Mohamed Hammoud  00:03

We need to create psychologically safe spaces where people feel they belong. They’re heard they’re valued, they’re seen. And I validate myself, I don’t need to wait for others to validate me. But if there isn’t a safe enough place and space where I can be seen, heard and valued, I won’t be able to validate myself because I’m always having this fight this battle to show up. And I don’t exist if the space isn’t safe enough.

Adam Baruh  00:43

Welcome to The Change where we share stories and inspiration from certain leaders who work to destigmatize mental health issues and increase psychological inclusivity in the workplace. I’m your host, Adam Baruh. Emotional intelligence in the workplace has only recently become recognized as a vital skill in the traditional business model, skills related to the specific job. And the ability to problem solve have been the key areas of focus during the interview process. Yet, in the words of our guests here today, IQ will land you the job, but you’ll keep it because of your EQ, I can tell you firsthand how spot on the statement is, when I originally formed my consulting agency suite centric, and started hiring, I was really only concerned with the technical skills of candidates I was interviewing. Yet over time, I saw that my best employees were not the ones with the greatest skill set on the platform, we work with the team members who are achieving the best results and providing the greatest value to the company. Were those with highly developed emotional intelligence skills. Here to speak with us today about the value of emotional intelligence, in leadership and otherwise is Mohamed Hammoud. Hey, Mohamed, welcome to The Change.

Mohamed Hammoud  01:56

Well, thank you very much for having me with you this afternoon, Adam, my pleasure.

Adam Baruh  02:00

Yeah, thanks for being here. So you know, I want to I usually start people with the beginning, you know, talking about your background, and we’re definitely going to get into that. But I want to start with, you know, some words that I read on your website that just super resonated with me and completely echo the work we do here on The Change So you start by saying, the world has changed, and so must you, you can no longer lead the way you’ve been leading, you need a new roadmap to transform into a leader who inspires trust, and invites others to contribute wholeheartedly, to a clear purpose. So, you know, just because this podcast is called The Change, I just super honed in on that there’s just so much alignment. So if you would just share in your, you know, your your voice here today on the show, you know, how you came up with this concept how how you came to realize that, you know, the world is changing. And you know, how you related this to the changes needed in leadership.

Mohamed Hammoud  03:04

So Adam, the world is changing every second. And this is such a timeless concept, but one that we haven’t been very intentional about recognizing, embracing, accepting, responding to. If you ask anybody pre COVID, hey, yeah, I’m just getting things done and moving on and right. And whether you’re in a leadership position, or whether you were working, you know, in a drive thru serving somebody, you know, their next job. The fact is, we’re all living with moving from day to day getting things done getting a paycheck, making a difference in people’s lives. What happened with COVID is something that no one on the face of this earth has experienced before us. In over 100 years. We’ve collectively experienced, humbling, coming to of an age. And becoming to an age is something that is this collective recognition that we all need to change. And here, here’s the thing you talked about. I know you talk about the great resignation and mental health. And so when you bring this together, where we were in 2020, March and maybe July or June 2020, or June 2022, right now, we were a lot more humble as as human beings, we were discovering the humility in our humanity and coming together to recognize that we need to be there for each other. And as soon as the weather started looking better, and the COVID numbers started looking better, we we let go of that. humbleness. We started treating people like we did before. And then when we went through the Omicron wave, we got scared again and started coming back together to realize oh, we’re still in this together. Right. So that sense of the collectivity was there. Now we have a sense of arrogance because we’ve come out of the racial, you know, recommend that we if we can call have that, you know, we went through a racial tension greater than any time we’ve experienced at the height of COVID. And now we’re coming out of COVID. And we’re still on various plot ends of the spectrum on Are we out of it? Are we still in the midst of it, right. And yet, there’s this arrogance, because we refuse to accept that we learned something. And we’re forever changed. So leaders who were not as self aware or in touch with the need to support other people before the pandemic, leaders who discovered their self awareness of the need to support others during the pandemic, can no longer lead the way they did before. Or even during the pandemic, they need a mindset about what does the future look like. And while nobody writes that future, we can be active Change Catalyst to be ready for it. So the resilience that you talked about whether in mental health or leadership, in creating workplace cultures, we need to recognize the way we lead before COVID During COVID, and getting out of COVID is not the way we need to lead forward the command and control that I tell you what to do the, you know, intrinsic motivation, carrot stick, that doesn’t work, if it worked, that worked for the wrong reasons, we need to recognize that human mobility that brings us together and our humanity, so that when we lead, we lead from the heart, we lead with people’s best intentions in mind. And we lead to bring people on the same platform, which is this humanity, that we all come from different backgrounds, but we form a nation. That’s humankind.

Adam Baruh  06:33

Yeah. And so um, you know, I’m interested. And I’m curious, your thoughts on this? So you know, the pandemic, how much of you know how much of what you’re seeing with these changes has been, would you put all of it on the pandemic? Really, was the catalyst that triggered this, or how much I guess I what I’m trying to say is, you know, where are we seeing some of these signs in these changes of leadership style before the pandemic?

Mohamed Hammoud  07:01

Yes. But you experienced a very traumatic event in your life. And you don’t have to go into detail, but I would assume it’s a yes?

Adam Baruh  07:09

Yes. Many of them, unfortunately, many of them.

Mohamed Hammoud  07:13

And each time you experienced them, you behaved in a way that is not your default goat, right, you behaved in a way that was a little more extreme than how you might normally react, respond or react. Correct. But then you shift. You know, by nature, we forget things because we’re human beings. And so time does heal a lot of our wounds, if not completely heal, we move on. And we learn and we recuperate. So when we deal with trauma, we get stronger, because we either forget, or we learn how to respond and grow from the experience. COVID did that every single person on the earth? And, you know, we did it, we went through it together. There was this uber sense of awareness that we’re all experiencing something very similar for a short period in our humanity, we spoke the same language and different dialects, but we spoke the same language of fear of uncertainty of what, what’s, what’s next. And what’s next wasn’t what’s in it. For me. It was what’s in it for us. So when we you experience something that global because you remember, January 2020, there were the fires in Australia, there was the volcanic eruptions there. The world was going crazy. There was farming, there were right breakouts, what we were used to these things. But then we were hit by this. You know, we were hit by the pandemic. Yeah. And it’s a pandemic, was it endemic? So for us not to recognize and to remember that we’d be you know, we’d be walking around with an open wound, that we’re, you know, being silly enough or ignorant enough to to ignore, and not recognize that it’s still there. Because I think that pandemic will not allow us to heal, we need to move forward and recognize, what can we learn from this? And what can we learn to help others in order to help ourselves as well?

Adam Baruh  09:07

Yeah, so personally, and I’ve spoken about this on the show numerous times. I mean, for me, the pandemic was a catalyst. I mean, it was the type of traumatic event. And not just me, I mean, in in family members and some people, other people that I’ve spoken to it also produced this where it was the tipping point, it was the thing that, you know, gave me the self awareness to you know, there was a lot of trauma built in from some stuff that happened in my childhood that I’ve been carrying for 14, you know, at the time, I guess, 48 years but without really having the self awareness to understand the impact on my life. But the pandemic was the catalyst and the tipping point that kind of boiled over unfortunately, it culminated with some very severe and significant anxiety attacks that I mean that was the thing that caused me to finally like, recognize and try to explore where this was all coming from. And I want to be very sensitive with how I how I say the next thing, because I mean, obviously, you know, the illnesses, the deaths from the pandemic, I wouldn’t ever want to repeat that or, or think it’s good in any way. But I think there’s so much good that the pandemic has produced, if you really look at some of the changes that are happening in the world, you know, it is it’s different. It’s a different, I think, you know, to your point, you were saying before, to some extent, we’re kind of like falling back into perhaps, where we were before the pandemic, but I think, you know, there’s enough of us in different positions, or different, you know, stages of our lives that will remember the lessons and our lives have been changed to the extent where we, we feel a calling, and we feel like, hey, we really want to make an impact in this world, socially, or otherwise, you know, what are your What are your thoughts on that? I mean, do you look at the pandemic, in that same way, where, you know, despite the deaths, and the, you know, the devastation it caused, and families and whatnot, I mean, did the deaths and the devastation, override the fact that the pandemic has produced a lot of good social changes and movement?

Mohamed Hammoud  11:25

I don’t think it has to be either or, when you look at anything, that while we weren’t put on this earth, so whether you you’re an evolutionist or a creationist, I’m a creationist, I believe in God. And I don’t believe that we’re put on this earth, to just enjoy and to, you know, go out and party and have big, beautiful mansions and cars, I think we’re here to learn, you know, I’m a Muslim. And I believe that we are here to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and will be tested. And the best of us will be those who come through the test with flying colors, let’s say right, just like in school. Now, that doesn’t mean that God’s big teacher handing out stars, but what I do believe is, we can go around people in our classroom and make sure everybody has enough lunch, you know, if somebody has an empty lunchbox, you know, can I give them something from my lunch box? If somebody doesn’t have a chair? Can I lend them my chair to set? So I need to look at people who are with me in this classroom? And to think of how can I sit with them and make sure that we all feel that we belong in this space together? How can we learn together? How can we learn from each other? And how can we take our collective learning and move forward to improve our lot, right, because we’re all in this together. I don’t think that people have experienced the death and the loss, and I just lost somebody to COVID A few days ago. So for people who tell you this isn’t real, I say it’s real enough. For people who who haven’t been directly impacted, I appreciate their their strength or ignorance. And I don’t mean ignorance in a negative way, just it’s ignorance. However, I would say to them, that we have enough numbers to validate that COVID is a reality. There are people who are still healing and they may not have the mindset of resilience that you just expressed, which is there’s goodness in what’s coming because when somebody is still in the midst of pain, they’re not going to recognize that they’re out of the the the fire just yet. There are people who think that we’ve gone beyond it, and they’ve become immune to whatever weakness COVID has brought on whether it was the virus itself, or the weakness that, you know, brought us to our knees economically, right, in every sense of the word we were at the you know, we we knelt before this small, invisible virus, and we recognize that we’re not the mind humans that we are. And then you have the people like you who have actually recognized that out of every catastrophe or out of every every act that happens within the world, whether it’s a tornado or a hurricane or a you know, a sickness, that we get to choose how we respond to it, we can either lament for the rest of our lives, and it’s okay to heal that way. Or, and we can choose to heal. So I think you’re, when you talk about the 48 years that you spend, and then the combinated what in what you recently experienced during COVID and your awakening you’ve chosen you’ve been very intentional about the choose that you want to heal moving forward. So I think for those of us who are still healing, we need to accept to give them the space to heal so that they can heal and be whole and in their growth and coming out of this for those who have forgotten what it was like two years ago, when every auto manufacturer and any sort of you know can you know provider of a service or good was campaigning to us we care about you don’t make your car pay but for the next, you know, 60 months, we got you, right. And now it’s like, make a car payment, you know, with 4% interest. So they’ve forgotten what you know, the charity that they offered, because they saw that we were going through this. So some leaders, some people have gone to the other extreme, which as it’s behind them, and it’s no longer reality, right. And I think there are, again, people like you who recognize that we’re continuing to, to heal. And we’re not out of this yet. And even when we are, we’ll always have the reality of something as great as COVID, or the monkey pox, or the next thing that’s going to bring us down to our knees. And that’s why we refer to this as humility in our humanity, when we remain humble, we recognize that we’re not the incredible, powerful, right, I will be here forever with all my power and right, we just really make ourselves humble in front of something that’s greater than us. And I think that’s what makes great leaders is for them to bring that sense of strength, and valor and courage. And yet to be humble enough to say, I don’t know, I don’t have all the answers. And no, I don’t have a crystal ball. But it’s to have the courage to take calculated risks to move forward. And I think that’s where emotional intelligence comes in, is we may not have the clarity of the crystal ball, but we need to have the clarity of our confidence. And how do we do this together? How do we do it so that we find Win Win opportunities? And it’s not just about me?

Adam Baruh  16:29

Yeah. So so now let’s take the opportunity. Let’s let’s go back a little bit, let’s talk about the work that you do today, and how you got there. So I know there’s a backstory. And I know you, you know, because we spoke before you talked about, you know, the political, your, your political goals that you had set out to to enter politics. So give us give us your background, and what ultimately, you know, what you were doing before you got into the work you’re doing today as an executive coach, focused around emotional intelligence and leadership, and then you know, what got you to the place you are today?

Mohamed Hammoud  17:09

Sure. And so, the political foray was actually something very recent. And anyone who’s listening, I’m really glad that I didn’t get this for many reasons, then, and I’ll share a few of them with you in a moment. But I emotional intelligence has been around for a very long time, we just didn’t call it whatever it was, right? Just like, you know, we haven’t, you know, an IQ, we have EQ, and so our ability to relate to others to go through the process of knowing ourselves so that we can know what’s around us. And we can create relationships with people who share this earth with us. That’s really what emotional intelligence comes down to, you become aware of yourself or the needs of others, and you create relationships where everyone is thriving. So I went through many things as a as an immigrant, as someone who didn’t fit in, in this country, somebody had to change their names a few times and their identities so that I could fit in feel like I belong. And you only make sense of these things. When you look in retrospect, you don’t make sense of them, as you’re going through this, people are starting to do that now. And that’s why there are people who are speaking out, and maybe coaches like me, who are helping people make sense out of it. But when you’re in the midst of a pandemic, or something’s dramatic, you don’t have all the answers, you don’t have that clarity. And so when I was going through this, I didn’t know there was something called Emotional intelligence. But I started realizing that I wasn’t going to get better and to become stronger and more confident, and become a better person and a better quote unquote, leader, until I realized that I needed to know myself and my aspirations and what made me tick, what ticks me off what are the habits that helped me achieve certain milestones and goals in my life. And it was an ongoing process. And it continues to be for anyone who follows me on my LinkedIn, they’ll see that I changed my tagline, often because as soon as I learned, and I realized I can offer something different. I change that perspective. So it’s an ongoing process. With regards to the politics, it was that drive of high social responsibility, wanting to help everybody in the community. I thought politics, you know, I was already a coach and working with companies in training around strategic narrative and how they tell compelling stories to their employees and their clients and working with them on creating inclusive cultures. I got into the coaching, you know, 2018, I started doing some coaching, then. You know, and then in 2019, I was approached and asked if I would run for a federal Member of Parliament, that’s kind of like what you would call a senator. No, not a senator. Sorry. What do you call that in the

Adam Baruh  19:40

Congress or something?

Mohamed Hammoud  19:41

Congress? Thank you. And so member of Congress and I did I ran, I lost I got close I got second place, but I want in the hearts of people and I want for myself because I learned our wanting to remind you I got a huge hit to the ego because I didn’t win and therefore I personally He took it like, Oh, I lost. So I was approached again for an election that happened a year and a half later. And I wanted to prove to myself that I had enough resilience to go at this again, I did, and I lost again. A second time I lost, it took me rather than the six months through to recuperate from the first time, it took me about six hours. And it was actually very relieved, I knew going into the second election that I would lose, I had that feeling because the numbers spoke to us. However, I knew that there was a bigger reason that God was playing in this, whether it was my aging mom who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you know, just recently, whether it’s the changing dynamics in our family and needing to be there for my family. So when it comes to social responsibility, you need to make sure that while you want to help the people next door and down the street and around, you know, in the other town, you need to help people closest to you. First, you need to help yourself first. So you talked about mental health, you know, when you’re on a plane, they tell you first to put your mask on, so that you can be of use to the person next to you. And I say to people, this isn’t being selfish, this is being smart, when it comes to your mental health, take care of yourself, become the strongest, most resilient view, so that you can bring value to those around you whether they’re your family, your your partner, your pet, your co workers, people in your community. So my next phase is not in politics. Now for a very long time. It’s to do what I’m doing now with coaching and training, creating inclusive cultures and team building, and just really focusing on me and my family. And so it’s a mix of both of those scenarios. But I really believe that we make the biggest impact when we impact those closest to us, because the ripple effect is greater than you know, when you look at the ripple, the 100th ripple is a lot smaller than the one that culminated from the stone causing the the, you know, the first, second and third ripple. So people closest to me will feel most of the impact. And I need to make sure that I’m creating an environment where we’re reacting and responding to change in our environment, in the most positive, healthy way possible.

Adam Baruh  22:08

You know, so I want to touch on something that’s really important that, that you were just explaining. And it goes, it also kind of ties in with the pandemic, and you know, relating and also to your election losses, how the first time it was a big tear, a big hit to your ego, the second time, not so much. So I wanted to spend some time talking about emotional intelligence, and really what it means and how it it gave you as you develop your emotion as you develop your emotional intelligence. You know, how it gave you that ability in how you’re responding to negative events, you know, because I think hardship is here for a purpose, right? Things aren’t that as you said before, we’re not meant to just have it’s not one big party life. Like, would that be fun all the time? You know, it gives contrast, right? And it gives us, you know, for those that have the emotional intelligence and are paying attention, you know, it gives us the ability to learn and become more self aware, perhaps and, and, you know, the next time something bad happens instead of freaking out, like, oh, okay, well, what’s the lesson in this? What am I? What am I supposed to learn from this? How can I improve from this? So, you know, in your words, tell us, you know, where emotional intelligence came to be for you, and, and how, how it helped you in getting through not just the pandemic, but, you know, the elections and even other aspects of your life, like, you know, dealing with your mom who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s, like, um, you know, I have to think that having a heightened sense of emotional intelligence is giving you that tool set to, to work through that.

Mohamed Hammoud  23:49

And thank you for allowing me to share. So I’ll speak from a personal perspective, and I’ll, you know, I’ll share how you know, the conversations I have with clients as well. Because I’d be remiss not to say that I learned from my clients, as much as I hope they learn from the conversations we have, when I’m training people and you know, in an environment where there are multiple people, I will say, I’m, you know, I’m stand on the side, and that’s the next stage on the stage and the wisdom in the room, whether virtual or in person is, you know, there’s a lot more wisdom in the room than there is at the front of the room. If you’re facilitating a session, I always tell people, you know, there’s a bit of wisdom up here, but there’s a lot of wisdom where you said, so let’s share so that we could all learn from our collective learning. So when it comes to emotional intelligence, you can read any of the books that have back here on emotion intelligence, you can certainly read gentleman’s who gave us the terminology that we know it as today. And I tell people, it’s a great read and you’ll learn what I want to do as I say, I want to simplify emotional intelligence for people so I’ve got different ways that we do that because basically, emotional intelligence comes to five pillars or components self awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills by bringing it down to Hey, it to know yourself, get to know others and create relationships. At 13, I started learning other languages or even when I was younger, but I’ll never forget I was on the train, I met this beautiful girl who only spoke Polish. Or sorry, who spoke Polish didn’t speak English, I didn’t speak Polish always spoke French. So we, we connected. And from there, I always wanted to learn other languages so that I could break down the linguistic barrier so that I can connect with people. Emotional Intelligence breaks down the barriers of not knowing how to connect and gives you the tools, but you cannot connect with another person. If you don’t have commonality, you have to have a common language. So I’m telling you how the commonality of knowing how to look in the mirror and to see yourself and to see the values that drive your behaviors and your actions to not able to interpret or make sense of what others are going through. All we do through through our day to day interactions with others is find common ground to come together through empathy, understand what makes people tick and what takes them off. But we can’t understand that unless we have a common language. And that’s what EQ gives you. It starts with clarity and self awareness that you learn about yourself and learn what motivates you, you’ll learn how you connect with others, you do sort of diagnosis. And then you learn about what makes others. So I have something called the Four Ds and the four L’s you diagnose yourself, you determine what are the steps, you develop a program, and then you do it. Those are the four ds of self awareness of, you know, growing yourself. When it comes to others. I call it the four hours. You listen, when you listen, you learn when you learn your love, and then you learn you know, your lead. So why I think emotional intelligence is important. It gives you that capability to connect and to create community. Now, I’m going to tell you, I know the offer that I gave you the four DS and the force and the four hours, but I’ll tell you about the seven C’s. So when I coach people, I start with clarity, if you don’t have clarity, you can’t take you know a synopsis of where you are in the present moment that clarity helps you get that self awareness that allows you to look in the mirror, and to reverse the view so that you see yourself playing and truthfully, so that you understand what makes you who you are. When you have clarity. It’s like getting on a bike, you know your destination, you start riding, you take off the the training wheels, you gain confidence and you start moving. And the more confidence you gain by you know, having been brave is one thing, but having courage means you can take calculated risks. You know, bravery just allows you to jump out in front of an animal and say, Here I am, you know, cheer you. Courage allows you to understand how to go around the animal and prepare yourself fight or flight, right, it allows you to have stronger intuition of how to deal with a situation. So you’ve got clarity and a lot you know, with clarity, you know where you’re going, you gain confidence, you get the skills and the competencies to move forward. Courage helps you build that track record. But then what do you do with that while you need to be consistent, because you have the you know, the if you know how to ride a bike, but you don’t know where you’re going, and you don’t not have you don’t have the skills to get there and the courage to move you from A to B to z, then you need to be consistent so that you keep going every single day. And when you get consistent, you create a certain level of commitment to, you know, be loyal to your outcomes. So those five C’s work on the you know, the dependency that what, if you follow Stephen Covey, we talked about that, you know, first you look at your dependencies, and you look, before you are independent, you know, the private victory, you’re focusing on yourself first. So those five C’s work on the private victory, when it comes to the public victory, we start talking about connecting, and community, if you connect with others, without having your clarity around yourself, without understanding your own skill set, without understanding who you are, and what makes it tick what ticks you off, you can create authentic relationships and others, they’re not balanced, you’re either going to be arrogant, and you’re going to tell people what to do commanded role, or you’re going to be ignorant, and you’re not going to have the right speech and the right language to communicate with them. So you need to work on your private victory to allow you to connect with people genuinely. And when you connect with others, you create community and communities where we need to be right that community brings us together through this collective. So yes, I know the alphabet, the four DS the four R’s helps to work on emotional challenges. But there is that roadmap that I talked about, and it really takes you from your private victory of starting with clarity and self awareness to ending with not ending, but in culminating and community because this is an ongoing process. There’s no there. It’s a, you know, it’s a constant learning, and it’s an ongoing process of becoming a better version of yourself as excuse a cliche there. But at the end of the day, if you’re not willing to grow and learn, you’re not doing anything.

Adam Baruh  29:55

Yeah, it’s so critical in leadership and you know, the relatability? And I mean, it’s another thing that I think the pandemic has helped, you know, foster a little bit. I mean, I really wish it created more unity, globally. You know, we just live in such a divided time right now. But I mean, when you could, you know, and one of the other guests I had on the podcast, we talked about reacting and responding. If we could respond more instead of reacting, you know, it. And what that looks like is, you know, okay, so this is kind of a tough situation, like, let me try to let me try to understand and ask the right question. So I can kind of see where this person is coming from, right. It’s just going to foster better communication, it’s going to foster better relationships, you know, you have an article on your website, called don’t get hijacked by your emotions, and it kind of plays into what I was just talking about. And I mean, I’ll give you a, like a very, you know, near term example of how I experienced this. So I’ve been running my company suite centric for five and a half years. And I can tell you with certainty that, you know, in the early part of running my business, definitely there were times where I did get hijacked by emotions, like, you know, a tough conversation with an employee a tough conversation with a vendor or a customer, I think, you know, I was, I could feel it, I could feel in my body, and I was like, ready to just like, explode, right? I think I do a better job. Now. I’m not perfect. Still working on it. I’m at least aware, I have the self awareness to Okay. Let’s try to understand again, what the lesson is here. So like, this week, there was a very tough conversation with a client that I had to have. And I mean, this concept of getting emotionally hijacked, or, you know, having the amygdala hijack it was, it was on my mind before I even entered this conversation. So I made sure to kind of, you know, come get myself in a nice state, did some, a little bit of breathing exercises, some, some short meditation before I jumped onto this phone call. And I think it worked out well. And what it allowed me to do is, try to just do the best to understand the other side and where they’re coming from. So talk to us a little bit about, you know, the future of leadership, and why, you know, in your opinion, why emotional intelligence is so vital to the future of leadership.

Mohamed Hammoud  32:42

Adam, I love the way you gave that example. And it’s something that you said, and I, you know, I’ll repeat it. I’m not perfect, but I’m more aware. And if anyone tells you that, they solve the problem, and they’ve got the solution. And in every situation, they act, in the best way possible. They’re lying to you. Yeah, so we’re all learning. You know, just because I’m a coach, Cindy, and I do this well, I asked my kids before the interview, we were talking about this, right. And it’s when the people you’re most comfortable with. So when I’m training a group of people, I say to them, how many of you would get the pink slip? If you behaved at work, the way you behave at home, and depends where you should feel a certain level of flexibility. If you get away with more at home, than you do at work, right? Some people get away with at work more than you do at home. But if you know, for most of us, it’s work that we’re on our better behavior, we have a different persona at work at home, we think we can get away with a lot of things as a father, as someone who practices most intelligence, our least every second, I try to be aware of it. But I still make these horrible mistakes where I threatened my kids, oh, I’m taking away your phone. Right? Oh, you didn’t get the mark, right? And then I said, What am I doing? I would never talk to a client like this. Why am I talking to this person? Who is my flesh who I would literally die for? Right? And it’s because we we take those relationships for granted. So if you you know, let me let me put a caveat here. The opposite of success is not failure. It’s boredom. And when you apply boredom to our relationships, when you start becoming bored with your relationships, and you become very, you know, you start taking things for granted, whether it’s with your partner or your children, or a business partner that you know really well and have great trust with when you become to relax in that situation. You take things for granted. So when you recognize the value that somebody brings into a conversation, whether they’re your eight year old child, 18 year old child, your eight year old mother listened to those people and to their situations, just like you said, you train yourself before the meeting, so that you are prepared and even if you misbehaved if you, you know, fell short of your expectations for your meeting, that level of self awareness allowed you to behave in a way better than you might have behaved. Were you even more hijacked? So I often say to people, Hey, you screwed up, you got hijacked by your emotions during a situation, it’s okay, you recognize that. That’s a start, okay, you screwed up, but you recognize it. My fear is with people who are they work with some of these people, and I’m not disrespecting them. But that’s why they come to me. It’s the people who fail to recognize, you know, usually they’re alpha male, they’re dominant. They’re not all men, but they’re alpha male. And so they’re, they’re dominant, they’re like my way or the highway, wait a minute, there’s not even an off ramp on my highway. And they refuse to see that there are other people who have different perspective. So it’s taking people like that, and help them understand. You are a human, you will make mistakes. Recognize that and recognize that it’s okay. So I divorced them from the relationships with others first, and help them understand how important it is to recognize themselves and their humility. And say, It’s okay, you’re going to screw up, you’re going to make mistakes. But get to that platform first, so that you can understand. You’re human. Yeah, you’re right. So when you work, again, getting to the private victory, getting into the clarity and confidence and the courage when you allow a person to grow. And to recognize they need to work on themselves. First, they need to polish that mirror so that they can see a truer reflection of who they are. Now they can start looking around them and seeing reflections of other people within themselves, they can relate to them. And that’s what emotional intelligence does, it gives you that commonality to be able to relate, say, I don’t know if they’re experiencing the same things because they have different experiences, different backgrounds. However, through empathy, I was able to walk in their shoes, I was able to feel what they’re feeling. And this is what I think I would like to feel now I’m going to add, I’m going to be there in a way that they need me to be. So you’ll listen, you’ll learn about their needs, you start to show compassion and love and allow them to come into their own leadership journey by simply being there for them.

Adam Baruh  37:14

Yeah, a couple of things come to mind that, that I’d like to discuss. So my coach, her name is Kristin Taylor. Um, you know, she, early on in working with her, started working on an exercise that I think was created by Tara Brach. It’s the it’s the rain model. And I think I always botch this, but I think it stands for recognize, allow, investigate, and then nurture. And it’s the last part nurture that I want to touch on. Because, you know, in the conversation here today, you’ve mentioned about, you know, putting on your mask first on the airplane before others taking care of yourself, and your mental health needs allow, allow you to, you know, better take care of others. And, you know, for me that the end part of rain, the nurturer was, unfortunately, with me, so missing for my first 48 years, I think I’ve been doing a good job practicing it for the last year, you know, having been introduced on this model by Kristin. But, you know, I, one of the things I suffered from a lot was a lot of negative self talk, I would not nurture myself, right? You know, I think you’re spot on, when you when you talk about the importance of taking care of self, it’s not a selfish thing. It equips you with being able to, you know, be in a better space to, you know, be open to the feedback from others. And that that dialogue, right. And so, you know, one of the things that now, this led to, and this is the second point that I wanted to make, is this greater inclusion of diversity of thought in the workplace and diversity in general. I mentioned in the intro, psychological diversity, you know, that self nurturing that self talk, you know, once once I started working on that, and really, you know, giving that gift to myself, it opened up the door to be more open to the different ideas of different people, the different backgrounds and, and so on, you have an article on this, I think about diversity is a fact inclusion is a choice. So, you know, I’d like to have you talk a little bit about, you know, that relationship between, you know, the nurturing the taking care of self and how it opens the door to diversity and inclusion.

Mohamed Hammoud  39:42

So if you’re in a dark space, you don’t see any of that diversity. You know, the minute you shed some light and you get clarity, you realize diversity is all around you. It’s what you decide to do with that knowledge that helps you get to the next step, and it’s where, you know, we’re seeing the Right now it’s hot after George Floyd. We’re seeing it after agent hate. And you’re in London, we had a Muslim family who was run down the sidewalk and a year ago, and few days, right will be commemorating that tragedy. So the the tragedy in Nevada, right, like every single day there are, there’s darkness around us. When we shed light around the diversity, whether it’s psychological diversity, whether it’s physical diversity, whether it’s diversity in our ethnicities, there’s over 40 qualities to different kinds of diversity. And we need to start recognizing all of them. Just like there’s incredible creation in the oceans, we haven’t discovered them yet. They’ll be other things, the diversity that we’ll discover, but we need to make an intentional choice to recognize the diversity because otherwise it’s around you, but you do nothing with it. So when you shed light, and when you polish the mirror, and you start looking at that mirror, and you see your reflection, and then you start seeing just how diverse others are in terms to your own reflection. So you start looking around you intentionally wanting to see the reflection of yourself and others. That’s the empathy that brings you together. There’s the big so what okay, you know, people, you know, they call it D, and I, diversity inclusion. And then you’ve got some people who call it D. E, and I, that it’s about equity. Yes. Because when you make an intentional choice to recognize that people are diverse, and they have different ideas, and they show up differently in a community in a home and the workplace. They’re still the so well, well, yeah, I want you know, just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be getting paid like, like he does, or just because she’s black doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be getting paid like this guy does, right? So it’s a matter of, okay, make an intelligent, intentional choice that everyone’s treated equitably, I don’t say equally equitably, because it only means that, regardless of their skill set, I think equitably looks to the diversity equally looks at the skill sets. So equity means that we’re recognize people’s rights, based on the fact that they bring to the equation saying things that others do, then you still gotta so what well, that so what is belonging, because it’s not enough to recognize diversities around you and to take an intentional, make an intentional decision to recognize it and to treat people equitably, you need to make sure that there’s enough room at the table, that you’ve made enough chairs available, that the circle of safety is wide enough, not by your own definition, but by definition that others will bring to that diversity, so that you widen it, and people will come into that circle of safety and through the center where it’s where they feel most safe, sit down at the table with you. And they feel like they belong, not by your terms and standards by their terms and standards. And then these voices around the table will be heard. Now, is there something beyond belonging? I think, you know, when we recognize that we need to take away the psychological fear from being at a table of people who don’t think or feel or speak like us, because that’s what happens when you sit around the table. You want to hear that diversity. But the fear of being shut down, takes away everything, it takes it back to zero. So I you know, you could, you could argue that the next step beyond belonging is creating psychological safety. And we’ve talked a lot about it during the Great resignation and right, because we say, Oh, we do a lot of work around diversity, and we’re being very inclusive. Right, I’ll go read a book and learn about what it’s like to be black in America. I don’t think that’s enough. You know, are you making sure that black people are getting their, you know, rights, that they’re, you know, equitable rights? And are you making sure that there’s enough representation of black people in places where they feel they belong to the add to the conversation black? As an example, you could turn into Two Spirit indigenous and two Muslims into Jews into a LGBTQ, right, whatever the minority versus the majority seems to be. But at the end of the day, why do we need to do that? Because we need to create psychologically safe spaces where people feel they belong, they’re heard, they’re valued, they’re seen. And I validate myself, I don’t need to wait for others to validate me. But if there isn’t a safe enough place and space, where I can be seen, heard and valued, I won’t be able to validate myself because I’m always having this fight this battle to show up, and I don’t exist if the space isn’t safe enough. So I think we can use emotional intelligence to help create those safe spaces because it is you know, you talk about empathy. You know, what’s the motivation for that? Well, if I allow, if I make space, have to be careful enough my language allowed because now puts me in the dominant, right? But if I make space if I recluse myself and move back, allow for others. Now I’m benefiting from the diversity that’s in the room with me. I’m shedding light. And I don’t want to stay in the dark so I say to to everyone, turn the light on yourself. Turn it on others. l Learn what you can create by having a place where people feel that they belong, they’re valued, they’re heard they’re seen, at the end of the day, if COVID hasn’t taught us to do that more effectively, I’d hate to see what the next thing it’s going to be, you know, we’re, we’re right now talking about, potentially, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. But we’re talking about, you know, the war in Ukrainian and in Ukraine and, you know, nuclear war? And is that eventually going to happen in our lifetime? I don’t know. But if you said to me, two, three years ago, something like COVID would shut down the entire Earth, and people would start working remotely. And all this sort of stuff, I’d say, Are you reading a Margaret Atwood novel, it happened. And so I don’t want to wait for the next pandemic, or the next crisis, or the next war is going to teach us that we need to be, we need to find that humility in our shared and collective humanity.

Adam Baruh  45:51

I mean, that’s really it. And this is, it’s not necessarily something new. I mean, the concept that, you know, a truly healthy company and organization is one that embraces all diversity of thought and ideas. And, you know, I’ve worked for a number of companies where conformity was dominant, like toeing the company line, like, you know, even you know, going to like a trade show, and every, you know, all of your co workers were all wearing the same thing, you know, promoting the company, I don’t know, it’s, it’s, it’s been always a weird thing to me, like just this idea of conformity. So how, in your opinion, can leaders transform their companies to be more diverse, when perhaps they’ve had this culture of conformity and toeing the company line.

Mohamed Hammoud  46:48

Nurture, you know, come back to what you said, nurture that environment? Listen to people. So when, you know, I’ll give you the four L’s when leaders listen, they never literally learn, when they learn. They practice compassion and empathy. And I call that love. You know, I needed to find that out, right. And when you lead leadership is not about you. It’s seldom if ever about you, it’s about others. And here’s the thing. I work with leaders, my, you know, I’m all about finding leaders. But you know, what, let’s cut BS and recognize this isn’t just about leaders, because you know, leadership is a mindset. For some, you know, if you if you’re someone who thinks that leadership is a position, and this is about certain people in an organization or community who hold power, you know, this is a mindset that I want my 15 year old boy to have, so that he approaches his relationships with other genders and other friends and people in general, he approaches them with the idea of everyone has something of value to contribute, I want my daughter to recognize that. So she’s not living in a world where she thinks only men dominate, because she has a really hard time looking in certain cultures where they’re patriarchal. And therefore she fights back and says, I’m a woman, therefore, I don’t have the same rights and privileges as men do. You know, I want everyone in our communities to be able to look at leadership as an opportunity to grow. And it’s not just about workplace and, and position and making more money. And so when people come to work, I say, are you ready to embrace that sort of learning and to turn the mirror inwards and start looking at yourself, because if you’re just here to talk to me about your role and your next position, and you know, your next paycheck, I might feel you because we’re going to talk about a lot more, I’m going to challenge you to learn a lot more than that it starts with your persona at home with who you are as a human being, and how you showing up in different places to see persona because we’re one person, our personalities, a combination of the various personas that we bring to the you know, to how we show up. And if people aren’t ready to embrace that, then they’re not a fit for me, and I’m not a fit for them. So I think when it comes to leaders, we need to recognize that that’s such a diverse and broad term. And it should be a mindset that we’re encouraging everyone to embrace, regardless of their gender, regardless of whether they work or not. Some of the greatest leaders need to be the you know, if you’re a woman, or a stay at home parent, let’s say, put it that way. You need to be a leader to be a role model only by example for your kids when you take them to the fair, and it says three bucks to get on a ride. But you buy a ticket for a buck 50 And your kid sees that you swindled the the attendant. You’ve just set the example that it’s okay to cheat and to lie and steal. And meanwhile you tell your kids don’t smoke, you smoke, right. So lead by example. be authentically true to your word and milkAsk others because at the end of the day, everything is based on trust. Right? Don’t give it away, make people earn trust with you, but then reciprocate.

Adam Baruh  50:08

I want to close with a couple final questions, one of which is the relationship of authenticity to leadership.  You know, I think, in terms of how I’ve witnessed in the past, you know, in companies that I’ve worked for, and even just, you know, for the first few years of running my company, I definitely have spoken about some impostor syndrome I have where I thought I had to be somebody else as a leader. But really, now I, I try, I see such value in bringing my authenticity into my leadership style, and being vulnerable. So when you’re coaching people how, I guess how much do you talk about authenticity and the importance of it in leadership?

Mohamed Hammoud  50:56

It was a 1.1, part of my tagline on my website, and my social media, and from time to time, they’ll come and go. So even though it’s not part of the tagline, it’s still part of the conversation, because I don’t want to connect with people who aren’t aware of their journey to become more authentic person. And I’ll tell you why I say journey, because we there’s no such thing as there. And so I don’t set people up for failure, making them think that they can’t make mistakes. And we let’s look at leadership in terms of a workplace environment, we look to our leaders, our CEOs, our directors, whatever you want to call them, people hold certain positions where they influence the company in a certain way, right. And they influence our relationships with our clients and with workers and the stories that we tell. So that sort of leader, man, woman, whatever you want, especially when you search for goodness sakes, except that they’re human. And don’t put them on a pedestal. Just, they have a role. They’re filling, fulfilling that role. You know, don’t give them respect, just because they’re in a particular role. Love them, because they’re authentically trying to be the best person that they can be and humble enough to say to you, I don’t know, but let me learn. So I think the greatest leaders are the ones who don’t lie to us about, you know, having a crystal ball. But they’re theoretically telling us, this is what I know, have trust in me, let’s do this together, let’s move forward. When you look at a pack of wolves, you’ve got, you know, that the leader of the pack is the one that’s at the very end to keep everyone safe. But you’ve got, you know, wolves in the center to keep, you know, in the middle of the pack to keep the old and the SEC also looked after, and then you’ve got the lead wolves are also breathing, you know, that we’re where we’re going. So it’s a team effort. Yes, there’s a lead. And you know, the lead is not where we traditionally see them at the front. But it’s a team effort. And we work together to keep everyone safe and protected. But we move forward. Wolves are not stagnant. Right? They they move and they hunt and right. And so we need to look at when we’re in an organization, how do we brave forward? How do we do that, so that we have people who are willing to move us forward and they make mistakes, we, you know, they’re vulnerable, we give them the space to recognize that we’ve made a mistake, but let’s grow from that experience. And when they don’t know, allow them to say to us truthfully, in a genuine way, I don’t have the answers. This is what COVID did to us. World leaders actually stood up and various Parliament’s and their government institutions, and they said, We don’t know what the future is going to hold on, we’re gonna get through this together, where they started with the big Bs is where now they’re kind of going dark on their words and all efficients and I have to learn this and a great way of reframing. They won’t answer the question that you answer this or that you that you ask the key, either saying the question in a different way, or responding with the previous answer, because they don’t know. And I would love to coach those politicians to say, for God’s sakes, I know you can’t say I don’t know. But it’s okay to say I don’t know. And politicians in the entire world collectively said that in April of 2020. So we don’t know. And it’s when we’re vulnerable enough to admit that we don’t know about were added together. And we’ll find out together. If you bring that mentality to our workplace, you’ll be a stronger leader because people will trust you. People won’t trust you when you be as dumb. People won’t trust you when you pretend to know things that you don’t know. No, people won’t trust. If you say I don’t know, and you leave it there. They want to know that you’re courageous enough to learn and to lead up and that’s where you build trust is you you see that, you know, authenticity has a balance, right? If you look at the the the fulcrum it balances off the unknowing and the knowing. And great leadership is where you bring those two unknowns together. And are those two parts together and you’re able to create harm. Any, that’s all about imbalances between two tensions, you know, we always think we need to strive toward balance, but it’s striving towards harmony because harmony is what you get when the tension between the two are equal. Right? And then you are able to create harmony and harmony is what you get when you have trust in people.

Adam Baruh  55:19

I love it. Well, let’s close with that. But But one last thing, how can people find where you are on the internet or read more about you? I know you mentioned LinkedIn.

Mohamed Hammoud  55:30

So I hope you will share the various places they can connect with me I have a website that’s That’s where I provide training and so forth for you know, it’s a small boutique agency I work with small to midsize organizations, they can go to Learn about emotional intelligence training, coaching, facilitation, and keynote speaking. And the best place is just look me up on LinkedIn. Connect with me on LinkedIn, let’s have a conversation. Let’s connect authentically and learn more about each other. And if you’re whether you’re looking for a coach or somebody to bounce some ideas off, that’s what we’re there for make the world a better place.

Adam Baruh  56:11

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for being my guest here today really enjoyed getting to know you in the various conversations we’ve had. So thank you again.

Mohamed Hammoud  56:20

Thank you very much. Take care Adam.

Adam Baruh  56:23

Mohamed Hammoud is an Executive Coach and Trainer with a unique background in emotional intelligence and Transformative Leadership. He works with entrepreneurs to accelerate their leadership potential and scale their businesses and with small to midsize organizations to develop their leaders and design inclusive and equitable cultures of belonging. Since launching desire to lead in 2017. He has expanded his offerings to include keynote speaking, and the robust coaching program that helps clients develop greater self awareness to drive transformational change and increase personal effectiveness. You could read more about Mohamed on our website, change. Our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti you can listen to more of Shane’s music at If you have a story to tell about emotional intelligence and making a difference in leadership, or if you want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at Thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time on The Change.

EIQ Media, LLC  57:34

The Change is produced and distributed by EIQ media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship and more.