligence as a means of succeeding in the workplace. And I know we’ve mentioned that a few times. But really, this has been a full focus on addressing the current times and emotions and how to deal with them then and I’m glad that we’ve had that opportunity, but to the way you sum that up of it, it’s such basic humanity being applied, right in terms of how what to do now, it’s a given that we we don’t have a roadmap, it’s a given that we’re all doing our best in, that’s going to manifest it’s in different forms, right. But there’s nothing more basic from a humanities standpoint and goodness standpoint, it’s showing you care, you’re asking how someone’s doing, you know, and then if it’s displayed that you’re there for them, and some people are going to take advantage of that to a significant degree because they need to others won’t, and that’s okay. But the offer needs to be put on the table. I think that’s a that’s a really powerful message 1,000% and

Tom Lacroix : 

most of the leadership, mistakes that I have made in my life, and we all have, you know, believe me, they’re daily. I consider leadership. It’s not no one’s a leader. It’s just I exhibit strong leadership in certain situations, right? There’s no such thing as the leader, there’s the manager, he may act as a leader, sometimes, hopefully more times than not. But you know, the leader is the person that changes the way people feel. The mistakes that I have made are assuming that people did not need me to help them feel better. Right? There’s never a mistake of encouraging someone who doesn’t need it. Right. There’s nothing wrong with it. No, that’s not a mistake. The mistake is assuming that someone doesn’t need your encouragement and not doing it. Because they because you didn’t pick up on the clues that they needed it. I go through life assuming Everyone needs encouragement, because everybody’s encouragement it from the word You’re giving people courage, you’re taking their fear away, right? I assume everyone is afraid. And everyone needs encouragement.

Pete Newsome : 

And I think that’s a perfect way to close. Because we do need that right now. And we need we need better leaders right now too. And I think we’d all agree on that topic. So are on that point. So, Tom, thank you so much. It’s been extremely generous of you to spend so much time I know you have many, many other things you could probably should be doing right now. But I really just can’t thank you enough.

Tom Lacroix : 

Well, I want to thank you. And that’s really why I volunteer to come in to you. Crystal and four corners has been a tremendous partner for us. And we could not we’re having a lot of success. We’re doing a lot of great things. And we could not do it without a great partner like us. So this is my thank you to you, and just a way to pay you back. And I would be certainly remiss if I did not say that for those of you who aren’t in Orlando. And are not familiar with Full Sail University. It is an absolute gem that we have here in Central Florida. And so

Pete Newsome : 

check it out. And please look at what Full Sail is all about, you’re not gonna find a more innovative organization that is, is really producing young professionals who are going to change the world in a great way. And so we’re very fortunate to be associated with full sail and have a partnership there that we’ve enjoyed for over a decade now a trial which is which is awesome and really cool to be able to say, and hopefully for many more years to come. So Tom, thank you so much. Thank you

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