Applying the 5 Skills of Emotional Intelligence to the Holidays


Our memories of the holidays span the range from spectacularly fabulous to horrifically awful. At least four weeks every year we are thrust into adding to our file of memories. Your file includes the year you:

  • Received your bike, or didn’t.
  • First lit the menorah candles or put bulbs on the tree.
  • Watched your host dropped the turkey as she took it out of the oven.
  • Accepted a marriage proposal.
  • Looked forward to your baby’s birth.
  • Were changed by the miracle of Hanukkah or the birth of the Savior.
  • Had plenty of money for gifts and the year you did not.
  • Held your first grandchild.

Your file grows every year.

You will add to your holiday memories file again this year. Like so much of life, we often let the holidays just happen to us. As leaders – in your life, your organization, and your family – now is a great time to use and grow your emotional intelligence, and purposely create your memories.

Leadership Skill: Lead through the holidays.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) has been embraced in the business world as a significant predictor of success, significantly more important than competencies or IQ. The skills of EQ are:

Self-awareness. Everything you see, hear, touch, smell, and taste elicits an emotional response. Pay attention to how you feel when you are immersed in the details of putting together the holiday party, or buying gifts, or hearing “that” song.

Self-regulation. The intensity of feelings or the sheer volume of them can flood you with stress hormones and invite you to become aggressive or emotionally distant. Discover and use tools that specifically elicit a relaxation response for you – a shorter to-do list, cheery holiday song, a warm holiday drink, or maybe a conversation with someone who cares.

Motivation. The key to creating your holiday memories is knowing ultimately what you want.

– Less stress?

– More time with family?

– Spiritual renewal?

– Beautiful pictures?

– No weight gain?

When feelings threaten to derail what you want, remember that you have self-regulation tools to get you back on track.

Empathy. Knowing your feelings, how to regulate them, and what is motivating you, leads you to reach out to others to co-create what you want. You find yourself connecting more genuinely with others because you need their collaboration to successfully create what you want.

Social skills. EQ is the catalyst to nurturing positive, effective relationships that naturally create the holiday memories that you want, while at the same time helping others to do the same.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, leading through the holidays?

When considering your levels of holiday self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills, I urge you to cut yourself and others some slack. EQ can grow through emotionally messy times like the holidays and the skills that you acquire will serve you and those you lead as you jump into the emotional messiness of 2019.

Happy holidays.

Posted on December 12, 2018 in Leadership