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Emotional Intelligence for Association Executives

Emotional Intelligence for Association Executives

Sometimes it's the things that we already know that prevent us from learning the things we need to know.You know you are smart -- you wouldn't be in this position if you weren't, but what if being smart isn't the be all and end all anymore?

What if the letters after your name, the university you went to, and your IQ are not enough to ensure success in your chosen industry any longer?

The game is changing, and along with it the predictors of success. Going forward things that used to predict success like ...


  • Higher IQ
  • Bigger budgets
  • Higher status, bigger office
  • Higher education
  • Long hours


…aren't holding their weight anymore.

Instead ...


  • Discipline
  • Working smarter
  • Being goal-focused
  • Pro-activity
  • Creative intelligence
  • Practical intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Positive emotions


... are becoming increasingly crucial skills for busy professionals to become competent in and are, in fact, what high performers are excelling in.

Turning transactional experiences (ones where the basic needs or goals are met or accomplished) into transformational experiences (ones where positive emotions are elicited or unexpected, pro-active experiences occur) is a skill that can be nurtured and developed. Your investment of time, energy, and resources here can yield results that can have long-term, impactful consequences for both your personal and your collegial relationships. Imagine being able to communicate with your teenage daughter, your clients, your partner, your staff, or your volunteers in a way that makes both parties feel heard and valued and respected!

According to the Harvard Business Review, "87% of business issues are due to the lack of interpersonal communication skills, not the competencies of the parties." Moreover, with over 400+ emotional experiences a day, many of them negative, it's no wonder we are exhausted by the time we get home -- sometimes even by lunchtime!


The Value of Emotional Intelligence

EQ, Emotional Quotient, is a foundational skill that trickles into everything else you do. Your IQ, Intellectual Quotient, isn't enough anymore. And while self-awareness is a top indicator for successful leaders, it's really what you do with that self-awareness that matters most. Leading others well always starts with leading yourself well!

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to use the information provided by your emotions to act appropriately in the face of daily challenges. This is such powerful information! By looking at our emotions (which are coming whether we like it or not) as a guide to give us information, we can then reach into our toolkit of solutions and pull out the one that is right to get us to our desired outcome. Our job as adult learners in to continually be collecting tools for our personal toolkit so that when the emotions cue us, we pull out the appropriate tool and handle situations better than we ever did before!

Imagine being able to manage, control, and express your own emotions better, being more aware of others feelings and your own, generating positive effects and solving complex situations as the arise without fanfare or drama!

According to the very well researched EQi-2.0, there are 5 Critical Competency Composites:


  • Self-perception
  • Self-expression
  • Interpersonal
  • Decision making
  • Stress Management

Each composite is comprised of 3 sub-scales. For example, under stress management, the sub-scales to develop are flexibility, stress tolerance and optimism.

Do you get easily flustered when things change at the last minute or do you go with the flow easily and effortlessly?

In stressful situations do you react or respond?

Do you generally see the glass half empty or half full? Or did you want a mug?

The fantastic thing about emotional intelligence is that it can be improved over time with practice and focus. And it improves with age! We can have control over this critical skillset, and that's great news!


Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Here are a few proven things that you can do to increase your emotional intelligence, some you might like and some you probably won't. Don't shoot the messenger!


  • Reduce that bad, prolonged stress. In the not-for-profit sector, stress is part of the package. In fact, some types of stress (eustress) are good because it lights a fire under us and gets us going. Practice gratitude and exercise regularly to help keep the bad stress at bay.
  • Improve your sleep quality. Try to keep your bedtime and wake-up times similar, and reduce exposure to blue light at night.
  • Reduce caffeine - sorry! Know how it affects your body and aim for none in the afternoon.


You can take a full EQ assessment and receive coaching in the areas that are lower for you but I believe, at the end of the day, just looking at the model and doing an honest self-assessment is very helpful as well. Pick an area or two you are willing to focus on and concentrate on improving that one area in the next thirty days. Most of us know what to do, we just need to do it.

Cranking up your emotional Intelligence is just one more way you can bring your best to your organization and your family, and live your life unlimited!



Are you nice for a living? Certified Professional Speaker, author and radio personality Stephanie Staples works with busy professionals like you and kicks up conferences from the Mayo Clinic to the Middle East! With both style and substance, her signature, money back guaranteed program Bring Your ‘A’ Game to Work & Life leaves audiences with easily (and immediately) actionable tools & strategies that will change the game of life. Plus…she makes the learning a heck of a lot of fun!



Emotional Intelligence is an important aspect of participating in public education opportunities and networking with peers. Consider the benefits of what Stephanie discusses here as you prepare to attend CSAE National Conference 2018.



Stephanie Staples, Association Executives, Communications, Professional Development, Emotional Intelligence


Guest Contributor, Communications



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