As we approach the Spring festive season, I’ve been thinking a lot about my maternal grandmother Goldie Smith, aka my Bubby. Passover was Bubby’s favourite holiday because it was the one time of year she knew her entire family would be under the same roof in Montreal. Bubby consistently outdid herself with her holiday Seder meal. She wanted her family to be together and happy.

Bubby’s presence was unlike any of my other grandparents. At her funeral in 2015, my Uncle Arthur described her as the CEO of our family, as she likely would have been a CEO, had she been born in a different era. Like most successful CEOs, she developed her family’s mission statement. The Smith family should always be close and have each other’s back.

Bubby had charisma. She owned the room when she spoke and our family paid attention. Her message was always concise. For example, one year she decided that she wanted her entire family to spend the December holiday with her and my grandfather in Florida. She was able to successfully land this message by tying it back to her mission statement. The Smith family should always be close and have each other’s back.

Earning Bubby’s respect was paramount to every single one of us. She always told me to prioritize the highest impact path to professional success because that will enable me to be a good husband and a good father someday. Bubby’s approval meant everything to me and I can still hear her voice telling me to keep pushing hard each and every day. 

Bubby and me

Leadership Qualities

The Center for Creative Leadership found that great leaders possess the following 10 qualities:

Integrity, Ability to delegate, Communication, Self-awareness, Gratitude, Learning agility, Influence, Empathy, Courage, Respect

Bubby possessed most of these qualities, but the one that really stands out for me is Communication. For those who have participated in an workshop, you know that adapting your emotions and environments to achieve your goals is critical for successful leaders. No two people are the same, meaning there is no template to land a message. 

My wife Leora is really good at this. Before she reaches out to a family member, friend or colleague, she takes time to think through the other person’s potential reactions. As a result, she’s very thoughtful with her words and more often than not, her messages land.

It’s also not surprising that two of the qualities listed above, Empathy and Self-awareness, match with Daniel Goleman’s five Emotional Intelligence competencies. Successful leaders must be emotionally intelligent. It’s the common trait that all of my most trusted mentors have always possessed.

Food for thought

  1. Can you identify the person or people who had the greatest influence in your life? Or better yet, who were your Bubbies?
  1. What are some of the attributes these people shared?
  1. Can you think of examples where you’ve emulated those attributes in your dealings with people?

Please email me at or share in the comments below.

And as we approach the first night of Passover, I can’t help but miss my Bubby. She was one of a kind.

Bubby and I

1 Comment on “Leadership with EQ

  1. Pingback: Motivations - EQ Improved

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