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  • Positive Polarity Podcast

How Leaders Can Improve and Leverage Their EQ with Gary Loop

Tell us a little bit about what you do and what the Loop Group does.

The Loop Group is really kind of in its seventh year, so it's been really evolutionary. I was approached three and a half years ago about becoming a business coach. I was already kind of doing business coaching as part of the consulting. So, it made a lot of sense. And then soon after, I had been approached about a year and a half ago about some life coaching. I still do business consulting, still do business coaching and life coaching. But now when I work with clients, I'm offering kind of all three in one. It's kind of a hybrid service.

And so, and I've been in really just a wide variety of and banking and manufacturing, distribution, real estate, with a nationwide moving company, the conflict management company, I'm an entrepreneur. So really across the board of who I'm working with, both in size and people in industry. And I've just been thankful that the work that I've done, the models that I've produced seem to kind of translate across businesses.

DO you have a simple thought process on how you identify? What is business coaching is versus life coaching? Have you had to work through that at all yet?

Not too much. I think the pandemic really provides a great example; every engagement that I have with leaders, and oftentimes I'm working with a CEO of the president or leader, or maybe their direct reports, but I work all the way from the top to the front line, and really everybody has access to me. So, I would say during this pandemic, I really kind of moved more into a life coach/business coach.

When you say life coach, what does that mean to you? And how do you look at that?

It's a genuine walk with someone with where they're at. And so, in business, I've been really quite convinced that folks were really shell-shocked. I think as Americans, quite honestly, I think we're not accustomed to change. Change has come in the form of our wallets in terms of the job market, even to think about sports, sports have long been this kind of place that we could go to, we can go to the local restaurant. Those are all gone. We're trying to roll with the changes. That's why it's kind of become more of a, "how are you doing? How are you working through this? How are you meeting your team? How are you going virtual?"

At the beginning of the day, it usually starts as kind of, "let's talk about your business." But over time and they know coming in what I offer in terms of these other services, but it's really just building that trust level until someone's going to really start to confide in you. And for me, David's trust is my number one thing. So, with folks, that's all about confidentiality, it's really being empathetic. It's having a high EQ.

Another thing too, Dave, is that I get more hours than what I would I say I bill. Don't wait until Monday's meeting to call me. If it's Sunday at six o'clock call me. Because life happens all the time.

When you get into EQ with people, are people aware of what is at the leadership level, or do you tend to see that you're educating them on something that they may not have thought about before?

A really key point with leaders is for those that have a higher EQ, it's really letting them know about their gifts. A lot of this work, Dave, you do too. It's helping people understand the gifts that they may not be aware of. Generally, people are pretty key in the sense of what they're good at. But like I sometimes come across a leader where they're not sure what they already possess, it's saying let's really leverage this.

It's coaching a leader to walk into the room whether you set a new sales record or lost a major client, the really the presence is so key. So, EQ, it's really a good thing to train. And I've had a lot of advancement with that.

I see a lot of business owners and a lot of people in business that they kind of shut down. We've all had bad days, and again, we're all allowed speed bumps. We're all allowed those occasional situations. But when it becomes a common practice, that's where the challenge comes in. So, when you're coaching people, what do you normally see? Are people cognizant of that low EQ? Or, do they tend to be pretty oblivious to it?

I think they sense more of the symptoms where the root tissue is. They'll notice that, Hey, whenever I do this, this thing happens. I think the other thing is thinking about it as that there's some other aspects to the EQ. Some are related, for example, in leadership, but it's not a competency, conflict aversion. Oftentimes there's so many dynamics going on in the room, and we've heard that it's the spoken word as 20% of the message and 80% is the body language. And so, my job a lot of times is I spent a lot of time listening. I don't talk too much. I just listen a lot and identify.

When I do my conflict resolution training, and we start out the session by saying, "Hey, when you hear the word conflict, what are some things that come into your head? What are some words that tend to describe conflict?" And I'm going to say, 98% of the words that I give back are negative words. And people forget, or they don't know that there's a healthy, positive way to have conflict. There are plenty of leaders that are conflict-averse. There's also plenty of leaders that look for controversy. So, I try and help people to kind of find the middle. When you're communicating with your leaders and people, are they pretty dialed into the two different sides of conflict, or do they tend to just see conflict mostly as a negative?

I think there's generally more of a negative connotation. I think it's not often called out. This is all part of that trust and relationship aspect from the beginning. I think that there may be more of a defense of that kind of position where over time, once I can start to work with them, very personal, very personal level, begin to help them to find out what were the triggers. When I see someone kind of erupt in a room, I want to go back, and I'll be like, "well, what was the trigger? What caused you to get upset?" And I think in my work, I'm always trying to draw out.

I'm always convinced that there are some great minds and voices in the room. How do we draw it out? And if there's too much loudness, speak up. If there's kind of an attacking environment, they know it's not wise to speak up. But really in the last 13 years, I've been in a lot of challenging situations, rolling out those incredible voices and watching them once they're emboldened and power to speak in a safe environment. Really blossom and grow. It's a great.

When you see that particular individual, how do you work that out? What feedback, what wisdom would you have for somebody that might be listening that is in that spot that they're like, yeah, I want to speak, but I don't. How do you help that type of person?

You know what I love the most about my work Dave, is that it's really having the ability to work. In the beginning, I'll ask, can I have access to the organization? And that the answer has been a resounding yes. I get to know the senior leadership, the middle leadership in the frontline. I begin to sit in meetings. I really kind of assess who really are the ones that are coming in. There's a number of methodologies and models that I use to draw folks out to see who is coming prepared. Who's really getting the work done. When I identify someone, because generally the higher level they're getting work done, I'll always encourage them. Listen, you're really the one that's speaking up. Your voice is often heard. You're very articulate.

When I see someone in the room and see that quietness, I pull them aside, I can tell, I can just see the wheels turning, and I'm going to pull them aside. I'm like, "what were you thinking there?" Let me get to start talking about that. And I'll say, "you know what, in the next meeting, when you have a thought, I love to see you just at least put something out there." I also usually work to go back to the top of the food chain and say, "you know what? I really started to see something in Becky. And I think she's got a lot of potential encouraging her to speak up."

Then as leaders, their lives are better. Their families are better. There's better peace or running a better organization. But it's also those folks that long time has said, you know, I'm just on the bottom of the list. Those folks they've got great gifts and drawing that out, that's my greatest joy. I've watched folks that have jumped three levels in an organization pretty quickly, because someone finally said, Holy cow, the entire time, Becky knew all the answers. So that's how I do it as you can probably tell on a one on one basis, because if I'm in that meeting, they to say, this would be a good time, Becky, for you to speak out. Well, now the turtle is going to stick the head even deeper into the shell. We're doing a lot of that one on one work to bring that encouragement, to have them really bring their gifts forward.

Suppose you're a business leader, and you're listening to this, and you have somebody like Becky on your team. In that case, I think Gary brought up a great point that I don't want to miss: go to that individual first privately and have that discussion with them to make sure they're comfortable. Because I know calling on people, from a DISC perspective, the C type people, the more reserved people, if you go to them and don't prepare them, they will struggle. So, if you walk into a meeting and you've never called on, and you think, Oh my gosh, today's the day. I heard this podcast, and I'm going to jump in and share it and try and get them to open up, set aside some time ahead of time to be able to make that connection, because nothing crushes trust quicker than putting somebody in that position.

The statistics that I see, three out of four people are leaving their job because of their boss. And that really shows that like, we, as leaders, really need to kind of up our game when it comes to leading people. I always think of a sheep and the shepherd. I think it's the shepherd's responsibility to put that sheep in green pastures and really make it a flourishing and nourishing environment. And if your sheep are bad, it's a direct correlation to that shepherd. Do you feel when you have leaders buying into that when you share that type of stuff with them, are they the type you see more like, no, no, that's on them. I'm not taking the responsibility. How do you handle that type of situation?

Yeah, that's a great question. You know, that's where the business consulting, and the business coaching kind of come across, and they blend together. And that's why, when I say these things, the life business, consulting, and coaching all come together. It's the business coaching where these leaders, because some may kind of know what they don't know how to take action. They just may not be aware. You know, when you're running a large organization, it's very hard to know. So often times it's nuts. I'd say probably more than nothing. It's not seen. I think they've got good insight. They do great work, but I'm all about trying to bring the cream to the top. As you know, some folks often say they're doing all these things, but when I put in some of these metrics and start doing some of this tracking the ones saying they're doing all the work that is talking a lot, oftentimes may not be doing that.

So, it's a whole real analysis of the organization. And I think it's funny that once they see it gives again a tie with every time I go to a new client; they don't know me. So, it's all part of our process. You have to have first develop that trust in your business. And then from there, it's once they see the initial success of Becky or Joe, or whoever may be, that was kind of the quiet person. Once they draw that out, they're now golden. And I'll say, you know what? I've got an organization of 700 people here. There's got to be more folks in here. And by the same token, I got a lot of folks saying a lot of great things, but I'm not seeing a lot of productivity gains kind of the wheels turning of saying, what does my organization really look like based on what I perceived look like? That drives why I'm brought on-site because there are usually challenges or issues that they can't figure out.

It's those private conversations. And I didn't really, realize at the time how much that meant. And that's why this business, why it's grown, is it's really understanding how those little conversations. It's almost like investing, you know, you throw a few pennies in the piggyback, right? Now you've got a thousand dollars, $10,000. It's like an investment in the people. You're really throwing pennies in the jar, but over time, those pennies really grow and begin to mature. It's phenomenal. It's awesome.

What are a couple of tips that you would encourage people to use to try and build trust?

A couple of things came to mind is really sitting down and talking with folks and getting to know them and really getting to know people on a personal level. And that takes time for leaders that have been in an organization for years that never did it. It's going to be a little uncomfortable if they go see their employee that they're not really talked to on a personal level to start asking some real deeper questions. So, I think for your more tenured leaders with the group that they've maybe not communicated with as much, just maybe start with hellos or stopping by to say, how's your day. Because trust is really built through time, so it's just really going, "How's your day going?" And as you kind of get to know them and say, boy, I really enjoy gardening, and they really enjoy whatever it is to start to ask more questions like "How are, how are those tulips doing? What's been happening?"

I think I've learned so much from people that I had no idea about because they have these great hobbies and interests. So, for me, I find it personally interesting. When I'm coming on-site, I've got to build trust immediately. And I think that's just by just showing a genuine concern for who they are. And again, I think we know that comes largely through listening, really listening a lot.

So, never give up on the time investment. Never give up on the time investment. And then what sort of a degree of trust has been built, it's absolutely essential that that is backed up and follow through with a hundred percent confidentiality. That means not discussing those things with other people. It means keeping it between them. To me, my conversations are always confidential. And that just builds such rapport.

Who was somebody that really had a big impact on you as a leader?

As I was winding down the standup comedy career because it's not a great lifestyle, I was doing little part-time jobs. It was a call center. I stepped into a management role, and I really have the huge blessing of reporting to a gal who was phenomenal, just really outstanding. Then her director, who she reported to is phenomenal and still friends to this day. I think in the end, I want to make kind of a side point If I may about coming new into leadership. It is important to be really surrounded by folks that are great leaders. Unfortunately, I've seen folks start under a new leader when a leader can have more of a negative effect.

And I was so thankful to have leadership that I was really aligned with. When I took the leadership role, I was thinking, am I cut out for this? But I thankfully landed in with some folks that basically had a philosophy, of you, can actually run a business and lead well without being a tyrant while also not being someone that people can walk all over. If you start with clear goals and expectations and follow up on those goals and expectations, great things will happen.

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