EQ Leaders Wear Mood Rings 

Do you remember the popularity of mood rings? In the 1991 hit movie My Girl, tomboy Vada Sultenfuss wears a mood ring that constantly tells her the mood she is experiencing by simply looking down at her finger. It tells her if she is sad, happy, annoyed and so on. Her best friend is a boy, Thomas, and tells her the mood ring doesn't work because it is always black which Vada quickly replies "only when you're around, you put me in a bad mood!" Although only a movie (and fashion statement), mood rings can teach us a lot about 21st century leadership and Emotional Intelligence.

Humans are designed to thrive using Emotional Intelligence (a learned competency) which is the ability to monitor and manage our own emotions and the emotions of others. To effectively lead ourselves we must constantly check-in with our internal mood ring, or in Emotional Intelligence terminology, Self Awareness. Surprisingly, many professionals in the workplace fall short in their leadership because they do not self-reflect on their current moods and how they are drastically altered from situation-to-situation and personality-to-personality. They fall short in having mindfulness of how often they are judging as black and white when there is a lot of grey area. You cannot lead others without first leading yourself.

Thriving 21st Century leaders have Emotional Intelligence and are looking within themselves with mini-moments of reflection to monitor their emotions. They also are just as committed to doing the same externally to see others “mood rings” and feel what others are feeling with Social Awareness (Empathy).

Once Self and Social Awareness is practiced and mastered, leaders are in an excellent position to have adaptability to respond to different moods from moment to moment giving them extreme confidence, composure and presence...Emotional Intelligence in action that is respected and admired by all of humanity.

The mood ring is an outstanding example of Emotional Intelligence and we all have this unique human-only skill to have awareness how we (and those in our our presence) are feeling at any given moment.

Here are 3 simple starting points:

  1. Carve out one minute every hour(or two) to create a mini-moment of solitude to self-reflect on your current mood (look down at your finger for fun) and the triggers of these emotions. Notice patterns with your mood how it is impacted by certain environments, time of day and of course people! We need to have courage to change the things we can with these patterns.

  2. When interacting with others, pretend they have a mood ring on and try to empathize and adjust to their current emotional state.

  3. Focus on adaptability to different emotions around you and adapt not only to your changing emotional state but also those in your presence. *Notice how this makes you more confident, approachable and trusted.