Season 2: Episode 6 Emotional Intelligence at Work

Small business is at the heart of the Texas Economy.

The past 18 months have been hard. How you show up as a boss and how you support and build your team is more important than ever. This week we look at the subject of Emotional Intelligence, in a deep-dive with our Dallas based Emotional Intelligence expert, Marcel Brunel of The Brunel Group. 

If a crisis persists and grows, like Covid, so should your empathy as a leader.

Moments like this test us. We see in real-time what our capacity for resilience, vision and empathy is. Forced to navigate these waters, we’re squared off at the helm of this pandemic storm… and we’re being called upon to answer this question:

Are you are the leader you would want to be in the face of adversity?

Marcel’s experience working with teams in moments of great shift means he’s able to tackle the topic of Emotional Intelligence in an accessible way and he’s here to introduce you to the tools and concepts you will need to dig in and begin the work. You owe it to yourself and your business to grow your EQ in these challenging times.

This episode of Emerging Texas Strong is sponsored by Texas Mutual Insurance Company, a leading worker’s comp provider in Texas, and is a production of Earnest Media.  If you are interested in sponsoring a heartful podcast focused on the journey of Texas business owners for a focused market audience email,

Episode 6 Guests:

Marcel Brunel, The Brunel Group

Texas Mutual Insurance Company


TXMI Commercial: 00:00 Support for the Emerging Texas Strong podcast comes from Texas Mutual Insurance company. A workers’ comp provider committed to helping companies build a stronger, safer Texas.

Host Linsey Lin…: 00:10 On this episode of Emerging Texas Strong,

Marcel Brunel, …: 00:14 Every leader in Texas wants to wake up and do their best work. And then people get involved, right? It all looks good on paper until people get involved. And then all of a sudden there’s people and there’s pressure. And then all of a sudden there’s a difference in the personality. Okay. What do we do now? How do we respond? How do I stay in that conversation?

Host Linsey Lin…: 00:41 Welcome back to Emerging Texas Strong, a growing collection of stories, lessons, and advice from small business owners in Texas, working hard to survive this pandemic economy. We follow collection of businesses and weave their stories together as we navigate a full season of big picture topics like Disruptions in the Supply Chain, Why Texas? and The Business of Bringing Business Back to the Office. The past 18 months have been hard. How you show up as a boss and how you support and build your team is more important than ever this week. We look at the subject of emotional intelligence in a deep dive with our Dallas based emotional intelligence expert, Marcel Brunel of The Brunel Group. If a crisis persists and grows like COVID, so should your empathy as a leader. Moments like this test us. We see in real time what our capacity for resilience, vision and empathy is forced to navigate these waters. We’re squared off at the helm of this pandemic storm. And we’re being called upon to answer this question: are you the leader that you would want to be in the face of adversity? Marcel’s experience working with teams in moments of great shift means he’s able to tackle the topic of emotional intelligence in an accessible way. And he’s here to introduce you to the tools and concepts you will need to dig in and begin the work. You owe it to yourself and your business to grow your EEQ in these challenging times.

Speaker 2: 02:23 Hi, I’m Marcel Brunel. I’m the president and founder of Brunel Group out of Dallas, Texas and we do three things really, really well. One thing is team development. When a new leader gets a new team, we can really help that team leader be insightful as to what she or he has talent wise. The second thing we do really well is conflict resolution teams trying to pull together, or maybe when teams are pulling apart. The third thing we do is infusing emotional intelligence into policing, into their approach, into the way they make decisions and solve problems and build relationships. So that’s what we do.

Linsey Lindberg…: 03:05 Can you give a description of what emotional intelligence is?

Marcel Brunel, …: 03:09 There’s a lot of school of thoughts around emotional intelligence. Let’s take a little bit of a journey back. The first time we heard the term emotional quotient was 1985 and a gentleman by the name of Barone pointing the term in 1985, emotional quotient moving forward. It really didn’t have a platform in the business world. It was still very much IQ. What was your GPA? What school did you go to? Do you have your master’s? Are you working on your PhD? Very, very IQ. Emotional intelligence is really four things. The first diameter of emotional intelligence is self-awareness self-awareness am I aware of my own emotions? My own triggers. The second level would be, oh, well, now that I’m emotional, I’m aware of my own triggers and my own emotions. Could I be aware of other people’s emotions? So step two would be others’ emotions. Now, level three is can you lead people who are not like you? Can you work with people? Could you step into somebody’s conversational styles? That’s different from yours. So level three is, can I adapt and adjust my personality and my behaviors to stay in the conversation? Level four, do you care? Right. So many people, they know what to do, but guess what? They’re like, you know what? I’ve been here a long time. I’ve earned the right to be grumpy. I’ve heard people say that I’ve earned the right to be grumpy. I’ve heard people say I’m 65. I’m mature. And I come in saying no, no, no, no, no. Just because you’re 65 does not mean you’re mature. Just because you have 13 children, doesn’t make you a better parent because I’ve only got three children. If I sat in a cave for six years, would that make me a geologist? But you’ll hear people say in the business world, when we asked them to get better, Hey, we need you to get better. And they say this phrase, it’s the, it’s the number one cop-out, “but this is just who I am.” Oh, that’s awesome. So I’m paying you a base salary to be just who you are. No, I’m actually paying you an amazing salary for you to be better than who you are. And that’s why you gladly take the base salary. I gladly give it to you. You gladly take it twice a month and I’ve never given you the base salary. It’s 75%, 80%, 85% because you would what you’d say, what’s the deal. How come I got gypped? But when we have emotional intelligence in the self-awareness role, in the others’ awareness, the leader is able to tune their personality down and tune their personality up to meet people where they need to be met. Now I’ve got to tap into two things in my willing to do it, and am I able to do it? And that’s the ultimate level four of emotional intelligence. It’s when I know how to step into Lindsey’s communication preference and I’m willing to do it. And the second thing is I’m able emotional intelligence, every single thing about emotion, intelligence can be taught. You can teach empathy. I can teach people how to be collaborative. I can teach people how to be sociable. All of the qualities of emotional intelligence can be taught, but the individual has to be willing and able. And as the, as the coach, I can only get 49%. And I can’t boss that. That’s the number one thing I can’t boss you to want to be more emotionally intelligent. That’s why I have to stay at 49%. And you have to give the 51%. There’s three things you can’t boss love, passion, and want to. And boy, I wish I could coach want to.You may know why to do it when to do it, how to do it, but you’re not going to do it. And unless you want to, and there we go. So those, those would be abroad, a parameter around what is emotional intelligence. You know, you can be soft on the people and hard on the problem. Let’s practice that, you know, you can be hard on the process and soft on the people. Let’s put together some techniques of what that looks like. You know, there is a word out there called empathy. There’s a word out there called patients. And sometimes they’re not even in their awareness. And once it’s in that person’s awareness, they can start to see the situation differently. The biggest thing that we can do with somebody with low emotional intelligence, just to give them two things, allow them to see things differently and respond differently. Those are the two things I’m in total control of. We are survival machines. We wake up in the morning and we all want to do our best work. And nobody makes mistakes on purpose. Nobody I’ve, I’ve, I’ve raised three children with my wife of 25 years and I’ve made numerous mistakes. I made lots of mistakes out of love. Every leader in Texas wants to wake up and do their best work. And then people get involved, right? It all looks good on paper until people get involved. And then all of a sudden there’s people and there’s pressure. And then all of a sudden there’s a difference in the personality. Okay. What do we do now? How do we respond?

Linsey Lindberg…: 08:46 How do we start looking forward and remembering that this is not going to be done in six months, just because have a vaccine. So here’s, here’s kind of the question that I have wrapped around this. Let’s presume that effects of the pandemic. Don’t just finish on some arbitrary date and that there’s some kind of on-off switch. The effects will have a long tail. So can you explain why it will be important to continue to grow your EQ skills? And so that it’s not just a one and done type of development need.

Marcel Brunel, …: 09:17 Sometimes when you work with a company or an individual or a team, and they have just the right amount of people, they have just this much time and they have just this much budget and they say, make it the most unbelievable thing they’ve ever done when it comes to emotional intelligence. And then you say, okay, what’s part two. Yeah. We’re not really thinking about that right now. We just need to fix this. We just need to get this accomplished. And so a one type of an implementation, we call that an installment is effective. You will get a blip in the results, but what we also know, and this is a big, big deal in my industry, nothing is fully learned until it’s fully applied. So if this pandemic has a long tail effect that goes on for years ahead of us, why would it be important for me to continue in the evolution of my emotional intelligence? Because it’s the number one thing you can influence and it doesn’t cost any money. I think the other thing too is when you looked at emotional intelligence, I remember about 17 years ago, the best coach I ever got was from a vice-president and we were getting ready to go see the president. And she didn’t, she didn’t like push me up against the wall, but she did kind of slow me down before we opened the door and she goes, I need one battery, Marcel. I don’t need four. I don’t need three. I don’t need two. I need you to talk with one battery. I need you to write your responses with one battery. I need you to get up, walk away, and I need you to come in and sit down with one battery. And then she said, this, are you strong enough to do that? And that’s where this comes into. Are we strong enough? Does our, does our caring of wanting to be a better person in this situation to allow people to meet them where they need to be met in the moment only we can do that. And again, you may know why, and you may know when, and you may know how, but no one’s going to do that until they, until they want to. And so even at the purest level, when the emotions are running strong and the opinions bear, the stakes get high, that’s when we really need to be mindful of that principle before the personality of be soft on the people part on the problem

TXMI Commercial: 11:55 Support for this program comes from Texas Mutual Insurance company, a safety focus workers’ comp provider, supplying information and resources that can help Texas employers stop accidents before they happen more at And now back to our show,

Linsey Lindberg…: 12:14 That was a really good example. I think the battery example really made me kind of understand what you were saying about being willing to do it, like the difference between knowing it and being willing, being willing to do it. So that was really great. One of the reasons I thought E Q was such an important topic to cover, especially right now is the fact that, uh, you know, the quote be kind always for everyone is fighting a silent battle. You know, nothing about, I feel like now that literally should be plastered on everyone’s chest. I feel like we need to remember that for each person that we encounter. What I’m even thinking about is all of the people who are working from home. And we’re maxed out at our ability to absorb and adjust in a healthy way. Sometimes, you know, you, you’re trying to put on the guys of my one hour, zoom call is calm and cool and collected, and I’m here to give a hundred percent to my team and do everything I need, and at the same time you’re kicking the kids under the table. And you’re, you’re shooting daggers at your neighbors because they’re slamming the doors. And, and you’re worried about if your kid is doing their homework. I mean, I think that there are so many additional internal stressors of life and work. How do we not just as leaders, but also as coworkers within, as bosses who become very worried is my, is my team even working? Are they at home watching Netflix? Are they, do they care anymore? They just collecting a paycheck. You know, what, what kinds of advice do you have for using EQ to approach this moment?

Marcel Brunel, …: 14:00 You know, when you’re the leader and that, that eerie feeling kicks in on, I wonder if they’re working as hard as I am. When you’re the leader, you kind of ask yourself, I wonder if they understand the heat that I’m feeling, because we may not have enough money for payroll. And when you’re the leader, you sit at your desk and nobody else in the company has this chair, but there’s a furnace that sits under your chair. And it it’s a fire that hits your feet. Nobody else gets that. Maybe the CFO, most people in a company, besides the owner, besides the founder, besides the president, besides the CEO, has this furnace where budgets might be off profit might be down. Uh, revenue might not be as long as it’s strong as was in 2019. I think when we talk about the number one thing that comes there, it’s it’s mindset and mindset is so powerful because when mindset kind of occurs, it comes from the idea of protecting our identity, our purpose, right? Our mission, our values of the company. And so I go to this word called intentionality intentionality. What are your intentions when you share these questions? And so I think a leader is really about that. It’s about asking really amazing questions. It’s not about telling me it’s about asking me. And that’s what leadership really is about two things, skillful and purposeful questions you can come in and tell them what to do. Yes, yes, yes. Work harder. Turn your camera on, on zoom. Do not have your cell phone on all those things that people know. And now you’re telling me, so there’s another approach that might be why tell them what you can ask them. And so when you take that approach of you being the one to ask the questions, Hey, if everybody behaved this way, what would the zoom call be like? Oh, I know, I know. I know. But I think another thing too is when you say about the, the morale of a team during COVID, the number one thing we can do as leaders is give them focus, focus, builds faith, faith builds fire. So anytime somebody brings me in and they say, Hey, we’ve got low morale. We’re not sure if the people are even working. The number one thing we can do is give people focus, focus. We’re going to focus on these two things like a dog on a sock, as an airborne ranger. We used to say the main thing is that the main thing remains the main thing. And the main thing is this. It was the main thing. There was nothing else that would distract me. We were focused. And the main thing is to remain the main thing. And the main thing is this focus, the number two thing it gives the employee is a little faith. Hey, we can do this. We can do this in this environment. We can do this in this medium. We can do this hybrid. We can do this. Face-to-face we can do this all online. And that’s, that’s the switch. So when a police officer says, man, I’ve had to implement community policing with a mask on, at six feet. What should I do the next right thing? When a teacher says, I’ve only got five students at a 55 in my classroom, the other 50 are online and I can see their screen that they’re looking at something else besides me, what do I do the next right thing? It’ll always be the next right thing. This is about the idea that we are survival machines, but it goes back to, it goes back to giving them focus, giving them some faith. And that’s what builds that fire, the idea of people working together. What are the three biggest problems that people working together, people working together and that’s right. It just kind of happens that way. And now we all start to have our laments. We all start to have our preferences. I don’t really like this. And I’m, I’ve got tired eyes. Okay? Acknowledged, acknowledged. Now, what are we going to do? What’s our way forward. And usually, usually the obstacle becomes that way forward. So anytime an executive sees an obstacle, chances are that’s, what’s going to be the way forward. The obstacle can become the way forward. But we, we, as the leader, we have to be courageous. We have to be resilient. And the definition of resilience is the intelligent regulation of your emotional energy. Let’s break that down. The intelligent regulation, it means that the leader only has so much energy throughout the day. Intelligent regulation of your emotional. What’s an emotion, a thought with an emotion, a thought with a feeling that’s what emotion is a thought with a feeling. So have you ever had somebody describe a car accident by 20 different people? You get 20 different car accidents because everybody saw it differently. As a leader, we have to make sure we’re seeing the situation correctly. We’re seeing the situation completely. So give them focus, give them some faith. And then that builds the buyer, the buyer, to get this thing, we call discretionary effort, them doing a little bit extra without getting paid. And that’s why Southwest airlines in Texas is revered for the culture because they celebrate. They recognize they appreciate. And then they do what they protect that culture. 60,000 people strong all throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, every day, they just ask their employees one thing, make one good decision. Why? So that way today we get 60,000 good decisions. And so without, without that faith, without that focus, without that fire, what am I going to do? I might lament. I might complain. I might slack off. Absolutely. How do I bring them back? I have to get them to recommit reconnect. And reinspire, it’s not about proximity anymore. I don’t have my team around me. My team is not in location. So what does that mean? It means connectivity. There’s not a chance in the world that you’re going to control your entire team the way you want them to behave. Therefore you don’t have to change. That’s why it’s called situational identity development. I can only control two things the way I see it. And the way I respond, I can’t control the things on the outside. The only things I can control are the invisible things on the inside that create that visible. So we got a big task as leaders, but I think the main thing that we can really help people think through is the idea of their mindset and their skillset that makes their craft. And so if this pandemic lasts for a long, long time, emotional intelligence can be the difference that makes the difference and people working together. And so the idea of successive approximation getting a little bit better, just like that bee the bee wakes up defies gravity. Shouldn’t be able to fly and goes and builds a beehive. Not all at one time, not all in one day, a little bit over time. Successive approximation Lindsey will get better over time in time, through time, over time. And it’s the idea that if I do get better, if I know better, I can do better know better, do better, but knowledge doesn’t always equal behavior. I’m going to have to do some things I’ve never done. It’s a continuous learning journey. And if you don’t want to learn any more than just call yourself post peak there’s terms for that, you’re in the business world and the last, you know, they, they, they’ve got two years left in their career. They just want to get out, just let me go. Just give me my retirement. And they call them post peak. And that means the best day they’ve ever had in their job was two years ago. Well, how do I ensure that my employees best day in my company is out ahead of me. I got to get them to grow, grow as they go. Just because you’ve been here for 30 years, doesn’t mean you’re good. There’s so many times when I work with people, they confuse longevity with competency. No, you’re actually not very competent. You’ve actually been doing it like one year, 29 years in a row. And nobody ever gave you any coaching along the way. So you’ve gotten really good at doing this really badly and they don’t ever want to hear that. But if they’re willing and if they’re honest and if they’re open, then where we start has no determination where we come out. Not one, that’s the best news you can start today. And it has no bearing on where you come out. You can be 53 like me, and just start learning about empathy and be amazing in that department. Why? Because no, one’s looking for perfection. The only thing we’re looking for is progress. Just give me a little progress, not perfection. Let’s give you that autonomy and that purpose and that mastery. So it’s an awesome, I love it. I love helping people uncover that, that the habits of, of emotional intelligence, because habits stronger than reason and they may know why to do it, but habit is stronger than reason. And then we go right back to right back to the circle. So that’s kind of some thoughts on that.

Host Linsey Lin…: 24:05 Thank you for joining us on this episode of Emerging Texas Strong. Let’s take a second and review a few things that might be useful to you from this episode. The four core emotional intelligence skills are interconnected with each other. Number one self-awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your strengths, limitations, and emotions, and to be able to monitor them in real time. This includes staying aware of how you respond in challenging situations and with difficult people, self-awareness displays both a healthy self-confidence and a humility that is open to feedback and the perspectives of others. Number two, social awareness. This is your ability to connect with individuals through empathy. Many times, this means being able to read what other people are feeling behind what they’re saying, or maybe not saying, even though you might not think or feel the same way they do this skill helps us connect with people and build trust in our relationships. Social awareness allows us to be able to read the emotional mood of the room. Number three, social management is your ability to use your emotional awareness, both personal and social to manage relational interactions with other successfully strong social management allows us to relate with others in stressful situations, but with a non-anxious presence skills like managing difficult conversations, using clear and direct communication and providing timely and constructive feedback. Number four self-management is your ability to act upon and effectively manage your self-awareness. You can only control what you can see self-management demonstrates emotional self-control. It also takes the initiative to develop your strengths, manage your weaknesses, handle stress, display, healthy assertiveness, and positively direct your behavior and emotional reactions in challenging situations. And with challenging people in a nutshell, emotional intelligence is learning to focus on you while you focus on others. Speaking of which, if you have enjoyed this podcast or found it useful, please share an episode with a friend. We want to grow Emerging Texas Strong as a free resource for business owners. So send it to someone who could use these lessons to be happier and healthier business owners. Join us next time for episode seven, a follow-up on the hospitality sector in Texas, where we’ll circle back with some of our hospitality businesses from season one and ask them how was the big summer and did it fix all the ills of the last 12 months podcast production interviews, edits, sound design, and office snacks for the Emerging Texas Strong podcasts are done by Linsey Lindberg. Bios and business information for all guests featured in season two can be found on emerging Texas If you’d like to learn more about the executive team coaching, Marcel Brunel offers, you can find links to his business page on our website, find out how you can work with him and support Texas small business to share the hope, the journey, the struggles, and the advice. Be sure to follow, like rate and subscribe to Emerging Texas Strong on the web so that each episode shows up directly in your podcast feed. And if you’re enjoying the show and want to show us some love, you share can leave us a five star review. It will help more people find us, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn @emergingtexasstrong or Twitter @Texasstrongpod, where I’ll be posting ways to connect with some of our guests and gems from episode six mentioned in today’s show. And if you’d like to be interviewed, you can reach me at Emerging Texas Strong is a production of Earnest Media. If you are interested in sponsoring a heart-full podcast, focused on the journey of Texas business owners for a focused market audience, we’d love that email contact and emerging Texas And remember, you’ve got a friend somewhere in Texas, who’s rooting for you. I’m your host, Linsey Lindberg. Join us next time for more stories of Texas small business on Emerging Texas Strong.

TXMI Commercial: 28:37 Support for the Emerging Texas Strong podcast comes from Texas Mutual Insurance company, a workers’ comp provider committed to helping companies build a stronger, safer Texas.

Marcel Brunel, …: 28:47 No you’ve been been wonderful. I really appreciate all of the passion and the VIM and the vigor that you just put into the universe too much. No, I liked all your batteries. That was good. This room is full of hot air.

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