Carolyn Stern on Emotional Intelligence
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Are You an Emotionally Strong Leader?

Sarah welcomes to the podcast, Carolyn Stern, emotional intelligence and leadership development expert and author of the forthcoming book, The Emotionally Strong Leader: An Inside-Out Journey to Transformational Leadership. 

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, we are going to be urging you to answer the question, are you an emotionally strong leader? We’re going to be talking about emotional intelligence and all sorts of related things. I’m excited to welcome to the podcast, Carolyn Stern. Carolyn is an emotional intelligence and leadership development expert and author of the forthcoming book, The Emotionally Strong Leader. She’s developed self-coaching tools to help anyone grow their emotional intelligence and is going to talk with us a bit today about why that’s important, and give you some tips on how to do so. So, Carolyn, welcome to the podcast.

Carolyn Stern: Thanks for having me, Sarah.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, absolutely! So before we dive in, tell our listeners a little bit more about yourself.

Carolyn Stern: So, as you said, I’m Carolyn Stern. A university professor, author, president and CEO of EI Experience, which is an emotional intelligence training company. We do a lot of emotional intelligence leadership development training for our clients. And now, soon to be author of The Emotionally Strong Leader: An Inside-Out Journey to Transformational Leadership, which comes out in September in Canada and October in the United States.

Sarah Nicastro: Awesome. Excellent. All right, so we’re going to talk about some of the specific points, but before we do that, I’m just curious how you got your start in emotional intelligence. Where does your interest lie? Why are you super passionate about this topic? Tell us a little bit more about that.

Carolyn Stern: Yeah. Well, I was a very emotional child, and I don’t know if any of your listeners out there can relate to that, but that was always deemed a bad thing in my family. Emotional expression was considered … “Young kids should be seen and not heard,” and so I really stuffed my emotions down, and my emotions really created havoc in my life. But just because I’m an emotional person doesn’t mean that I’m weak. And I think as I became a coach and trainer for executives, I was sick and tired of hearing that people felt that emotions were a bad thing and that showing them made them weak. And I just felt that if we demonstrate vulnerability or speak our truth, telling others what really is going on for us internally, externally, I didn’t think it was such a bad thing. I felt that leaders needed to learn this skill.

Carolyn Stern: As a university professor and someone who used to teach high school, and I’m also trained in primary education, I know we’re not teaching in schools. So really, what I have seen over the last 25 years as a university professor is we teach these young people IQ, to raise their IQ, but we’re not giving them an emotional education to raise their EQ. And so what happens is, as leaders, it’s now your responsibility to figure out how to deal with people’s emotions in the workplace. I think the pandemic really shined a light on how emotional we can be.

Carolyn Stern: And there is no light switch, Sarah, when you get into the office to turn your emotions on or off. We’re human and humans are full of emotions. The problem for me, as a child, I just didn’t know the strategies on how to be bigger than my emotions. That’s what the whole book’s about. It’s about teaching people to learn, to be bigger and stronger, and that’s why the book is called The Emotionally Strong Leader. You can still be emotional like me and feel things very deeply, and you can also have the mental skills to be bigger and stronger than your emotions.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, I think there’s a category of people that would kind of think those terms contradict each other. If you’re emotional, you’re not strong. If you’re strong, you’re not emotional. So why do we need to change our thinking related to that?

Carolyn Stern: Well, being stronger than your emotions is not really strong- arming your feelings or having a steely resolve not to feel, right? It’s simply being able to understand, acknowledge and accept that we feel things. And our emotions are full of data, Sarah. Just like an ad agency takes consumer behavior as data to make good strategic choices on how to encourage us to buy their products and services, it’s the same thing with our emotions. Our emotions are full of a lot of data and they can give us good strategies on how to behave and communicate better. But a lot of the times, because we were told and hoodwinked in all these years to think that emotions were bad, we just pushed those down rather than saying, “Hey, I’m frustrated. That must mean there’s some unmet expectations here,” right? 

Carolyn Stern: And that’s what frustration tells us, is there’s unmet expectations. So what’s going on in my life that I’m having some unmet expectations? And then, if someone is not meeting my expectations, then I can calmly and rationally tell you, “Hey, Sarah. When you did this, I felt this, and what I’d like you to do in the future is this.” We can have calm conversations if we can take the data our emotions provide. And one of the two questions I ask all of my clients, and they’re really simple questions, what are you feeling in this moment? So, Sarah, what are you feeling right now in this moment?

Sarah Nicastro: Well, probably a little bit stressed because I have so much to do today.

Carolyn Stern: Okay. Perfect.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah.

Carolyn Stern: And then the second question I always ask is what is that feeling telling you about you?

Sarah Nicastro: That I over-scheduled myself.

Carolyn Stern: There you go.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah.

Carolyn Stern: And so, what does that tell you to do? That gives you some strategies on what to do.

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Carolyn Stern: As simple as those two questions are, and we pepper them throughout the book, I ask reader to constantly be reflecting on how we’re feeling. Here’s the challenge. In the workplace, you take time for lunch. You might take time to stretch. But how often do we take time to pay attention to our feelings? And right now, above my desk, I have an emotions poster. That emotions poster reminds me to check in with how I’m feeling throughout the day, and then asking myself … And just because that I’m an emotional intelligence expert, I want to be really clear.

Carolyn Stern: I haven’t mastered this. I don’t think any of us ever mastered it. But more times than not, I am bigger than my feelings and I’m making rational choices. But there are days that my feelings rule me and they’re in the driver’s seat, versus me being in the driver’s seat. But by slowing down, figuring out not only what am I feeling, why am I feeling what I’m feeling and what can I do about it, how can I respond a respectful and professional manner, that’s really what EI is all about. It’s being intelligent about our emotions.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Now, you mentioned the impact of the pandemic. Do you think that there is an evolution at play here where this is changing at work? I mean to me, it feels like even if you have leaders who didn’t grow up in a situation like you did, made to feel bad about their emotions, even where that hasn’t been the case, there has always been a very strict delineation. “You should leave that outside of work.” And I think that has changed and is changing. I really like the point you made about emotions as data. What are they telling you? But I also think it’s becoming a strength of leaders, in terms of being able to connect in different ways. Would you agree with that?

Carolyn Stern: Absolutely. Emotional intelligence isn’t new. I mean, Daniel Goleman had made it popular in 1995 and it has been around since the early 1990s. The need for it is so much more important and, in fact, the World Economic Forum said it’s one of the top 10 skills needed for the future of jobs. What the pandemic has done has shined a light on the fact that we are human, and we feel things because our feelings erupted. This was one of the biggest disruptions in most people’s lives, and we could no longer stuff them down and leave them at the door, especially since many of us were working from home. People got to see all of the things that were balancing inside. It’s interesting as an emotional intelligence company. 

Carolyn Stern: I started EI Experience in 2017, and when clients would call me, or when I would have to reach out to them, I had to convince them of, “Here’s what emotional intelligence training is and here’s why it’s needed.” Now, we’re busier than ever. Leaders are calling us saying, “Oh my gosh, we need this,” because think about it. Having been a university professor, we’re not teaching this in schools, and the Gen-Zs and the Millennials are going to make up 65% of the market of the labor force by 2025. These younger generations aren’t made up of the same makeup as I am, who’s a Gen-X. I can’t expect the younger generation to know what I know because they don’t have those skills. So for instance, Gen-Zs. They are lower at independence, lower at problem-solving and lower at stress tolerance than any generation before them. Why? Because they grew up with these things. They have helicopter parents. In fact, I was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun right back in 2020, just as the pandemic was happening, and I was the one person saying there was a silver lining about the pandemic, in my opinion.

Carolyn Stern: Yes, I’m not discrediting all the lost jobs and the lost lives and all of the horribleness that the pandemic brought. But what it did bring is it enforced our younger generation to become emotionally resilient. Because guess what? Google didn’t know how to live through a pandemic, nor did their parents. These young people had to learn, “Hey, I’m no longer in a classroom. I’m now at home. I’ve got to figure out how to learn in my own setting. I have to figure out how to manage my own stress. I have to figure out how to rely on my own opinions.” And in my opinion, it’s been a gift because it really has taught them to have more grit, soldier through the challenging times and persevere.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I like the word you said, appetite, because I think you’re right that emotional intelligence isn’t a new concept. The information’s been around. People are aware of it. I think there’s been sort of an increasing acceptance of the value it plays in leadership. But the appetite for it, I think, is what has changed and is changing, so that makes sense.

Carolyn Stern: Absolutely.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the insights that you cover in the book. So first, you talk about five distinct areas of emotional intelligence. Can you tell us a little bit about each of those?

Carolyn Stern: Yeah, so it’s based on the EQI 2.0 model by Multi Health Systems, and it basically says EI is broken up into five different categories. Self-perception, how do you see yourself? This is made up of how confident you are, how self-assured you are. Are you fulfilled in your life? Do you achieve your goals? Do you set goals? Are you aware of your emotions and the triggers in any given moment? And are you aware of when you’re being triggered? The second composite scale, or area, is called self-expression. This is your communication skills. How do you express yourself and relate to people? Things that you might want to ask is do you constructively express how you feel? Do you stand up for yourself? If not, why not? Do you care too much about what people think? 

Carolyn Stern: And just a little bit about me, my lowest competency, just full disclosure, is independence, and people are always surprised by that because I run my own company. I’m not married. I’m financially independent. However, I grew up with a very over-protective, bless her heart, over-bearing mother, and she didn’t let me make decisions for myself. So now, as a grown-up and as a leader, I worry about my decisions. I question myself a lot. I need a lot of reassurance. My staff always tell me I pay them to reassure me, which is probably true. And I’m sharing a little bit about me to let you know that we all have an upbringing. We all came from this. So when I ask how confident you are, are you confident or are you not so confident, or are you in the middle? In the book, we first do self-perception, which I just went through. We then do self-expression, which is all about how you communicate.

Carolyn Stern: The third one is interpersonal. How do you relate to people? This is your social skills, so this is things about how do you make connections? Are you good at making mutually-satisfying connections? Are you able to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes? Do you have empathy? Are you able to give back and be helpful? These are questions that we ask the reader in the book to kind of assess. “Am I high? Am I in the middle? Or am I low?” And then in the book, we talk about the dark side. You can be too much of something. Think about self-regard, for instance. How many people, Sarah, do you know, how many leaders do you know, that have too much self-regard and that they can be a narcissist and have an inability to admit mistake? All of these competencies or skills, EI skills, relate to you need to figure out where your baseline is.

Carolyn Stern: The fourth area is decision making, and this is all about how do we make decisions when emotions are involved. So for instance, are you aware of your emotional state when making a decision? Do you let your emotions cloud your objectivity? Or even, do you let your impulses tempt you? Or do you delay gratification? And then the last one is stress management, which is all about how well do you cope and handle stress, the uncertainty of the world, and change? Things like, “How well do you adapt?” Think back to the pandemic, Sarah. Do you feel like you’ve adapted well to the change and uncertainty? Do you think you would say yes to that?

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yes. I mean, not without it taking a toll, but yeah.

Carolyn Stern: So, you’ve pivoted fairly well considering? Yeah. And then we ask things like, “How well do you cope with stress? Are you resilient during trying times? And also, do you remain hopeful about the future?” When we were listening, doom-scrolling, all the bad things happening, did you get suckered into that or do you have an optimistic outlook on life? Those are the five areas that we talk about in the book. We go into a deep dive and we get the reader to kind of really look at all 15 different skills because all of us have a different emotional makeup. And then the other piece that I just want to share quickly is sometimes, your areas of where you’re high in and where you’re low in can actually go against you. I’ll give you an example. I told you I’m low in independence, but I’m really high in flexibility.

So as a leader, I flip-flop. I can’t make stringent decisions. I tend to flip-flop my ideas. So when one employee asks me to do one thing, I say, “Okay, sure,” and I get convinced to do that, and then another employee asks me to do another thing and I get convinced of that. And then the problem is because I worry about what people think, I want both employees to be happy. That’s not a great combination, and that’s the work I have to do. Sometimes, I have to be a little less flexible and say, “No, this is where I’m putting my foot down.” And sometimes, I need to raise my independence and say, “I’m sorry you’re upset with me, but here’s my final decision.” So that’s my work, and in the book, what I get readers to do is really figure out what is their emotional work.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. It’s really interesting. Now, I feel like I can guess the answer to this question, but I’m going to ask anyway, in case I’m wrong. Do you feel like there’s one of those five areas that leaders typically struggle with most, or does it just depend completely on individual makeup?

Carolyn Stern: It really does depend on individual makeup. We all have genetic influence, right, and we all have environmental influences, but here’s the good news. Anyone can learn and develop and enhance their EI skills in order to increase their leadership potential. Less and less leaders are actually not seeing a need for this because the problem is we tend to deal with all the disrespectful behaviors or unprofessional communications stemming from the emotional issues. And I think leaders are now realizing, “Wow, I got to get to the heart of the matter. Rather than just dealing, putting a bandaid on the inappropriate behaviors of this employee, I got to figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing.” And a big part of the book is I actually talk about, “Learn your why. Why do?”

Carolyn Stern: Once I figured out that I had an overbearing mother and that that’s why I didn’t learn independence, rather than blaming her, because we talk a lot about in the book … Rather than me pointing a finger and saying, “Mom, you’re the problem,” no. Three fingers point back at me. I just didn’t learn those skills, so it’s now my responsibility as a human to learn how to stand on my own two feet, how to be more self-directed how to not care so much about what people think, and it’s not easy. The strategies we give in the book are quite simple, but it’s not always easy.

Sarah Nicastro: Right, so on that point. In the book, you walk through these five areas and you dig into each of them, and then you talk about a variety of ways that people can foster their EI skills. Give us a couple examples of what that looks like.

Carolyn Stern: I’d say one of the big things that I think I have to teach leaders is, really, to do what I just told you to do, which is to do an emotional check-in, right? “How am I feeling?” But our emotional vocabulary is very small. There are thousands of emotions out there, but I would ask you, “Write down the ones that are on top of your mind.” Probably, you could maybe write down five or 10, but there are thousands, and the nuances between. So for instance, I can feel happy. The level of intensity of happiness can go from elated to content. Which one am I? So really understanding the level of intensity of our emotions. Figuring out how I’m feeling, where that feeling comes from, what triggered that feeling, why I am the way I am. Then, I can be more conscious of my choices. 

Carolyn Stern: So one of the activities I give all my clients is to take a sheet of paper and split it down four ways. The first is, “Name the emotion,” so put the emotion of what you’re feeling. The second is, “Write down the trigger.” What triggered that feeling? Now, I want you to create space. I want you to take a pause and say, “Okay, I have two ways,” and I always get them to write it down. “What’s a highly emotional intelligent response and a low EQ response? What would a high emotional intelligent response person do, and what would a low emotional intelligence response person do? And by creating space, they can say, “Okay. Well, here’s something that I could do. I could talk to someone calmly or I could yell.” Well, that’s the response. The third column is response. The fourth column is impact. So if I have a calm conversation with you, what’s the impact that that’s going to leave? If I yell at you-

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Carolyn Stern: What’s the impact that’s going to leave? That then gives them a roadmap of how to deal with those emotions. But they first have to figure out what triggered it, what are they feeling, and why? That’s one of the big ones I get asked. The other one I think I get asked a lot about is empathy. Empathy is feeling with someone. Sympathy is feeling for someone. Really, there are three kinds of empathy. There is cognitive empathy, which is perspective taking. I can imagine what you are thinking and put myself into your thinking mind. There’s perspective, empathy, which is, “I can feel your pain.” And then compassionate empathy is, “I can feel your pain and I want to help.” Now, some people who have low empathy, I have to teach them ways to become more empathetic. That might be to really listen to people, rather than just to hear them, to really listen to what they’re saying.

Carolyn Stern: For people that have too much empathy, that get enmeshed in people’s stuff and carry the emotional burdens on their shoulders, that’s a different emotional intelligence strategy. That would be, “Set up some boundaries.” So, when you’re telling me your problem, Sarah, rather than me having your emotional problem be put on my shoulders, I can then say to you, “Okay. How are you feeling, Sarah? What can you do about it?” I can coach you through your problem. I can still have compassion for you, but I don’t have to go home at night and solve your problems for you and carry the emotional weight on my shoulders. You can have compassion and boundaries at the same time as a leader. A lot of times I have leaders who either have no empathy and I have to teach them how to raise their empathy, or I have leaders that have too much empathy and they need to lower their empathy.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. One of the things I wanted to ask about, too, actually, is taking time to rest, the importance of that, and avoiding the word “but.” So how do those factor in to fostering emotional intelligence?

Carolyn Stern: Well, taking time to rest and reflect, right? I am not good at this, I will be honest. In fact, I just wrote a blog about it. I just went on my first weekend vacation in five years. We grew up with this hustle culture, right? The more productive we are, the more successful we’ll become, and I swallowed that pill and I believed in that. And by taking time to rest and really reflect, I think so much of this society … We’re on our phones all the time. We’re looking at other people’s ideas. The media’s always amongst us. We’re listening to other people’s idea. How often do we spend time journaling? How often do we spend time just in our inner thoughts? I mean, science shows walking in nature calms our ruminating thoughts. So just spending time to rest and reflect will really calm your parasympathetic nervous system. In terms of the avoiding the word “but,” “but” negates everything before it.

Carolyn Stern: So for instance, “I love you, but I’m moving out.” Do you love me? So I teach people some communication methods and one of them is, “I love you and I’m moving out.” Or even at work, if you want to use a work example, what happens when you’re asked to do something, another task on your to-do list? Someone’s making their objective as important as yours. You can say “Yes and” rather than “Yes but.” So, “Yes I’m happy to take on that project, and the project you gave me, project B, will have to wait till Monday. Is that all right?” So rather than saying “Yes but,” which negates everything before, you can say “Yes and,” and negotiate. You can also say, “Yes, I’m so glad you thought of me, and right now I don’t have the bandwidth.” Now your boss might not be happy that you have set up a boundary and said, “I can’t do it,” but your boss will respect you for taking care, to be realistic of what you can accomplish and what you can’t accomplish.

Sarah Nicastro: Right. Yeah. No, that makes sense. So how would you describe what leading with emotional intelligence looks like?

Carolyn Stern: Well, people with high EI just have more self-awareness. They’re able to control their actions. They have more empathy for others. They like to build healthier relationships. They admit publicly when they make a mistake. They ask for input. They give specific praise, but also specific constructive feedback to their team so that they can grow. They know how to build good relationships. We still get stressed if we’re highly emotionally intelligent, but they come from it with a growth mindset, seeing that every opportunity or challenges is an opportunity for them to grow. They articulate how they’re feeling. They’re open about how they’re feeling. And here’s what they’re not. They’re not stoic, which is what you described at the beginning of this podcast. They don’t pretend to put on this fake persona, and people don’t follow that, right? We can read through that when we know what people are feeling, but it’s really they think they can share how they’re feeling authentically so that people really want to follow them because they’re relatable, not perfect. No one wants to follow perfection.

Carolyn Stern: And the other thing is they know how to set boundaries, especially when the lines are blurred between home and work. They’re also able to use their emotions as data, as I said, to make really good, rational decisions. They’re brave to share and to talk about, “Hey, I’m uncertain about what’s going to happen,” especially when emotions are heightened. And most importantly, they check in with their team. Here’s the biggest thing that I get asked by executives. You do not need to be a therapist or a financial advisor or a lawyer for any one of your employees’ problems. All you have to do is listen and coach them. Coach them means … and we’ve developed a coaching with emotional intelligence model, but coaching others is really about asking them questions so that they figure out the answers, so you don’t have to be the problem-solving hero, right?

Carolyn Stern: They also know how to adapt in changing times. They also know how to have a positive outlook, even when things look gloomy. So there’s lots of things that an emotionally intelligent leader looks like and sounds like, but it’s really, I think, about being brave and open about their own emotions, and that’s why I wrote the book the way I wrote it. The book is an inside-out journey. You’ve got to figure out yourself first, your own emotional makeup first, before you can lead others. So once I knew that I lacked independence, guess what? I hired really independent people.

Carolyn Stern: Why? Because they become my competency advisors. They become my advisors in my company. When I’m struggling with what people are thinking about me, I can pick up the phone and call my competency advisor who’s, by the way, my business development manager who’s half my age. But I ask her for help because she’s really strong in independence. So knowing your emotional makeup helps you know, “Who do I put on my team can help me be the best leader?” My second book, which I hope I will write, will all be about, “Now once you know yourself and how to lead, how do you lead others?”

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think you mentioned authenticity and, to me, that seems like such an important part of this because I think the growth stems from that. And also, I think the perception of you as a leader and how your emotional intelligence connects, I think, has so much to do with authenticity. Are you doing the work, to your point, to figure yourself out and leverage that best to connect with others, or are you kind of faking it? I think people can see right through it.

Carolyn Stern: Absolutely, and think about it. How you feel affects how you perform. I think you just said earlier, you’re stressed. If you carry that stress throughout the day, how good is your work going to be today?

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Carolyn Stern: Now, again, we’re not all going to have great days. I’ve had bad days, too. So how do I work through my stress? How do I first stop everything and go, “Okay, how can I calm myself down and be less stressed?” But the other thing is, you said it best, people are engaged at work if they feel connected to you and the team, appreciated for their efforts, and fulfilled in the job. Three questions I ask every employee, and I recommend your listeners ask all of their employees, is these three questions. What do you need to feel connected to me and the team? What do you need to feel appreciated for your efforts? And what do you need to feel fulfilled in your role? And then, shut up and listen because guess what? That’s going to give you a roadmap on how to lead them.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah.

Carolyn Stern: That’s getting inside what works for them and fills their bucket so that you, as a leader, can give back to them in a way that will resonate with them.

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Carolyn Stern: But every person is different. You might to feel connected to me. You might need to talk to me once a day. Another employee might need to talk to me once a week. To feel appreciated, you might want me to spend time with you. Another employee might just want a gift card. To feel fulfilled in your role, you might just want challenging assignments, whereas another employee wants to take a course. All of that is going to give you a lot of data on, “How do I keep people engaged and fulfilled and connected to me in the workplace?”

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. No, I think it’s all really good input and it’s all super interesting, too. I was just thinking as you were saying that. I think the art of listening cannot be overemphasized, first and foremost, but I was also thinking about how if you ask those questions, how many people are going to feel they can share openly, and how is that reflective on your leadership, right? It goes back to the point of people can be in leadership positions, but we’re all human and people want to feel connected on a human level. So it goes back to kind of what we said earlier, which is there’s more appetite for leaders to be more of themselves at work, instead of just that stoic reserve, robotic. “Okay. What do you need to feel fulfilled?”

Sarah Nicastro: I mean, depending on the tone in which that question’s asked and/or the way that leader conducts themself, that’s going to dictate what level of openness you get in the response. So it’s just interesting how it’s all tied together, right? Because are you modeling the type of self-awareness and openness and communication that you ultimately want your employees to feel comfortable bringing to you, so that you can get good data when you ask those questions, instead of having them feel they need to be closed off because you’re closed off, or what have you?

Carolyn Stern: Well, it’s interesting because when I was writing the book, I started writing a book on emotional intelligence and leading with emotional intelligence, and how to lead people and how to get them more engaged. And then halfway through the book, I’ve written half the book, I stopped because I said, “You know what? I’ve written the wrong book first.” The first book needs to be how as you, as a leader, how can you learn what your emotional makeup is? How can you be brave to talk about your feelings so that no longer are others experiencing you as a leader solely through your outward behavior, but rather they’re experiencing you on a deeper connection from underneath the surface.

Carolyn Stern: And exactly what you’re saying, when that kind of genuine connection happens, others feel seen and heard. You feel cared for and valued. And in a work setting, that’s what’s going to affect dedication, engagement, and fulfillment. So I actually switched my entire book. I basically wrote a book and a half. But the half of the book, no one will see, not until the next book comes out. But this book is really about, “How do I look inwards first to figure out how my emotions have hurt or helped me in the workplace?” And then, let’s get brave enough! You’ve got to model the way. Just like you said, you have to model the way first so that you are brave to talk about your feelings. And once you start talking about your feelings, you give others permission to do the same.

Sarah Nicastro: Right. Yeah.

Carolyn Stern: And at every meeting I have with my team, we always start with a one-word feeling check-in. So we always ask everyone what they’re feeling, and if anyone ever says to me, “Hey, I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed,” I can have a side conversation offline with them to find out how I can support them. But that gives me a lot of data as to what’s going on for them. It also lets them know that I care.

Sarah Nicastro: Right.

Carolyn Stern: When people feel cared for … Think about the last time you felt cared for it in the office. You probably worked a lot harder. And that’s our goal as a leader, right? We’re trying to move people forward towards our vision, our direction. People won’t do that unless they feel cared for, appreciated, and fulfilled.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. No, you’re right. I love it. I think it’s great. Okay so, Carolyn, any closing thoughts? And also let people know where they will be able to find the book.

Carolyn Stern: Well first of all, thank you so much for having me. It’s been a great conversation. The book is available September 13th in Canada, online and in stores, and October 4th in the United States, online and in stores. It’s called The Emotionally Strong Leader: An Inside-Out Journey to Transformational Leadership. I just hope if I could get leaders to just learn one thing, it would be stop being so afraid of your emotions. They’re just feelings. Feelings are not facts. They’re not always factual. They can be factual, but they’re not always. But they’re fleeting, and we feel thousands of them, hundreds of them, lots of them throughout a day or throughout a week or throughout a month.

Carolyn Stern: They’re transient. They’re incredibly personal. And it’s hard to be an objective bystander from your own emotions, but that is the key to your success. As I said at the beginning, I’m a very emotional person. I feel things very deeply, and I’m strong. I’ve now learned the mental skills and strategies to be stronger and bigger and smarter than my feelings. So I am in the driver’s seat of my feelings, rather than, now, my feelings being in the driver’s seat of me.

Sarah Nicastro: That’s awesome. Well, congrats on doing the work and writing the book, and thank you for being on. So everyone, be sure to check out Carolyn’s book, and also visit us online for more content at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn, as well as Twitter @TheFutureOfFS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.