Our leadership breath is directly related to our emotional intelligence. The more we breathe in fear, guilt, insecurity, and anger, the more we’ll breathe out, as leaders, reactivity, manipulation, rigidity or spinelessness. People will avoid close contact with us because the aroma is so hard to handle.

If, however, we breathe in flexibility, curiosity, authenticity and originality, then out will come inspiration, freedom, energy and trust. It really comes down to this: breathe in, breathe out. The way in which leaders forms his or her own soul (breathe in), by God’s grace, is what they have to offer their teams and organizations (breathe out).

Here’s a flexible equation to remember: I. E. Q. + L. I. = O. E. (see below)

Individual Emotional Quotient + Leadership Influence = Organizational Effectiveness.

I have an aversion to equation thinking when it comes to relational and organizational issues. So, maybe it would better to say that the left side of the equation will certainly enhance the right side. You may not see it work like an equation, but work it will. The leader who cares for her own soul and then learns how to express that soul to the organization in potent ways will enable the effectiveness of the organization in big and small ways. Or to stay with our metaphor: If you have good breath, people will want to be around you and will look for ways to pass your breath along to others. Soon an entire organization is breathing in and breathing out a kind of air that increases productivity, esprit de corps, team collaboration, innovation, and communal meaning.