Category Archives: Emotional Intelligence

Tofu & You: Sauteing Your Leadership Entree

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to remind you are who you associate with. Reading time: 2:26    


     The Tofu sizzling in the vegetable stir fry looked bland in the pan yet tasted grand on the tongue. How come?

Tofu stir fry

Tofu stir fry

     The answer just may do more than expand the versatility in your tantalizing palate.  It just might also broaden the diversity in your leadership palette to solve problems more creatively and productively.

     Think of Tofu as an aromatic sponge that soaks up air-borne smells in a Marinating Magic Show and provides us a metaphor to brighten up and your leadership skills no matter how bland you may feel now doing ordinary work in an ordinary job.

      Like Tofu, your leadership skill sets, sizzle in a skillet, especially when you are stirred around in a variety of diverse flavors, tastes, vegetable juices etc.

       Call it the Tofu Tango.

       Indeed, the more you dance with the stars –leaders in their own fields–the brighter you feel.

       You become a part of all you touch and all who touch you impart something of themselves in you that lasts over time and shapes your thinking, guides your soul and alerts your mind to the opportunities and obstacles ahead.

       Continue reading

Feeling Your Way to the Bottom Line

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you enhance employee relations. Reading time: 3:16

       The team leader brought in his project on time and slightly under budget.

        softballHe drove the contractors hard to make sure the opening of the new company softball diamond would be ready for tonight’s season opener.

       No wonder the team leader was feeling great as he drove up to the field a few hours before game time to do a final inspection. But then he felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach. “Bleachers! Who ordered those bleachers?”

      No one knew. Finally the team leader rushed into the CEO’s office knowing he had failed to stay under budget, knowing that it will seem to the CEO and other decision makers at this billion-dollar, privately-held company that he was deliberately lying to make his numbers look good.

      Now the team leader had to practice crises management 101 to save face. He had to be the first to tell the CEO that someone spent unauthorized dollars on this softball diamond project.  “I don’t know who authorized this but I will get to the bottom of this,” the team leader gushed to the CEO. “I had this under control. I swear. I will find out who did this to me.” Continue reading

Being Comfortable In Your Own Skin

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here is an idea to help you cope with extraordinary demands of a leader. Reading time: 5:18

      The newly promoted CEO is rifling through a stack of congratulatory phone messages.

       phone messageHe’d just returned to his expansive and expensive new office from a press conference announcing his appointment as the leader of a $3 billion company.

     His compensation had just increased 10 fold and now his span of control reached globally into eight other countries and over 18,000 employees.

      But this newly minted milionaire CEO had more meaningful things to think about than dwell on his own success. And in the process he taught us all a keen leadership lesson in authenticity in his first few minutes in the BIG Chair.

     “That’s the most important message of them all,” the CEO says, handing the phone message to his top public relations guy.

Continue reading

Crawling Out From Under Your Skin

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to strengthen your emotional intelligence. Reading time: 3:32

       Ben Franklin did it in the nude. D.H. Lawrence did it under a tree. Gertrude Stein did it in a car.  Robert Louis Stevenson did it in bed. Ernest Hemingway did it standing up. And Sir Walter Scott did it on horseback.

Ernest Hemingway at his stand up desk: typewriter perched atop dresser doors

Ernest Hemingway at his stand up desk: typewriter perched atop book shelf.

      Indeed,  the process of writing is as diverse as those individual writers. So is the process of leading.

      Yet the object is the same in both writing and leading: get into the mindset of your readers or followers and serve their interests.

       How do you more efficiently adopt the mindset of another beyond basic research and survey tools?

        Writers do it with a ritual that begins each writing session; a ritual that signals a conscious effort to change their behavior from the ordinary “me and we” to the extraordinary “them and theirs.”

        It’s a ritual so arresting writers seemingly climb a ladder –step by step –to get away from everything familiar and then they take a proverbial plunge into something new, different, and exhilarating. Consider these various writing rituals to get into the hearts and minds of others:

         Poet Friedrich Schiller would fill his desk with rotten apples. Composer Richard Wagner wore historical costumes. Author Samuel Johnson wrote most prolifically with a purring cat near him.

        Author Marcel Proust lined his work room with sound-absorbing cork.  Author Charles Dickens required his standing desk face north and Rudyard Kipling couldn’t work at all without black ink in his pen. And Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk would leave his house, walk around the block twice and then come back home to write.

Continue reading

Leaders Rock ‘n Roll with Feeling

Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to reinforce your sense ability and sensibility. Reading time: 3:58

      You’ve been stabbed in the back –politically. By a “friend.”  You’re hurt and confused.

      simon and garfunkelWho can you trust –if not a colleague you considered a friend?

A Rock
Feels No Pain

       You want to hide in your office. Slam the door shut (if you only had one). Shun everyone. Especially your so-called friends.

     An Island
Never Cries

      You’re angry!!! So angry you find yourself broiling and roiling in the frustration and swirling and whirling in the exasperation unleashed in Simon & Garfunkel song: I Am a Rock.

I have no need of friendship.
Friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

I am a rock. I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.

      In protecting themselves from frayed feelings between colleagues and friends, even the most effective leaders are tempted to hide behind a rock or bury their heads deep into the financial reports as author John Steinbeck observed in Grapes of Wrath.

      Steinbeck called the rock-hard, walled-off bosses in their offices — “owner men.”  They “worshipped” their data, reports etc. because those hard numbers “mathematics” provided a “refuge from thought and from feeling.”

     But the leader in you knows better: Feelings are the foundation of leadership. Even raw feelings. You can’t lead without trust and you can’t trust without feeling. Continue reading