The Heart of Leadership

Freedman, Joshua

Joshua Freedman is the CEO and Founder of the World’s most extensive Emotional Intelligence organization. It is called 6 Seconds. You can get more information about it at He leads a network of 50,000 change makers teaching skills so that people are more intentional and more purposeful so that people and organizations do better. He is one of a handful of experts in the world with over a decade of full-time proven experience in emotional development. He is the author of The Heart of Leadership and also has a book called Inside Change.

We are going to talk about some of the assessments; he is the co-author of seven psychometric assessments that are in 12 different languages. Things like the SEI Brain Brief, Organizational Vital Signs, and has worked with all kinds of clients all over the world; The Navy, FedEx, Make a Wish, The UN, and MR. Probably more so than most people that I know, Joshua has an incredible reach into global aspects of training people in the Seconds Model which we really want to tap into. Joshua can really give you a good sense of emotional intelligence not only in the US, but worldwide about what is similar and what is different.

Dr. Relly Nadler: I think my background is very aligned with Joshua, so it’s best to have him talk most about it. But a few things that we are focused on is the aspect of how we bring more emotional intelligence to folks. In most organizations we don’t have enough skilled leaders. We know that emotional intelligence is one of the key factors that can help people perform better for themselves and for their team. There are a series of competencies and tools, Joshua can you talk about that?

Joshua Freedman: I thought I would share that we recently did a survey of business leaders around the world and about 1,000 business leaders answered the survey. Only 8% say that they are prepared to deal with the challenges that they are facing on a daily basis. What you just said about the need to develop more of these skills, of course there are technical skills that leaders need; business savvy, and whatever industry skills, are absolutely essential.

On this survey we asked people what the issues are that they are facing: 70% on the people side. If the vast majority of our issues are on the people side and barely one in ten of us feel like we are prepared to deal with the issues, it really tells us why emotional intelligence is needed.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Josh, we are going to have you define emotional intelligence, and then what I think is so provocative, I think you created this, is your vision which will lead us into some of the EQ Week. So, how do you define Emotional Intelligence?

Joshua Freedman: I like to keep it really simple and say, it’s just about being smarter with feelings. Tuning into feelings as data and using that to make better decisions. What we know from our research is when people are smarter with feelings they make better decisions about influencing, engaging, health, their energy, about their relationships. We have done tons of studies all over the world, and we are talking about a learnable skill-set that has huge implications for business and personal performance.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg:  That’s amazing because, Relly, we have talked about that for years and it’s nice to have an expert that is recognized in the industry underscoring that.

Dr. Relly Nadler:  I think this would be interesting for you to comment on Joshua, I have been finding more and more that I have been leading with decision making. Then, you just highlighted it. Maybe say a little bit about that. I think we all know about emotional intelligence but leading with decision making just seems to capture the want and the desire of folks and where their interest it.

Joshua Freedman: We just published a case study of a multi-year project for FedEx where we were working on Emotional Intelligence development with them. They had these leaders in FedEx, who had around a 10-15% on average increase in emotional intelligence at the same time they reported almost a 70% improvement in decision-making. We know that we all have a billion decisions that we are making every day—maybe it’s only a million—some are really important or apparently important, some are really small. My perception is stress is increasing, and I have data to back that up, disconnection is increasing and I have data to back that up. People are feeling more overwhelmed and isolated. In this growing pressure, it becomes harder and harder for us to see—okay, wait a minute, where am I going. It becomes harder and harder to connect with people and to enroll people in the decision and to have people working together.

Most change fails, somewhere between 70 – 90% of change efforts fail. The number one reason for that is a failure to get people on board. If we think, okay, this is a process of decision making, we are saying actually we are going to move this forward, we are going to get our team to be more proactive, I’m going to build a better relationship with this customer or this internal client, or give feedback to this employee who is not doing exactly what I want; that is a change process. In that change process there is this whole emotional component.

You ask about our vision. My perception is that there are tons of people who are trying to make things better, at work and life; they are trying to make positive change. We know that because most change fails, and mostly because of the emotional side, we know that people are having trouble with the emotional dimension of these positive changes. Our vision is that a billion people will be practicing the skills of emotional intelligence by 2039 which is the President of 6 Seconds, Anabel Jensen’s, 100th birthday.

Relly, if you think about what you and Cathy talked about on this show and all this interest in emotional intelligence; if people actually practiced those skills, if 1 in 10 people in the world were really practicing that on a daily basis, just think about how much better our work and our lives would be.

Dr. Relly Nadler: It’s very inspiring. We want to tap into your expertise. First we want to hear a little bit about some of the organizations you work with and how we make this emotional intelligence central to the way we do business and the way people operate.

Joshua Freedman: I think one of the challenges is that a lot of people hear emotional intelligence and they think, okay, that’s interesting; but it’s not necessarily a strategic priority and they don’t really know how to make it part of their organizational strategy.

What we have seen, again in the survey that I mentioned early, The Workplace Issues survey and also in our work with organizations, is that the organizations that really are getting value from emotional intelligence are saying this is part of culture. We need to create an environment for competitive advantage. We need to create an environment where people are able to innovate and solve problems, connect and share information. We need an environment where leaders really know what leadership means and that it’s a people business; it’s an influence process where we engage and enroll people towards a meaningful purpose. We need the skills to do that.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Joshua, I know you do this wonderful program and you are going to do the 3rd Annual Virtual Festival of Emotional Intelligence March 10th-15th, Do you offer some tools or access to some of these metrics at that program or at your site?

Joshua Freedman: At the festival, we are going to  be sharing some new data from our tools. We don’t really provide assessments in the festival, but there is a ton of information about the assessments on, and also lots and lots of interesting case studies of how this works in organizations.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Joshua, can you give us the origination of 6 Seconds. What does the 6 Seconds stand for?

Joshua Freedman: Well, emotions are chemicals and they last in our bodies and brains for about 6 seconds. So if you believe as we do that emotions are actually valuable, then we have this little 6 second window of opportunity to capture that insight, to capture that energy, to connect, solve problems, to know what is really going on inside ourselves and each other.

By the way, it also means that if you are feeling something for longer than 6 seconds, at some level you are choosing to and there are processes that you can learn so that you can redirect your emotions in a way that is going to be more useful to you.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: That is so profound and so helpful because as we were talking before, today demands improved performance with fewer resources, tighter deadlines, and stressed co-workers and clients, and it’s how we choose to respond, right, to that stuff that makes us effective. That is so powerful, that 6 seconds.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Joshua you were saying, just so people can understand and it’s so foundational, that the emotions we have are fleeting, they last 6 seconds. Because there are a lot of emotions that last longer, stress and cortisol stays in your body. Say a little bit about when it stays longer.

Joshua Freedman: Emotion is an automatic biologic response. It’s a signal. Then we start thinking about it and we start saying, wait a minute, this is good, this is bad, this person sucks, this person is great, this person is whatever. We start going through all of these scenarios and you know that sometimes we get really caught up in that cycle. We are recreating and releasing more and more and more of these chemicals and they start affecting every living cell in the human body.

We just get ramped up with these chemicals flooding through us and it makes it really hard for us to redirect and move.

Making decisions all day long and if these emotions are flooding you and you are not aware of it you are probably making some inaccurate or poor decisions all day long. Find out about the practical process of practicing emotional intelligence and how you can apply it in your life. Get tips and tools to tune-up your performance, listen to the complete recording above, without commercials.



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