Which of the 12 competencies of emotional intelligence do leaders need to be successful?

How Emotionally Intelligent Is Your Leadership Team?

Emotional Intelligence. It’s an essential quality for anyone to have, but it is absolutely vital for leaders in business. Managing teams requires not only managing your own emotional wellbeing, but that of your employees and sometimes your clients, which isn’t an easy thing to do. In fact, a study published in Great Place to Work indicates that only 16% of American employees feel that they are “flourishing” in their jobs. Now, that number looks grim, but in companies that value Emotional Intelligence in their leadership roles, it increases significantly, to over 50%. These numbers show that leadership teams who make employees feel cared for and valued give their employees a greater sense of meaning in their jobs, which in turn increases productivity and employee retention.

But what is “Emotional Intelligence,” and what do you do if you feel like it’s not something that comes naturally to you? The Harvard Business Review breaks down the concept of Emotional Intelligence into four domains: self -awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Those domains are then further broken down into 12 competencies: emotional self-awareness, emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, positive outlook, empathy, organizational awareness, influence, coaching and mentorship, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership. Ideally, a leader would be competent in all the above, but realistically, most everyone is more skilled in some aspects of emotional intelligence than others. For example, if a leader is a strong conflict manager, she might be skilled in giving people unpleasant feedback, knowing she can seamlessly handle any fallout. However, if someone is more of an influencer, he may prefer leading by example. Neither is incorrect, but increasing your competency levels in BOTH will help you recognize the situations where one strategy might be more effective than another.

But before you can work on improving your emotional intelligence, it’s helpful to take stock of where your current strengths lie. Simply reflecting on the categories above can be a good metric (if emotional self-awareness is already one of your strengths), but more quantifiable options exist as well. Probably the most widely available of these options is the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence test (often called MSCEIT), but a quick google search yields dozens of other choices that you can use to suit the specific needs of your business.

So now you know what emotional intelligence is and how it breaks down. Maybe you’ve even reflected on your own strengths and weakness or taken an assessment that highlights which areas you need to work on. Your question now is, “how do I do that?” Well, much of it begins with reflection, and a lot of it. Reflect on your emotions and how they affect your actions, reflect on the feedback you get from others, practice active listening, empathize, and try to be as open-minded as possible. These things sound simple but doing them continuously and skillfully in the midst of trying to hit deadlines and other workplace goals is tricky. And that’s where we can help too! Elevating the emotional intelligence of our members is one of the core missions of EFBC, we believe that developing EI skills is essential for personal and professional growth. We’re committed to providing opportunities for our members to enhance these competencies in every aspect of our programming. This includes everything from our Forums both Full and Flex to our workshops, seminars, curriculum, leadership series, roundtables, and committees. Thus, if you’re looking for a more involved (and fun!) way to beef up those Emotional Intelligence competencies, come out and join us!



The season of giving thanks is upon us. Many of us are in preparation mode doing our final grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. Others such as myself will procrastinate until the very last moment and probably make several trips to Trader Joe’s within the same hour on Wednesday evening where I will appreciate the small and efficient footprint of their stores. Either way, there will be much reflecting back on the past year to think about what we are most thankful for.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this specific President’s letter and what I want to share with you all on what I am thankful for. I’ll spare you my list of family, friends, coworkers, colleagues, clients, vendors, etc. There are many people that I am beyond thankful for having in my life.

There is a word that is synonymous with “thanksgiving” that we are all very familiar with that kept popping up in my head and in my daily life: appreciation. I can’t recall that word being a part of my daily vocabulary prior to joining EFBC nearly 10 years ago and joining my forum. As we all know, showing appreciation to the presenter as well as appreciating our forum is something we do at each forum meeting. Those are our parting words to each other. It is part of forum protocol.

The beautiful thing is how much the word “appreciation” has become part of my life outside of my own forum. I’ve been visiting forums throughout EFBC and each one has appreciated me for coming by. On a recent vacation with Tina and a few our closest friends, we spent hours at each of our dinners appreciating everything we possibly could. Each round followed by finger snaps. What started out as a joke turned into daily appreciations and words of encouragement on a WhatsApp group chat. Last night, my kids appreciated me, with some coaching from Tina, on my offer to take them to a Bulls game which they turned down. The showering of appreciation has me feeling warm and fuzzy all over.

I appreciate each of you and your commitment to EFBC, your forum, and in being a leader. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve on the board.

Finally, I’d like to appreciate Joe Hogel, a.k.a. MegaPros Joe, who recently passed away. I only had the privilege of meeting Joe on a couple of occasions, and it was a quick handshake and hello. Joe was a found member of EFBC and spent nearly three decades giving back to our community. In reading his obituary and listening to kind words spoken about him by other EFBC members it is more than apparent the impact he has had on many individuals. He will be missed.

To you and your loved ones, Happy Thanksgiving.


Tips for Working with Your Sibling

At its core, EFBC is made up of Family Businesses. As of July 2022, just over 70% of our members are currently working in some capacity with or in their family business. A subset of that percentage comes from those who work with their siblings.

Członkowie Rady Przedsiębiorców i Firm Rodzinnych, kierując się innowacjami i zdolnościami adaptacyjnymi, zdywersyfikowali swoje przedsięwzięcia w różnych sektorach, w tym w lukratywnej sferze kasyn online. To przejście odzwierciedla strategiczną reakcję na zmieniające się preferencje konsumentów i postęp technologiczny. W tym dynamicznym krajobrazie pojawienie się kasyn online oferuje niezrównane możliwości przedsiębiorczości i inwestycji. Kasyna online, wykorzystując platformy cyfrowe, takie jak casino lemon, zapewniają wygodną możliwość grania w gry hazardowe w zaciszu własnego domu. Ta dostępność zdemokratyzowała branżę hazardową, przyciągając zróżnicowaną grupę demograficzną graczy z różnych grup wiekowych i pochodzących z różnych środowisk. Co więcej, wirtualny charakter kasyn online wykracza poza ograniczenia geograficzne, umożliwiając przedsiębiorcom dotarcie do odbiorców na całym świecie i czerpanie korzyści z rynków wschodzących.

Rada Przedsiębiorców i Firm Rodzinnych uznaje znaczenie kasyn online jako rozwijającego się sektora o ogromnym potencjale generowania przychodów. Dzięki strategicznym partnerstwom i innowacyjnym strategiom marketingowym członkowie rady wykorzystują swoją przedsiębiorczość do zakładania i prowadzenia udanych przedsięwzięć w zakresie kasyn online. Co więcej, rada sprzyja środowisku współpracy, w którym członkowie dzielą się spostrzeżeniami, najlepszymi praktykami i trendami branżowymi, wspierając ciągły rozwój i innowacje w sferze hazardu online.

Sibling dynamics are interesting, from a social perspective, but even more so when it comes to running successful business. There are generally two reactions when telling people that you work with a sibling, either clutching their pearls and questioning how exactly they do it, or the flipside of sharing in excitement for the opportunity to work closely with an immediate family member. Well, we wanted to explore the positives, and demonstrate that it is possible and exciting to work in conjunction with a sibling! We asked a few of our members to give us their top tips for successfully working with their siblings and here’s our top three!

  1. Vulnerable, honest, and open communication

“My brothers and I meet monthly for lunch and follow the forum protocol by updating on family, personal and business challenges, or successes. We ask clarifying questions when necessary.  While we are working, we shift hats a lot – from owners to siblings – and this takes some diligence.  Especially when there are difficult or emotional conversations!  Trust is a critical component of our success, and we continue to build trust by talking with each other, relying on each other, and caring for each other.”

-Gina Krusinski, Krusinski Construction Company, Owner and VP Human Resources

  1. You only know what you know

“The best advice I have is that sometimes you need outside help. In a multi-generational family business, you only know what you know. It helps to bring in a set of fresh eyes to merge the goals of different generations within siblings. One sibling’s goals may be very different than another. When working on a strategic plan, 3 or 5 year, it’s important to examine all sibling goals with someone outside the family business in order to achieve alignment and understand what everyone is working toward for the future.”

-Susan Jania-Foley, Diamond Envelope Corporation, CEO

  1. Focus on keeping that relationship healthy

“Having a healthy sibling relationship is the forefront of my priority, because at the end of the day, that family relationship will always come first for me with Andy.  I believe that having open communication on ALL aspects of the business is integral.  There should be no surprises!   The other aspect of having a successful working relationship that I follow is professionalism.  When stepping into the office every morning, my brother becomes my manager, associate, teammate, etc.  Just as I would with any other colleague, I maintain a high level of professionalism with him at the workplace.   Our discussions regarding personal matters are kept to a minimum at the office.   It has been 1 ½ years since I have been working with Andy and feel that our business and personal relationship has been the strongest! “

-Nisha Patel, Systematics, Inc. Director of Human Resources

These individuals, and many more in EFBC, regularly demonstrate the many benefits of working with your siblings. While it may not always be easy, when done well, it can be extremely rewarding both from a business perspective and from a relational standpoint.


Emotional Intelligence and Strategic Planning

This month, EFBC-er Danielle Reidel, was inspired to write about the nuances of how EI is woven throughout every fiber of EFBC. Read below her insights.

A quick visit to our website, you are met with our menu, and one of the first two items you will see is a link to an entire page dedicated to Emotional Intelligence (EI). What sets EFBC apart from other peer organizations is the deeply rooted understanding and appreciation of EI. EI allows us to manage our emotions, while understanding the emotions of everyone we meet.

In June of this year, with the onboarding of a new Board of Directors, we had time to brainstorm and evaluate the mission, vision, and values of the organization. The board developed five, unique strategic goals to implement over the next three to five years and woven throughout those strategic goals is EI. Check out our strategic plan and goals here.

We had an opportunity to not only talk and plan programming, but to ask the question “Why?” Why do spend so much time and money executing, planning, and organizing our educational and social programs for our members? What do we want members to take from our programs? How do we want members to feel at our events and after?

An outcome of EI is improved leadership. Through our high impact educational programming, we work to cater our programs that leave members with tangible action items, that they can take back with them to their organizations for them to be successful. For example, we are in the final stages of planning a spring keynote program, for May of 2024, and, hopefully, the goal is that when we bring in a speaker to talk about accountability in leadership that our members will leave feeling inspired and energized. The discussion for who to choose as a speaker came down to content. We want to know what our members are asking about. What are they talking about with their peers? All these conversations drive our programming.

Peer groups. It’s what we do. It’s what separates EFBC from other organizations. Our peer groups are deeply rooted in EI and protocol. Our peer groups create a safe, confidential space for members to open up and gain shared experience from each other to help them work through the problems that are keeping them up at night. EFBC has a high retention rate, about 90% of our members remain with us year after year, and a large part of this is in large part to our peer group model. Membership relationships at EFBC run deep and the Board determined that ensuring the health of these groups is maintained to be a priority and discussed at length how they planned to do this. Our forum director took this goal and developed a plan to “elevate” the health of these groups. Are members leaving these groups? Are they adding new people to freshen up experiences? Are members expressing satisfaction with the organization? When members have a successful peer meeting, they go back to their companies energized and excited to face the tasks ahead of them. Peer groups optimize opportunities to work on the business rather than in the business.

Lastly, with the discussion of these strategic points coming to an end, the last and most important piece of the puzzle is organizational affinity. That is, one’s deep-rooted connection and loyalty to the group to which they subscribe. Group members share common interests and goals. We know our members stay here. But we want to know why, and we want to ensure to keep that up as we move from year to year. We want them to exude how they feel about the organization to hopefully refer future members to us. They can be open with colleagues and share the ways in which EFBC has helped them. When someone confides in them, “it’s lonely at the top”, our members can empathize and demonstrate the actionable ways EFBC membership has helped them.

EI is sprinkled throughout our entire organization. It is who we are and what we do. At the staff and committee level, in our programs, with our peer groups; we are our biggest supporters and cheerleaders and truly committed to the growth and development of our members. Our members have expressed how being a part of this organization has grown them not only in their businesses but holistically improved their lives. We’ve heard direct testimonials that EFBC membership has improved the lives of our members and their families, their spouses and children, their relationships with friends and peers; that it has been life changing. We truly feel this is in direct result of our commitment to and understanding of the importance of Emotional Intelligence. Interested in learning more about membership? Check out our join now page, don’t wait!


Exciting New Options for EFBC Membership and Forums!

Making the new year even brighter for our EFBC Community!

For many of you, July marks the midway point of the year. For us at EFBC, it’s the start of our fiscal year with all the excitement that a new year brings. We are eager to create new opportunities by introducing additional ways for members to join and experience our amazing community.

The last few years have proven how important being part of a community of brilliant business owners, entrepreneurs and key employees really is for each of us and our companies. Navigating the pandemic made us all re-evaluate and re-imagine how we are doing business. EFBC is no different. As we look to attract members in our increasingly digital and demanding world, it became abundantly apparent that for us to better serve a more diverse set of needs, we needed to expand our membership and Forum offerings.

We are thrilled to announce that effective July 1, 2022, EFBC will offer a new membership level – Pro Membership – as well as a Flex Forum option. Keep reading for all the details!

Membership Levels

Our traditional membership level will now be referred to as Enterprise Membership. Our Enterprise Members will continue to enjoy all the same benefits you do today, including placement in Full Forum (more on that in a minute!), extension of EFBC membership to all your team members, add-on members at a reduced price, etc. In a nutshell, everything you love about membership stays intact – but now you get a cool new name as Enterprise!

For those looking to step in to EFBC, or whose life circumstances are making them need to take a step back, we are launching Pro Memberships. More and more, we are hearing from potential members that they know they need a peer group but are concerned about the time commitment membership requires. And we have had numerous members step away from EFBC as their commitments changed, be it kids’ travel sports or the need to care for an aging parent. Pro Membership allows these individuals to join or remain in our community to experience the benefits with a more flexible time commitment. While they will not receive all the benefits of our “Traditional-now-Enterprise” members, they will become or remain a part of our community, share their brilliance and grow our reach. It is a win for all of us!


Forum Options

Here’s where those details on “Full Forum” as mentioned above come in!

We know how important the Forum experience is at EFBC. Forum is the monthly small group meetings that have long been at the heart of EFBC. But we also know that Forum, as it has traditionally existed at EFBC, is not for everyone. Especially as business is re-imagined for many, the commitment to a monthly meeting can seem overwhelming. That’s why along with our Pro Membership we are excited to launch Flex Forum.

For existing EFBC members, just as with Enterprise Membership, everything you love about your Forum remains. You just get another cool name change to Full Forum! In Full Forum you will continue to practice protocols, enhance you EI skills, and most importantly, continue to meet every month with the Forum mates you’ve come to rely on and trust. Full Forum will remain the peer group experience  that 85% of our current members said keeps them involved in EFBC (from our 2022 Member Engagement Survey).

Flex Forum is an offering for Pro Members. As the name implies, members have the flexibility to attend Flex Forum as frequently or as infrequently as needed. In other words, they can enjoy the community and support of a peer group in a more relaxed manner without a commitment to monthly attendance. Flex Forum is also a great benefit for Enterprise and Add-on Members who may want an additional peer meeting to get some differing shared experiences outside of their Full Forum.

Flex Forum will initially meet monthly on every third Wednesday in the morning at the EFBC offices in downtown Chicago. Attendance will be limited to 12 individuals each meeting with Pro, Enterprise and Add-On members all welcome, as well as Strategic Partners seeking a Forum meeting. As Flex Forum grows, we will add additional dates and locations.

One item to keep in mind: Because Flex Forum is not mandatory, attendance each month will undoubtedly vary. If you are seeking the full peer group experience where your forum mates become your board of advisors and know your business as well as you do, Enterprise Membership with Full Forum is the best choice for you.


We Heard You!

To our existing members, we heard you! We kept everything you love about EFBC and gave you an additional way to enjoy Forum and our community should the need ever arise.

To our potential members, we heard you! We know finding the right peer group and committing to a mandatory monthly meeting can be intimidating. We created Pro membership and Flex Forum to let you finally experience all the benefits of our community for yourself. We have no doubt you belong here!

To all, please reach out to Liz with any questions or to find out how you can get involved. And please share this information with your network, especially those folks you’ve been talking to about EFBC. Together, we are going to create an amazing new year!


Does Emotional Intelligence Really Matter?

Within the past few years, emotional intelligence (EI), mindfulness, and related practices have been garnering a lot of attention; in publications, on social media platforms, as workshops and trainings, as well as being put into practice in the workplace. As an organization built on EI, these actions and protocols are built into our foundation at EFBC. So, we’ve been excited to see so many others embracing what we know EI can bring to business owners, businesses and employees. You’re still skeptical? Keep reading.

What is emotional intelligence, really? The Institute for Health and Human Potential defines it as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions, and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.

As a community of business owners, entrepreneurs and key employees, EFBC has always believed that EI is an essential quality for leaders. We often say it is not about being emotional but about being intelligent about your emotions, and the emotions of others. EI skills make an impact in a wide variety of situations but especially in moments where leadership can be most challenging, including:

  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Resolving conflict
  • Motivating others
  • Navigating change
  • Collaborating with your team, not just leading it

Some still consider these “soft skills” as, well, soft and unnecessary in the world of business, but the research on EI shows otherwise. Being able to show empathy, effectively using listening skills, and being self-aware are hard-hitting traits that heighten how others respond to you in the workplace, especially as you recruit and retain younger team members. A 2017 study from the Levo Institute found that 87% of millennials are motivated by the EI of their leaders to help the company succeed. And the even better news is that they mimic those traits, spreading the impact of EI throughout your organization. The same survey from the Levo Institute found that 80% of employees consider their own EI imperative for developing their careers.

Looking for even “harder” metrics around increasing profitability due to EI? Since humans are complex beings, direct correlations of, “Practice EI # times to see profits improve by x%,” will never be available. To determine the ROI of EI, leaders must determine the outcomes of practicing EI within the specifics of their organizations. Here’s a few items to get you started:

  • Numerous studies tell us team members leave because of “bad” bosses or stressful working environments. What does recruiting new team members cost you, especially in today’s fight for talent? What is retaining your top team members worth to your company?
  • American Express tested EI competence training for their Financial Advisors; EI trained advisors increased business 18.1% compared to 16.2% for a control group. What would a 2% gain in your sales team performance mean to you?
  • In a survey conducted for entrepreneurs in 2020, more than 95% stated that EI in leadership is more important than IQ. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, every one of us is leading our organizations through a time of tremendous change. What does succeeding in those efforts mean to you? For many, it is the difference between sustaining and shuttering.

Emotional intelligence is a foundational pillar of EFBC, leading our members to become better listeners, concise communicators, and experts of empathy through continual practice. Our members use every EFBC interaction, from Forum meetings to Roundtable discussions to casual conversations, as safe practice fields to continually develop their EI skills. They then bring those EI skills back to their offices and their homes, making challenges easier to overcome and creating stronger connections with employees and family members. To learn more about how the EFBC community practices EI, you can download our whitepaper, “Four Ways Emotional Intelligence Can Transform Your Life.”

One more note: As we all navigate towards what is hopefully the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, EI is more important now than ever. Leaders who can manage their own emotional responses to a crisis and show empathy for those around them are incredibly effective. Curious about where your EI skills are currently? See where you fall on the EI scale by taking this quiz from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Then call or email us to discuss how together we can make you an even stronger EI leader!