Being “smart” at work will only get you so far now days. If you truly want to get ahead and make a mark in your industry, you need to be aware of who you are and the impact of what you do. Often this is referred to as Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Stop rolling your eyes. Before you prejudge EQ as watching “chick flicks” and becoming one with the universe, just read this. What type of leader is more successful? The one who yells when under stress or the one who can calmly assess a situation and lead with a sense of confidence and not fear?

Psychologist Daniel Goleman popularized the movement in the 90’s and stated there are five key areas of EQ.

  1. Self Awareness
  2. Self Regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

While theory is great to learn and discuss, I find more value in everyday application. How does EQ help me in my storage business?

Variety of Feelings

If you’re like me, a guy, our expression of feelings consist of happy, sad, mad, glad, and hungry. Beyond that we are emotional 2x4’s. How much more of an effective leader could you be in your position if you could describe and emulate your feelings better. No longer would people be guessing if you are truly grateful for their work. No longer would they wonder what “mood is he in today?”. There will be no question because what you are feeling and what you are relaying to people are the same. Your effectiveness as a leader will sky rocket.

I'm Sorry

It is hard to admit you are wrong. Being in a leadership position, people look to you for the answers and you always need to be right. Right? No. If you can admit you are flawed and not a perfect leader you open a side of you that shows your humanity and how truly strong you are. It's not easy to admit you are wrong, or to apologize. It is much easier to stick to your guns at all costs. However, when you do that, who really wins? You don’t, and the person who needs the apology really doesn’t. Nobody wins when your ego is the most important thing in the room.

Serve and Grow

Many years ago when I started my journey of leadership, I was focused solely on my success. I used people to benefit me and paid little attention to helping or growing them. Over time and a few painful lessons later, I discovered my error in thinking and began to focus on others' success. My joy in leadership changed as I found fulfillment in helping others and finding success for them. As a byproduct of such, my personal success grew because of the relationships I had with the others around me. If I had continued with the fixed mindset of “me first”, I would have never found the personal success I did. Not only the success of the world but the intrinsic success that made me care about what I did.

Empathy

Empathy is the foundation of EQ. Storage is filled with opportunities to provide empathy to customers. Every customer has a story or something that is happening in their lives. If you have been in storage any length of time you know and have heard countless heart-wrenching stories.

The empathy we have for customers should also be extended to others around us. Leadership and management is one of the most difficult positions you will ever have. That is why a truly exceptional manager or leader is so rare. We have all worked for or have had people in our lives who exhibited behaviors that made us want to follow them.

What is it that made them so unique? When all the values have been boiled away it comes down to the ability to have empathy for others. Empathy gives you the ability to understand the other person's thoughts and feelings from their point of view. If you were under a leader who exhibited that how could you not do anything but follow them?

While this article isn’t about dollar move-in specials or the importance of competitive shopping, it's probably one of the most relevant to your business. When you develop EQ you are someone with a vision that empowers and develops others to make decisions that focuses on results. Because you care about coaching them to success. If that doesn’t rent more units no move-in special ever will.


Rick Beal

Rick Beal is Vice President of Development and Management at Easy Storage Solutions where he spearheads the consulting and third-party management division. Due to his fresh and innovative ideas, he is a frequently sought after speaker and consultant. His goal is to help a historically slow-changing industry embrace new, more profitable ideas. His motto is, “Storage is a business of inches not miles.”