Archives For behavior

What makes a Good Leader?

Steve Gutzler —  January 14, 2014 — 2 Comments

State Library of Vicotoria

“Gaining trust and building teams is hardest”

Good Leaders tend to produce more good leaders.

Quick List of Valued Qualities in Good Leaders:
1. Adapts quickly to new situations; can handle bad news
2. Gives useful feedback; sets high ethical tone
3. Is positive, encouraging, and realistically optimistic

Not too long ago, I was speaking at a large Microsoft Leadership Development Day and gave an opening example of what makes a good leader. I had read a report that asked that very same question by the Army War College in a study of highly regarded major generals in Iraq.
Below are the responses in order of importance:Good leaders produce more good leaders

  • Keeps cool under pressure
  • Clearly explains mission, standards and priorities
  • Sees the big picture; provides context and perspective
  • Makes tough, sound decisions on time

The study showed that even when tactical and technical competencies are excellent, interpersonal skills are critical. One of the authors of the study, retired General Walter Ulmer, said: “One thing we found is it’s still easier to teach technical skills than to teach people how to gain trust and build teams.” Ulmer also noted that many key behaviors are learned by example; therefore good leaders are able to create more good leaders.

I looked at every one of those leaders in that room at Microsoft and said “Look your technical skills and tactical abilities got you into the game. Now, how successful you’ll become will be determined by your ability to harness effective Emotional Intelligence and Play Big!”

Playing Big and Building your Leadership
The stuff that leaders are made of:

  • Emotional Self-Awareness:
    • Stays Calm Under pressure
  • Empathy
    • Is aware of other’s moods
    • Is a good listener
  • Personal Drive
    • Is energetic
    • Is goal oriented
  • Optimism
    • Handles set-backs effectively
    • Had a positive outlook
  • Coaches Others
    • Is a good mentor
    • Gives clear feedback
  • Authenticity
    • Honest and open when presenting one’s self to others
    • Builds trust through actions
  • Communication
    • Gives adequate instruction
    • Doesn’t personalize disagreements
  • Impulse Control
    • Rarely acts impulsively
    • Maintains sense of humor under stress
  • Adaptability
    • Is open to change
    • Is effective through change

One thing I’ve learned about “Playing Big” and leadership throughout my life is that successful application of these skills is not something that happens instantly. But, with even a little improvement in one department, performance goes up, effectiveness goes up, and personal leadership goes up. That is why it is called “PLAYING BIG!”

Emotional Intelligence and Play Big-
How we handle ourselves and our relationships can determine life successes more than IQ.

THIS WEEK: Pick one of the above competencies and practice it. Observe the differences your deliberate practice will make in your life at work and at home!


For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at:


My pockets would jingle with coins as I crammed myself into a little tiny phone booth near my house. We had to limit our conversations to 10 minutes. Now, fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. I recently received another letter. This one was not a love letter. Instead, it was a critical business letter. It was three pages exactly, single spaced, typed. This letter was full of high-voltage, in your face, no holding back emotion. There’s no need to go into the gory details so let’s just say that there was some truth in the letter but mostly it was over the top.

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UNDERSTAnding the power of your emotions, accepting that they drive your behaviors, and learning to use your self-awareness to build an extraordinary life.



“Plan an emotional re-charge into your day by eating healthy and listening to your inspirational music” –Steve Gutzler

Over ten years ago I became a student of Emotional Intelligence which led to my participation in a four-day training workshop on the fascinating subject. I’ll never forget the first day. It was the day that entirely changed my understanding of leadership, relationships, and life.  The instructor was discussing the topic of emotions and their relationship to our lives. Then, he calmly stated: “Emotions drive behavior.”

For the first time, the words sunk in and stuck.

He then opened the workshop up for discussion and I considered the thoughts: “What about my values?” and “What about my faith?” and, suddenly, “I’m not just a jumbled ball of emotions!” I was feeling hot and frustrated by the instructor’s statement. I was wound up! I was going to prove him wrong. I could feel my temperature beginning to rise, my heart rate begin to quicken, my palms dampen, my lip protest from being bitten, my brow furrow. The instructor spotted me. He pointed out that I seemed to have a strong opinion on the discussion topic. Suddenly, I realized I had become… dare I say it… emotional!

What I learned that day was that my emotions are driving my behaviors. While there are other parts of our lives that are important to us, we need to realize that we are emotional about those elements, which is why they are important to us. My emotional, spiritual, and physical are all intertwined. They each affect each other and, in turn, can affect us and our behaviors.

Not everything we do is driven by our emotions. Not every behavior is dictated by some emotional discharge in our brain. But the majority of our choice of words, our responses to life’s challenges, our performances (for good or bad) are driven by our emotions.

I’ve slowly moved to believe that the majority of my emotional, spiritual, and physical are linked. Every day I am working to be aware of myself and the effect of my actions and emotions on others. Since that workshop ten years ago I have developed my emotional intelligence. But it is a daily journey.

Even though I have been actively working on this for ten years, the other day I was very low on blood sugar because I had not eaten in over eight hours and sure enough it affected my behavior during a stressful meeting. After the meeting I grabbed a quick bite to eat and… Bingo! I suddenly felt enormously better and quickly realized, “Steve, when are you going to learn to stay fueled?” I could have simply snacked on something healthy before the meeting to restore my blood sugar and I would have been able to balance my emotions more effectively despite the intensity of the meeting. I would have had a different result entirely.

Play Big: Key Pointers

  • Be self-aware of emotions driving your behaviors
  • Eat more often- especially healthy snacks
  • Work on yourself first
  • Understand how emotions drive our behaviors
  • Watch you moods and attitudes, they are contagious

Play Big Training

Steve’s one day training on Emotional Intelligence for Extraordinary Leadership will transform your team’s effectiveness.

Harness the power of the Number 1 predictor of professional success and personal performance

  • Perfect for sales teams
  • Team organizations seeking better performance and results
  • Managers and leaders becoming effective in bringing out the best in the team
  • How to build fierce loyalty with customers using Emotional Intelligence

Contact Steve: