How CEO Josh Godknecht has used EQ to improve team dynamics and build better security leaders at Adamo Security Group
Working at Adamo has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Our mission, “Enriching people as we advance security,” is inspiring, and I love being a part of an organization that truly benefits other people. As in any business, there are challenges of course, but one tool that I’ve seen as extremely valuable in building a team and working toward our mission is emotional intelligence, or EQ. You can think of it like IQ, but for emotional competency instead of knowledge and mental skill competency. I’ve found that improving EQ is something that requires a lot of work and time investment, but I’ve seen its value time and again in our team’s dynamics.
And we’re not the only ones who’ve recognized its importance. More and more studies are revealing that our EQ at work and in all other areas of our lives significantly affects our overall health and success. In fact, Harvard Business Review had a great article on a study Google conducted within its own teams. The study revealed that the higher EQ a group had, the better it would perform.
Our EQ is a combination of our ability to identify our own feelings and manage those well, and our ability to recognize and empathize with the feelings of others. It’s primarily about our emotional awareness, availability and prowess in processing that information. EQ makes us more successful in all areas of our lives, not just work. That’s why we focus on EQ so much at Adamo. When we build strong security leaders, we enrich others AND we advance security simultaneously. The best part is that each team member can also improve their life outside of the Adamo community. It’s a win/win!
How does EQ make for a better security leader?
Imagine you’re in a meeting and someone can’t read the room, making others feel uncomfortable or angry or simply disengaged, but they can’t see that they are doing it. We’ve all been there, whether we saw someone do it—or we were the culprit! This is a classic example of an EQ missed opportunity.
In security, it’s no different. Many times, we call on our security professional to advise us on a procedure, rule or other point of expertise, and one of two things happens: One, they don’t know the answer, but in a surge of panic they end up relaying incorrect or other forms of unhelpful information. Or, two, they have the right information, but they can’t read the room to deliver it in the most effective way to the other types of personalities in the room.
Higher EQ transforms professionals from doers to leaders, from someone who knows their job to someone who can transfer the benefit of their knowledge to others. Having an understanding of your own personality and feelings as well as a basic understanding of others’ emotions makes you more effective in working in any team capacity.
How does one go about developing their EQ?
It always starts with awareness: being more aware of how you operate internally first, and then growing your awareness of others. At Adamo, we always start with a few basic assessment tests during the onboarding process. The three primary tools we utilize are Enneagram, Gallup’s CliftonStrengths and Myers-Briggs assessments. These tools help our leaders gain a great baseline understanding about our people very quickly. We glean things like: Are they a planner or reactor by nature? What motivates them? What type of bias are they uniquely wired to carry into every situation? How would we encourage them to “play to their strengths” in their chosen job description?
Assessments alone won’t be enough, though—I consider them more of a starting point to a lifelong journey of investing in your EQ. Books and mentors are also great for ongoing growth. A book I often recommend to people is Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. It categorizes EQ into several areas, and it explains each of them well. It also has an assessment test at the end that provides you with a good idea of where you are strong and where you can put some work in to grow your EQ.
Another simple way to work on your team’s EQ is to save time during meetings (whether virtual or in-person) for casual conversation and personal check-ins with employees. By knowing what’s going on in others’ lives, you can practice showing empathy for your teammates. In addition, checking in with yourself and learning to be aware of and manage your emotions is key in building your own EQ.
Over the last few years, since we’ve become intentional about growing our EQ at Adamo, we’ve heard comments from our customers, vendors and employees’ family members like, “Every single person I meet from Adamo is incredibly nice to work with” or “My spouse has changed for the better since they started working at Adamo.” I don’t think Adamo or any group of particular people actually deserve the credit for these things—it’s each individual who decides to put in the work of growing their own EQ. When all of those people come together as a team, the results are powerful! That is why I love being a part of what we do.
It’s obvious to me that when a person invests in their own emotional intelligence, everything in their world begins to get more positive. They begin to understand themselves and what makes them “tick.” From that understanding, we’re equipped to pay better attention to the needs of others around us and become a more impactful force for good. EQ makes us better people, better leaders, and together, we build better communities.