The EQ Leader Speaks

Dr. Relly Nadler:
Our guest today is Dr. Dana Ackley. Dana is an expert in emotional intelligence and has been working with emotional intelligence at the highest level for years.

Before we bring Dana on, let me introduce my co-host, Dr. Cathy Greenberg.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: It’s a pleasure to be here and I’m excited to meet Dana and learn more about EQ Leader. You know it’s funny, preparing for the show today, like you I do a little bit of meditation. I came across a really sweet Proverb, 15:24: “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Relly, I guess without further a due, we should jump right in here. We sure do know that emotions are so challenging for leaders as well as anybody on the home front or the battlefield. We have been outsourcing our thinking; smart cars, Siri, Alexa—we know that we struggle all of the time with slow thinking. Intellectually humans tend to be lazy. For some of us it’s an unfortunate consequence of being rushed, being parents, being busy professionals, being in a workplace where we are constantly bombarded with information and then we walk out into the social world where we are bombarded with social media. It’s important that everybody really, really understand why emotions matter. On today’s show, we will talk a little bit more about tools and tips that Dana has provided in his work over the years that will help our listeners achieve even higher emotional brilliance.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Thank you, Cathy. Let me say a little bit more about Dana and then we have a series of questions that we want to tap into his expertise.

Dana is a psychologist. He received his doctor is psychology at Florida State University in 1973. He does executive coaching, group coaching, leadership skill assessment, development and improvement of leadership teams helping organizations create solutions to long-standing intractable problems.

I met Dana years ago. He has a very popular book, The EQ Leader, which is really the first of it’s kind looking at the how-to, Cathy it’s exactly what you and I do, but Dana did that I think, and we’ll ask him, maybe it was in 2004 to 2007. You can purchase his EQ Leader through MHS, the ones that do the EQi. Dana, welcome!

Dr. Dana Ackley: Thank you. You can purchase it now through me now rather than MHS, but that’s another story.

Dr. Relly Nadler: If they want to get The EQ Leader, they get it through you?

Dr. Dana Ackley: That’s right. We are updating it as we speak.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Nice. What’s your website and then we are going to jump into asking you some questions.

Dr. Dana Ackley: It’s

Dr. Relly Nadler: Great. Dana has a lot of different tools. I’m involved in one of his trainings right now where he’s got a lot of psychologists who want to tap into his expertise about emotional intelligence and more specifically, about what you do for it.

Dana, give us a little background into your career, how you got involved in emotional intelligence and what you do these days.

Dr. Dana Ackley: Sure. I, like you, have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I call myself a recovering clinician. I was a clinician for about 25 years and managed care showed up. They invited me to do shoddy work for lousy money. That didn’t seem very appealing to me so the only thing I knew how to do initially was to get depressed.

I spent about a year complaining, carrying on, and people who had any sense began to avoid my company. So, what dawned on me was, because I’d always wanted to be a psychologist and I’d always wanted to do what I was doing, maybe I could figure out other ways.

So, I evolved a model of practice outside of insurance and continued to do clinical work for a while. But that process introduced me to many of the different ways that psychology, psychological skills can be used. I had always been interested in business. So, I began to explore and converted my work into executive coaching and organizational development.

In the process, I discovered emotional intelligence and I thought that that was an excellent framework with which to begin relationships with coaching clients and with organizations. As I worked to begin to catch up to my colleagues who had been consulting for many years, I studied emotional intelligence and I kept going back to MHS, the publisher of what I think is the best EQ measure available, I kept asking them for more information. I told them that I was putting together a program for a company building EQ skills in executives and I began to put it together based on what as psychologists know is required for sustainable behavior change.

They said, Dana, nobody has ever actually put together a program like that. This was in 2005. We liked to publish yours. So, sure enough, that’s what happened. They published my EQ Leader Program.

Back when Goleman’s first book came out in 1995, pretty much every consultant with a pulse developed an EQ workshop. The problem was that workshops on EQ have a half-life of about 21 days. So organizations were figuring out that they were not getting much benefit from just doing workshops.

What I wanted to do was something that would lead them to have long-term benefits.

Listen to the entire interview above.


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