Orrin Woodward on LIFE & Leadership

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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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Emotional Intelligence: Soft Leadership Skill #3

Posted by Orrin Woodward on February 15, 2013

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) defines Emotional intelligence as a constellation of abilities that help leaders deal with their emotions and the emotions of others. The ability to maintain one’s poise in the midst of pressure-packed situations is essential for leadership. In a word, it’s difficult to lead intelligently when in the middle of losing one’s emotional control. Here are a few pointers for a person looking to improve in this area. First, before a person responds, he should pause long enough to ensure he is answering with his brain and not just his emotions. Second, since the person paused anyway, why not take a few second to pray/meditate on what is truly important in life. So many people respond without praying and needlessly damage relationships. Finally, after pausing and prayer, ponder over the correct leadership response in this situation.

In truth, I have violated all these principles (as everyone has); nonetheless, just knowing them and attempting to apply them will help a person improve rapidly. One of the key statements I have learned to say to myself when the emotion of the moment is attempting to take over is: Is it worth it? In other words, is what I am about to say really necessary and is it worth damaging the relationship if I am about to say something harsh. Indeed, Laurie and my marriage improved as much from what we didn’t say as from what we did say. Unfortunately, people tend to say the most hurtful things to those closest to them and maintain cordiality better with complete strangers. This can only change when people develop emotional intelligence.

The LIFE Business teaches extensively on Emotional Intelligence. In fact, yesterday, a doctorate level leadership graduate emailed me and signed up as a customer for the Launching a Leadership Revolution subscription (2 CDS, 1 DVD, and a book every month). This person asked to be on our subscription because, even though obtaining a doctorate level degree, she said she learned the best leadership principle from our community. Another great testimonial to the power of the LIFE products to make positive changes in a person’s life. LeaderShift, to be released on April 16th, has already climbed to the #8 best-selling book on Barnes and Nobles and it’s still over two months away from release. B&N has the book for sale at the lowest price offered online and free shipping for orders of just a couple of items.

Below is further information on EQ chapter from my Top 100 Leadership book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE.


Orrin Woodward

The greatest athletes and leaders all have a poise about them that strengthens the resolve of all of those following the leader.  No great achievement can be fulfilled without leaders of great attitude and great EQ.  The good news is that EQ, like a muscle, can be developed by placing oneself in increasing pressure situations over time.  Having a leader with high EQ is essential for others to learn from his or her poise on how to maintain composure even when others are losing theirs.  At the start of leadership, everyone will fail in EQ in different situations, but over time, one learns to develop the internal fortitude to control one’s emotions, rather than have the emotions control them.  Never let them see you sweat is a key principle in EQ based leadership.  Teammates will rally behind the EQ of the leader, developing a confidence that the leader will see them through. Conversely, if the leader lacks EQ, the team will panic, each one attempting to save his own skin, leaving the team and the team’s goals in shambles.  Attitude plus poise, plus strength of will, equals emotional intelligence quotient and every great leader must develop a high EQ.  Remember, it’s not what happens to great leaders that counts as much as how great leaders handle what happens to them.

The story of Phineas Gage, as shared in the must read, Emotional Intelligence Quick Book, was instrumental in helping psychologist understand the workings of the mind.  Here is a quick summary of his story.  Gage was a supervisor of a railroad crew, considered one of the best, for punctual work and leadership skills.  In an on the job accident, while tamping gunpowder into a blasting hole, the gunpowder exploded, sending a 43 inch long tamping iron of a full one and a quarter inches diameter through the frontal lobe of Gage’s brain. Amazingly, Gage lived to tell the story!  It was a miracle that he lived to tell the story, but very quickly, others realized that he wasn’t the same man.  Instead of his famed emotional control and leadership, Gage now lost his temper quickly, becoming emotionally unstable at the slightest provocation.  He would curse like a sailor under stress, creating tension and chaos among his crew, responding to challenges radically different than his previous leadership style.  He went from being one of the best of crew leaders to being unemployed, simply because of his lack of emotional intelligence.  Gage, unlike us, had an excuse, he literally lacked the frontal lobe where reasoning took place.  Meaning it was physically impossible for him to reason through his feelings, but the many EQ impaired people in life, do not have the same physical excuse.  EQ is a simply a choice.  A choice to slow down and think through the issues before reacting with feelings only.  Yes, the senses will hit the ‘feeling’ part of the brain first, but with patience, one can wait for the senses to hit the ‘reasoning’ part also, responding with the whole brain in a high EQ style.  Leaders refuse to react to the emotional stimulus only, but choose a response after feeling and thinking, in other words, with a high emotional intelligence quotient.

How many times have we witnessed people lose their cool, at work, at the airport, or during a sports contest, naming just a few?  Is this type of behavior drawing people towards the potential leader or repelling them?  No one enjoys spending time with a hot-head anymore than one enjoys walking on pins and needles.  People build friendships with people who have predictable behaviors.  Meaning, its hard to be friends with someone who will hug you one day, and hit you the next.  People with low EQ, having not mastered their own emotions; therefore, they cannot lead themselves, let alone, lead others.  All great victories in life begin with a victory over self.  What happens when pressure builds in your life?  How do you respond to the stress?  If you don’t like the answers, welcome to the club, but the good news is that you can change.  Before reacting to the stress emotionally, take a deep breath, forcing the mind to be still until one has time to reflect rationally, responding to the situation like a leader.  It will take practice, but the results are well worth the investment.  When a person lifts his EQ, it has the opposite effect from Phineas Gage.  Gage lost his EQ, when his lost that portion of his brain, but we can gain EQ, by gaining the functionality of this portion of our brains through patient practice.  It almost as if we gained an extra portion of brain matter, since it was practically unused. Learning to respond with EQ is one of the biggest changes in a person’s leadership journey, quickly noticeable to those following your leadership.

51 Responses to “Emotional Intelligence: Soft Leadership Skill #3”

  1. TJ said

    It’s so refreshing to know there are others out there that want to better themselves. It really is how we take time to look and ask is it worth it. Your last post of Dr Carson talked about political correctness and how damaging it is…he said its a given he will offend someone in his talks and how sad it is for someone to let their emotions stop them from listening. The Life community will help those who come on board and we will all help those who don’t by being the example. To one million we go!!

  2. Diane said

    I love the visual of the iceberg explaining IQ/EQ! So many people live their lives focusing on what they perceive to be the most important IQ and are blind to the value of EQ below the surface. I loved your post Orrin an explanation of the importance of EQ in everyone’s daily life.

  3. Scott Staley said

    Great post Orrin. This is a topic that is personally one which needs constant personal attention for me. Thanks for everything that you do.

  4. wendi witkowski said

    What a great reminder of we can only control ourselves and how we react to outside circumstances.

  5. Tammy Darling said

    “All great victories in life begin with a victory over self”!!!! Thanks so much Orrin!!! Love learning from you & so many great leaders in the Life business!!! Where would we be without it! Appreciate you & Laurie so much! 🙂

  6. Kevin Hamm said


    I have listened to your E.Q. cd countless times. This is my lifelong battle in the “private sins” category. In public, in groups, in extremely stressful situations, I have great emotional intelligence, but the small inconveniences?–I have yet to master thinking ahead of the trigger. But I know that this is simply an opportunity for a defining moment in my life when those closest to me can affirm “that he has truly changed”. This is the power of the LIFE community, it demands that you look at your greatest weaknesses and work to shore them up while the rest of the world finds excuses or rationalizations. Thank you for providing that culture.

  7. Wayne MacNamara said

    Great post Orrin, I love how you teach this leadership skill. EQ may well be the difference maker in long term relationships that continues to grow and get better. When a person knows someone who reacts(uncontrolled reply) vs responds(controlled reply or action) to difficult situations people around them tend to be walking on egg shells. A leader with great EQ creates a stable and productive environment around him. I love that all this information to grow and develop great EG can be learned and applied over time.
    Thanks again Orrin, your awesome my friend.


  8. Josh Dames said

    Thx Orrin for taking the time to post this article!! I will start pausing more through out the day and with that praying more!!! I beleive this would change our culture if we all focused on this article alone!!! Thx Orrin!!

  9. Joe Marchbanks said

    Orrin, thanks for that. This area, with the help of the LIFE training materials and key relationships in my life, has greatly improved in my own relationships. It’s funny though as soon as you think you have got some things under control situations arise that show you how you can improve even more. I find that is my loved ones at home that see my shortcomings more than others and with the LIFE training I look forward to narrowing this gap in my abilities. Again thanks for all you so for those of us in the community and those outside that are learning as well.

  10. Jaimie Badough said

    Love Phineas Gage’s story- the brain is so complex! Thanks Orrin for the great article!

  11. Love the story of Phineas Gage- the brain is so marvelously complex. Great article Orrin

  12. Beth said

    this is so true! thank you, Orrin, for reminding us to pause and think before responding just with our emotions! God help us not to let all our energy be spent on our emotions, but rather to stop and pray for grace and wisdom to respond correctly, rather than to just react and potentially destroy relationships! We have the choice to choose life…4 LIFE!!!

  13. Mark Huber said

    Orrin, the older I get, the more I value “relationship capital”. These principles on emotional intelligence have always helped me serve people. Looking forward to reading your next book, Leader-Shift! Thanks for all you do.

  14. WOW! This article stopped me dead in my tracks today! It really hit home here with me and is definitely a big principle for me to learn and work on myself. I’ll be looking for the E.Q. cd that you have on the subject Orrin. Thanks so much for sharing and caring. The LIFE TRAINING is helping one relationship at a time and that is invaluable!

  15. matthew scott said

    Great post! I’ve developed greater EQ through practice and your book, Resolved, helped with this greatly. EQ really is a muscle; the fibers must be stretched and ripped, and through consistency and good form (through knowledge and applied actions and habits) we all can improve our strength and ability to handle more…with better results for all.

  16. Great stuff! Orrin Woodward, Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Claude Hamilton, Bill Lewis, Dan Hawkins, Wayne MacNamara, and Tim Marks have such great blogs! I love the information being taught in the LIFE business. Can’t wait till “Leadershift” comes out! Thank you!

  17. Bill Eder said

    Great advice I personally need to remember to put mind in gear before engageing tongue. Thanks for the reminder Orrin.

  18. Alison Ruhlman said

    What a great topic!!

  19. Dave Hall said

    Thanks again Orrin. It’s just a matter of time before people begin to recognize leaders with a self-directed education in LIFE as having honorary doctorates.

  20. Jonathan Brandenberger said

    Patience. Another Christian virtue(in that it is paradoxical). It is only useful at 212 degrees(boiling point). If you know what I mean. Is there another describing word for EQ?

  21. Thank you.

  22. Kaitlyn Fix said

    I love this topic. It is one that I must constantly work on in dealing with people. Thanks to LIFE and TEAM I have improved my EQ drastically.

  23. I would say that self-control is the epitome of Patience. And Poise (balance;caught up into readiness) the emotional habit of patience. Would it be safe to say that EQ is the ability to create emotional habits?

  24. Elaine Mallios said

    Gosh this is a huge issue. I’ve seen a lot of hot heads loose their cool, or just generally act without maturity. EQ is a great lesson indeed!

  25. Christine Fleury said

    Ouch, ouch, and more ouch. The older I get, the more I realize that as resiliant as we can be, we can’t “undo” everything. I see now that it pays to tread softly sometimes, at least in the area of relationships. I’ve struggled with “telling people the truth!” (in my own mind) vs “just loving them” (which I sometimes got confused with enabling them). I’ve learned to “when in doubt, leave it out!” Better not to risk speaking harshly and err on the side of love. Its easier to swing back from that side of the pendulum. Thanks for helping me realize how awful I was at dealing with people, and that I could change! I’m still not great at it, but at least now I know it and have hope of continually getting better so that I can lead and serve the people God has intended me to serve.

  26. Eric Norman said

    I think the image almost says it all. It also goes to illustrate that leveraging EQ would go a lot farther than leveraging IQ.

  27. natalie plant said

    Now that I read this, I do realise that many of the leaders and friends I look-up to are those that are “steady-eddies” and keep calm under pressure. Thank you for the post. I like what you said about the importance of conquering one’s own weaknessness before it is possible become a great leader and a person people want to follow.

  28. This marvelous series continues forth w/ another on point topic! I have read both ‘Resolved’ and the ‘Resolved: Primer’ & listened to the MFC CDs on Resolution 12 numerous times; EQ / EI is imperative. I’d surmise that due to excessive entertainment & exposure to mass media sources generally, the West’s ‘baseline’ citizens have much lower scores than if they were reading, listening, & positively associating.

    Enter: The LIFE Biz to solve > After all, is entrepreneurship not offering up a solution to fill the opportunity gap b/w problem ID’ed & problem solved for the citizen/consumer/customer?

    Blessings to you, Orrin!

  29. Thanks Orrin for that great information.

  30. Bob Rasmussen said

    Thanks Orrin,it is hard to rank these soft skills by matter of importance, but if I was forced to pick one for me, EQ would be one of my first choices. Without this skill I don’t believe it’s possible to lead. Thanks to the LIFE business for teaching this skill and helping me become aware of it!! What a blessing!! God Bless

  31. Awesome ! Thanks Mr. Woodward , needed that one today. What a story too wow. We dont realize how blessed we are with the abilities God has given us.

  32. chris volkmann said

    Thanks again for another great post. It is so true we need to have that slow to react thinking. I know I looked like a fool many time talking before thinling

  33. Phil Mette' said

    Orrin, Great post on such an important topic. It’s difficult to grow any relationship or business without first growing your EQ. Thank you.

  34. If we’re going to have practical leaders, we have to continue to teach practical leadership. Leaving EQ out of the equation is not only impractical, but malpractice on the part of educators and those who would dare to teach. Great post.

  35. Jammie Fisher said

    We were just talking about this at our bible study class this morning; how so many never grow beyond the emotional intelligence level of their parents because without outside information and /or guidance one only knows what they have experienced. It was very interesting to look at the differences of chronological vs emotional maturity and how that plays out in relationships, especially marriage. Got a lot of growing to do. Thanks for your constant leadership and example.

  36. Steve Duba said

    Thanks Orrin,I wish I would have developed EQ when I was raising our children.I look back today and realize that the changes that
    have taken place in my life since surrounding myself with this group of like minded people are priceless and going foreward my
    grown children have definatly noticed the difference.Its never to late.I thank God every single day for the positive results in my
    life.People can change and become a better dad or better friend if they just first accept personal responsibility for their results
    and begin the process of changing and growing like the cd says.I can thank you or the group enough for what has become my purpose.
    To become a better person every day. God Bless you…

  37. Mike and Jo-Anne Lewer said

    Gidday Orrin, this is the first of these things i have read and i believe i can start to apply this practise to my life. not only does no-one else like being around a hot headed emotionally unintelligent person but it is also very belittling as one is trying to grow into the leader/person God has intended for us to be i know this it happens more then i want it to. Thank you i look forward to the challenge for all the people in my life deserve a better me. your Australian friend Mike.

  38. Norman said

    WOW , THANK YOU Orrin for such an insiteful Post. Im So Grateful to be involved with the LIFE Business,,, cutting , bleeding edge. Blessings.

  39. Ali Staneart said

    Being a part of the LIFE company and leaning about EQ has been a LIFE saver. I’m a homeschooling mom of two Pre-K children and married to a hard working self employed husband…. I thank God everyday for the LIFE system. I shudder to think of how I used to react to things without thinking, or even scarier, who I would be today without the LIFE system. Thank you for teaching us! We have a happier home just by learning and applying this one principal.

  40. Carrianne Hall said

    Incredible Blog Orrin!! Mastering your emotions rather than your emotions mastering you is so key and so effective in all area as of life. I still have a ways to go, but I look forward to growing, learning and developing this skill with amazing mentor ship of Wayne and Raylene MacNamara, Claude and Lana Hamilton and Laurie and yourself! Much gratitude , God Bless

  41. Cheryl said

    As soon as I recognized this principle myself, it instantly started improving all of my relationships and resulted in higher pay and positions at my job.

  42. Robert Daley said

    Awesome reminder to think before you speak. I remember my mom telling me often that if you can’t say something nice , don’t say anything at all….
    Thank you Orrin for the positive impact you are having on so many lives…. Mine included
    God bless

  43. Scott Buchanan said

    I can only imagine a world where everyone has a high EQ, thinking before responding, less fear, anger or needlessly damaged relationships. We’re on our way with the LIFE company and your leadership. Thanks Orrin. I appreciate what you and the rest of the PC have done which has changed my life and my wife’s for the better. We’re leaving mediocrity behind for good!

  44. Kim Decker said

    This is so true as we have learned in our life to jump before reasoning…To turn it around takes time but oh so worth it.

  45. JeanetteP said

    Fantastic teaching on EQ!!! Thanks for continuing to help us grow! God bless!!!

  46. Amy Antonucci said

    Thanks for the EQ refresher! I was introduced to this topic a few years ago by you, and it is still something about which I need a continual reminder!

  47. Lisa Elliott said

    Great post.

  48. Michele Lewis said

    Great post Orrin. This is an area truly tested when traveling in airports! It is truly amazing to witness the difference between those who have it and those who don’t.
    I have a long way to go still, but I appreciate the fact that without the Life Leadership Business and mentors like Wayne and Raylene MacNamara and Claude and Lana Hamilton this is one of those areas that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

  49. Alaysha said

    You always have amazing blogs. Thank you for your leadership!

  50. Juleen Ray said

    Reading this again today as I find myself so thankful that I have been blessed with learning how to improve my EQ since joining LIFE. Others may not understand when we pause (for a moment or a day) before responding and I have learned that is okay. Thanks for sharing Orrin.

    In HIS joy,

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