Archives For EI

Emotional Leadership

Steve Gutzler —  January 21, 2014 — 1 Comment

Space Needle 12th Man

I was recently privileged to be invited by a close friend to a Seahawk game. We were taken in style by a town car with a distinguished driver. My friend John greeted me with an enthusiastic smile and contagious attitude… “It’s going to be great Steve!” I couldn’t help but to “jump on” the good feelings and be swept in with the fun awaiting us.

How easily we catch a leader’s emotional state, has to do with how expressively their faces, voices, and gestures convey their feelings.

It’s not just Seahawk games ~its the game of leadership. The greater a leader’s skills at transmitting emotions, the more forcefully the emotions will spread.


  • People pay close attention to a leader, even subtle expressions of emotions can have a big impact.

  • How well you express your enthusiasm ~ the more readily others feel that same contagious passion.

Leadership is a skill, a craft that is learned. Leaders who display the right emotional leadership become magnets; people naturally gravitate to them. When you think about the leaders with whom people most want to work in organizations, they probably have the ability to exude upbeat feelings.

Research has proven it: optimistic, enthusiastic leaders more easily retain their people and build effective teams.

How can you display the right kind of emotional exchange today? Be a great emotional influence this week?

2014 Can be a great year to take your team through an Emotional Intelligence training! For information on keynote presentations, team workshops, and one on one coaching, contact Steve at:


Steve at Game

Go Hawks!


Space Needle photo credit:

“My mother always washed our whites twice- the Whitest of Whites”
–Gene Juarez

Being from Seattle there are several iconic landmarks, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and of course the boathouses like the one from Sleepless in Seattle.


We also have some pretty powerful icons, Microsoft, Boeing and, ahh, Starbucks. I am proud and humbled to say each of those are valued clients of mine. I’ve trained teams and built extraordinary relationships with some spectacular leaders from those successful world-class companies.

If you are from the Seattle area, there is another name that might stand out to you, Gene Juarez, Salons and Spas. It is the place for hair design, personal style and the promotion of well being.

A couple years ago I was privileged to emcee at an amazing event where the founder of these salons was speaking. None other than Gene Juarez himself.

Gene came from humble beginnings. In 1971, he started his business with his imagination, his dreams and a handful of rich values passed down from his parents and his culture.

I would like to focus on three points that stood out to me in his message and really impacted me. I was there scribbling down these points while he spoke and wish to now share them with you.

Imagine how values drive your success:

Value #1: Chop Wood and Carry Water- Work-Ethic

Kind of a working-man version of “get to work!” his parents taught him the value of personal drive. He said his parents would often tell him that no one works harder than the Juarezes! Gene said “No matter how tough the economy is, if you out-work your competition, you can succeed”


Value #2: Whitest of Whites- Excellence

Like I mentioned, Gene’s family came from modest means. His mother washed their clothes in a wash barrel, scrubbing each article by hand. She always washed and bleached the whites two times, even though it was twice as much work. It was a matter of pride and excellence to look your best. This is so clearly reflected in his salons and spas today; when you walk into a Gene Juarez, it sparkles with excellence!



Value #3: Woman in the Mirror- Service

I love this one! Gene related to us at the event how when cutting a woman’s hair he would ask her questions about how she wanted to look. He would study her eyes. Eyes, he said, are the gateway to the soul. She would either turn and speak to him in mild, timid ways, or she would look down and not feel pretty or confident. Sometimes the woman would look confidently in the mirror and express her desires. The key Gene said, was to study her eyes, her body language. His goal was to meet individual needs, to make her feel beautiful. It was attention to their personal feelings about themselves that set his service apart! Personal and powerful! When they stepped out of that chair, away from the woman in the mirror, he wanted them to feel extraordinary about themselves.



  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your work-ethic of late?

No matter what you do, cut hair, sell insurance, lay tile, freelance write, own a small business, or work for a large corporation, work ethic is number 1.

I coach all my clients to blueprint out their week. Work hard on things that matter! Get away from what I call “fake work,” those trivial pursuits, those endless hours on twitter and Facebook. Instead, get busy on your “high-value accomplishments.” You’ll soon see greater results and profits!

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your Excellence?

It starts with appearance and moves to your craft. Look good and perform your best. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but strive for excellence. No one is inspired by low expectations so expect the best from yourself! Do excellent work, eat excellent food, read excellent books, spend time with excellent people. Excellence- make it your new mantra!

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your Service?

My dad operated a family restaurant for nearly 30 years. He always told his employees and his children, “Treat everyone like a 10. There are no no-counts that come into our restaurant.” Treat everyone like royalty. Do the extras, give them extra and you will hear those magic words “I’ll be back!”


As you head into a new business cycle, imagine and commit to a new level of supreme values personally and professionally. You will see greater results, rewards, and profits!

Who knows, some day you may become a city icon



Contact Steve:

“Excuse me, Steve, we are not burn victims, we are survivors!

I don’t know where it comes from because for the most part I have a wonderful life. Not a Jimmy Stewart, Wonderful Life, but a darn good one. Which makes it even more perplexing and even downright frustrating that I find myself having pity parties. Poor me. Too much work. Too little recreation. I invite me, myself, and I into a little room of pity.

About a year ago, I was in one of these pity-parties and it lasted nearly a month! At the end of that month I had been invited to go on a river rafting trip with a non-profit group. Their inspiring mission was to take at-risk or disadvantaged teens on a “four day experience” to discover adventure and be inspired. They asked if I would lead the group through a series of topics on personal vision, life dreams and how to set stretch goals. I agreed. But when I arrived in the parking lot to board the bus, I was startled to find out that instead of at-risk or disadvantaged teens, I was traveling on a trip with burn victims. Burn victims… I had never been around burn victims. I watched one-by-one as these people arrived. Some of these beautiful people had been physically transformed by their burn wounds. Some had 30% burns over their body. Some had scars covering 90-95%.

That Sunday morning in August finally ended my little “play small” pity party.

The next four days were breath-taking. Defining. Inspiring. The first day together, I spoke to them about discovering “their inspiring vision.” I mentioned how inspired and moved I was as I witnessed their courage and strength on the river and in the trip. I referred to them as “burn victims.” Right as I said this, a young man in his twenties raised his hand and said:

“Excuse me, Steve, we are not victims. We are survivors!”

I was taken back, “survivors,” “survivors.” Suddenly, I realized, he was right! No matter what the trauma, tragedy, or turbulence in our lives we have a choice. We can be either victims, which forever binds us to the event, removes our energy, and prevents us from forward movement. Or we can be survivors: people who have conquered the event, who have chosen to be bigger than event, and move forward with their life after the event. Playing Big is about being a survivor! It is about taking control of your life in times of hardship and choosing to move forward. Playing Big is refusing to allow the event to be your life, but rather recognizing it as a part of your life.

Here are a few lessons I learned from those extraordinary Burn Survivors who are choosing to PLAY BIG:

  1. Playing Small is choosing to be the “victim”
  2. Playing Big is choosing to be the “survivor”
  3. Playing Small is saying “I can’t”
  4. Playing Big is saying “I will”
  5. Playing Small is having negative self-talk
  6. Playing Big is having optimism and a strong voice

Playing Big begins with a mindset. A mindset that even when we’ve been burned or hurt or failed, we can continue on. We can turn scars into stars. It builds an emotional and spiritual capacity to play at our best and enables us to shake ourselves from a victim mentality. One of the natural leaders in the group, Rob, flies down each month to a military burn unit in San Antonio and meets with young soldiers who have been burned in combat. He encourages them. He listens to them. He weeps with them. He prays with them. He inspires them to be survivors.

We should all be Play Big Survivors!

Playing Big Tips:

  • Practice Appreciation
  • Look at your “defining moments” as not a time where you were lessened but as a time where you were recast for greatness
  • Thank God for health
  • Look to light the spirit within someone today
  • Remember giving is special and it also begins the receiving process