Taking Leadership to Heart – Success Stories

heart-leader This month in the EQ Leaders Series we are featuring Tom Darrow, Founder and Principal at Talent Connections, LLC and Career Spa and 2015-2016 Chair, and SHRM Foundation Board of Directors.

When I mentioned to Tom that I wanted to spotlight him for his EQ, he responded, “I’ve been asked how I’m so GQ but never about my EQ.”  If you know Tom, you know he is always ready with a witty – and often self-depreciating –  comeback.  Humor is a great EQ skill and one that would benefit all leaders.

I’ve known Tom for many years and know people who know him well.  Their opinions are all the same – he’s an all-around great guy to work with and for.  I interviewed some of his staff who, by the way, have been with Tom for an average of 10 years, (low turnover being indicative of a strong EQ culture), and here’s what they had to say.

First and foremost, Tom maintains a positive, can-do attitude.  Optimism and resilience are critical leadership competencies and he demonstrates them.  When one of Tom’s employees told him that her husband was transferring to Houston, she expected him to wish her well in her new endeavors. He surprised her by saying, “We’ll have to open an office in Houston.”  And he did.  Talk about rewarding an employee’s loyalty and creating more!  It raised her commitment level even higher than it already was.

Tom has created an ‘all for one and one for all’ mentality amongst the team members by being supportive and encouraging everyone to share information.  While many recruiting firms have a competitive environment where sharing candidates is unheard of, they openly share information to help each other succeed.  This promotes trust which is a huge EQ competency.  And speaking of trust, Tom is no micromanager.  He empowers his team to do their jobs and gets out of the way.  It’s quite common for Tom to ask them, “What do you think,” when in problem solving mode, showing just how much he trusts their opinions and capabilities.  And they all work remotely which they consider one of their biggest perks.

Accurate self-assessment is an EQ competency that is foundational to strong performance.  Knowing your strengths and limitations enables you to capitalize on what you’re good at and to recognize where to leverage others’ talents.  Tom is clear where he excels and spends his time in those areas, relying on his team to handle the rest.  In one situation, Tom realized he was not the best fit for a client and he delegated the responsibility to a team member who partnered with them beautifully.

When I asked them how EQ has impacted their culture, these were the responses. “We can get more done with less.  We have a collaborative environment where you feel that your input matters and that you are serving others in a way that will impact their situation.  Although we all work virtually and in somewhat of an independent environment, everyone on the team goes over and beyond to help each other. Tom allows us the flexibility that we need to have work life balance.  He’s very considerate of your feelings and needs. Finally, he is a well-known leader in the HR profession and constantly gives back to the profession and the community.”

Compassion is an advanced EQ skill, taking empathy to the next level.  When you empathize and then act on that empathy, that’s true compassion.  One of Tom’s employees recalls an instance in 2008 when the economy took a down turn and her hours were reduced to part-time status.  Tom helped her find a part-time job that would allow her to have 40 hours per week.  She’s now back as a fulltime employee.

And speaking of fulltime employment, the average tenure is 10 years, so there is great loyalty to Tom and his organization.  They have very little turnover which speaks volumes in an industry where turnover typically runs around 50 percent.

The moral of this story is that leading with EQ leads to greater success.  To read more about Tom or Talent Connections, visit   http://www.talentconnections.net/index.htm

If you know a leader who demonstrates emotional intelligence and would like to have them featured in Taking Leadership to Heart, please email Dawn@DayBreakEQ.com.





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