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ET Project \ Podcasts

ET-091: Unlocking Emotional Intelligence: Key lessons for effective leadership and personal growth

With Mr. Rodolfo Parlati

ET-091: A conversation with Mr. Rodolfo Parlati

and your host Wayne Brown on March 05, 2024

Episode notes: A conversation with Mr. Rodolfo Parlati

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

And I should start by saying Buongiorno! As we are heading to another of my favorite locations, Italy. In fact, southern Italy, to the city of Naples, to connect with our guest, Mr. Rodolfo Parlati. Rodolfo is a professional career transition and executive coach, a leadership trainer, mentor and speaker. He helps people who want to undertake a path aimed at discovering their potential to achieve their personal and professional goals.

In short, giving shape to all of these. He supports those who want to start such a journey and assist them to overcome the obstacles and set new challenges. In 2021, Rodolfo was a finalist in the prestigious CREA Global Awards.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

Let’s say that I’ve always been a very curious person, so my natural curiosity always pushed me to explore different fields in my life. In fact, I tried many different things, I’ve always been a very shy guy in my childhood in particular. So I never thought of being on a stage, for example, or speaking in public. For example, I do remember my teacher at school directly put me apart from the list of the possible actors for the plays at the primary school. So it’s something that I never expected to do one day. In fact, when I was 18 years old, I was pulled to participate for a play, a charity play, and I began to start my acting activity. So I began when I was 18 and I’m still an active actor for charity plays. So I overcame my fear of speaking in public, my fear of interacting with the unknown people. This opened my mind to explore and overcome my personal limitations, my biases, for example. I attended university, so I obtained a degree in business administration, then I explored marketing…

Today’s Guest: MR RODOLFO PARLATI

In 2022, Rodolfo was the winner of the Book for Peace IADPES Award. And in 2023, he was nominated by LinkedIn as the community top voice for leadership and life as well as business coaching. Rodolfo has been an executive contributor for Brains Magazine and featured in multiple other publications.

Some of the topics that Rodolfo loves to train and speak on are effective leadership, time management, work-life balance, relationship improvement, career transition, communication, efficacy and personal development. So as always, Team ET, we do our best to bring you a wealth of insights. And today is no exception.

Let’s take the plunge yet again and strengthen our knowledge through the lessons shared by our guest, Mr. Rodolfo Parlati, as we explore how improving our emotional intelligence skills enhances connections, fosters active listening and even assists us to address conflict.

Final words from Rodolfo:

I simply wanted to share my favorite quote. I love quotes, as you can see on my posts basically are based on quotes from which I take inspiration. My favorite one is, every accomplishment starts with decision to try. And this summarize bit the story of my life. This phrase led me to do and explore so many different fields in my life. So never be afraid of doing different things because the impossibility is made basically in your mind, hard things become easy. So always stay confident…

0:00:00.0 Wayne Brown: Hello, I’m your host Wayne Brown, and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for Executive Talent all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. And I should start by saying Buongiorno! As we are heading to another of my favorite locations, Italy. In fact, southern Italy, to the city of Naples, to connect with our guest, Mr. Rodolfo Parlati. Rodolfo is a professional career transition and executive coach, a leadership trainer, mentor and speaker. He helps people who want to undertake a path aimed at discovering their potential to achieve their personal and professional goals. In short, giving shape to all of these. He supports those who want to start such a journey and assist them to overcome the obstacles and set new challenges. In 2021, Rodolfo was a finalist in the prestigious CREA Global Awards.

0:00:58.6 WB: In 2022, he was the winner of the Book for Peace IADPES Award. And in 2023, he was nominated by LinkedIn as the community top voice for leadership and life as well as business coaching. Rodolfo has been an executive contributor for Brains Magazine and featured in multiple other publications. Some of the topics that Rodolfo loves to train and speak on are effective leadership, time management, work-life balance, relationship improvement, career transition, communication, efficacy and personal development. So as always, Team ET, we do our best to bring you a wealth of insights. And today is no exception. Let’s take the plunge yet again and strengthen our knowledge through the lessons shared by our guest, Mr. Rodolfo Parlati, as we explore how improving our emotional intelligence skills enhances connections, fosters active listening and even assists us to address conflict.

0:01:58.8 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:02:15.7 WB: All right, well, welcome to today’s broadcast for Team ET. Good to have you back. And today we’re going to be delving into the power of emotional intelligence and also putting a bit of a spotlight on the role of communication under that broader emotional intelligence banner. So we’re going to explore how improving your emotional intelligence skills enhances connections, fosters active listening and even assists us to address conflict. So here today, as you heard me say in the intro, helping us to navigate through this journey, I’d really like to welcome our guest all the way from Naples, Mr. Rodolfo Parlati.

0:03:00.5 Rodolfo Parlati: Thank you very much for the wonderful introduction and welcoming me as a guest of your wonderful podcast series. Thank you very much, Wayne.

0:03:08.2 WB: Thank you, Rodolfo. I appreciate the opportunity to connect. Rodolfo is from Italy. You’re sitting in Naples, I have to say, I’ve had the luxury of being a tourist in Italy, so I’ve really enjoyed my time there and Naples is not too far away from one of the most picturesque and dramatic coastlines that I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience, which is the Amalfi Coast.

0:03:37.2 RP: Yeah, absolutely. I think about… There’s one thing I would like to do is trekking, there’s a fantastic place, it’s a path between two places in the Amalfi Coast, it’s called the Path of Gods. You have to walk for about five kilometers to arrive to Positano on the coast and you can see a wonderful panorama of all the coasts, it’s absolutely fantastic. But at the moment, I still haven’t found someone who wants to accompany me. So you are absolutely welcome, I publicly invite you to join me in this path.

0:04:16.3 WB: Be careful what you wish for, I have a bad habit of turning up on people’s doorsteps. [chuckle] If you don’t mind, I’d really appreciate it if you can share a little bit about your career background.

0:04:30.3 RP: Let’s say that I’ve always been a very curious person, so my natural curiosity always pushed me to explore different fields in my life. In fact, I tried many different things, I’ve always been a very shy guy in my childhood in particular. So I never thought of being on a stage, for example, or speaking in public. For example, I do remember my teacher at school directly put me apart from the list of the possible actors for the plays at the primary school. So it’s something that I never expected to do one day. In fact, when I was 18 years old, I was pulled to participate for a play, a charity play, and I began to start my acting activity. So I began when I was 18 and I’m still an active actor for charity plays. So I overcame my fear of speaking in public, my fear of interacting with the unknown people. This opened my mind to explore and overcome my personal limitations, my biases, for example. I attended university, so I obtained a degree in business administration, then I explored marketing.

0:06:00.2 RP: I became a marketing consultant, and then I began working for a company in the administration field. At a certain point, after a sad event that hit my life because I lost my father, this event opened me a different path, my father was also my mentor, I remember that he always pushed me to try harder and overcome my limitations and be more confident in my possibilities. So at a certain point, I took a drastic decision, now I want to stop, I want to do something different. I want to give a meaning to my life. I began to explore the world by being more personal in LinkedIn, I begin interacting, I begin posting, sharing contents, asking for connection to perfect stranger people with absolutely no shyness and no insecurity. At the very beginning, I posted something about marketing because I’m very interested in that field. But a certain point I realized that something changed in the marketing that I was accustomed to manager-ship. But because I think something’s change in the interaction with the final clients, the perspective, the need the client feels, because I think nowadays we still have to please Google, the social networks first, then the final clients.

0:07:44.4 RP: I don’t relate anymore with this perspective, with this attitude. So I found myself due to a personal experience about personal development. I really loved it. I improved and I decide to join the personal development field. So I attended a course in the coaching. I became an associate coach, and I am also a member of the Italian Coaching Association. And then began studying, improving my experience and knowledge by attending courses, webinars, and so forth. And I also interacting with people, with my colleagues on LinkedIn in particular. So I learned many things by reading, by interacting with people, and making friends. Also, because I found that LinkedIn in particular is a very powerful tool to create valuable connections and relationships. I made so many friends, I really have many close friends. But the only thing that makes me sad, is that, most of them live on the other side of the world. [laughter] And maybe I’ll never meet them in person due to my personal experience with mentorship, because I found it very useful for myself, I decided to enter in mentoring, I became also a mentor.

0:09:08.5 WB: Yes.

0:09:08.8 RP: I joined an online platform, in which, mentors can share their services. It’s basically an honor for me to share my experience, my knowledge to people, to young people in particular, young managers, for example, that needs a sort of guidance on their personal and professional. I’m very happy to coach people, to mentor people, to be speaking in public. Also the fact of being still an actor, even if for charity, please, because I have the possibility to give two hours of fun to people. So I have fun doing it and I give two hours of fun to the public.

0:09:51.8 WB: That’s a nice introduction. And I’m wondering, maybe you can speak to your business that you have today and what is it you are specifically focused on? You know, what type of clients that you’re doing business with?

0:10:05.8 RP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Due to my basic background, I joined the career transition and executive field for coaching. I’ve always loved leadership in particular. I also have a leadership experience because I managed for eight years a group of nurses and physiotherapists that operate on the field on two different towns in my community. And I will coordinate them, I did everything. I solved the problems. The only thing that I didn’t was to sign the contracts, because I wasn’t the proprietor of the company but I managed completely everything. And it was a very important experience for me. Also, because I did it also during the first pandemic in 2020, so Italy had a very different situation because it was the very first country in Europe to seriously be affected by the COVID-19.

0:11:12.0 RP: I wore the same face mask for more than one week at the very beginning. So you can think and imagine about how I had to manage my fear and security about this new situation. And also doing the same with my collaborators. Trying to instill confidence, hope in each of them every day. It wasn’t very, very easy, but it was a success at the end of all situation. I didn’t work remotely. I remember I worked every day, I went to the office every day. I still remember, there were soldiers on the street. The street was completely empty, soldiers stopped the people around the street asking, “What are you doing here?” I also remember that it was just in that time that I realized that I didn’t want to let these difficult situations compromise myself and limit me in my personal development.

0:12:23.0 WB: I remember I still work at home, studying and decided to become a professional coach. And it was something that I like sharing with people. The only thing that we can control is our attitudes, the way we respond to external situations. If you think about the people who survived to the Holocaust, the camps in Germany, for example, people who really faced the very hard situation, they survived it. How? Because first, they didn’t let the situation limit their mind attitude. ‘Cause you think, how can I survive? What can I do to improve my current situation? So focus on the solution, not on the problem. Because you can see everywhere many people really get desperate because they cannot solve their problems. In an organization, people let fear and security to limit themself, but if you can focus on the solution, you already, you’re starting from a very positive point, I think this is a very, very important topic.

0:13:33.5 WB: Yes, for sure. And Rodolfo, allow me to add, you’re a very modest person in describing your business. When I was looking at the research, you’ve received so many distinguished awards for the work that you’re doing with your clients. So congratulations on that, thank you for the effort.

0:13:55.7 RP: Thank you, thank you very much. To say that basically I’m very happy when I know that I’ve had the possibility to do something good for others. I always try to be as much positive as possible in any possible situation, in the environment, at work, with colleagues, for example, I deal with clients, I have a smile attitude and I learned this from my theatrical experience, I learned how to have self-irony, so I tend to get laughed at about myself in any possible situation. So I tend to joke with people around me and this is also very useful to solve the problems and solve the difficult situations, if you approach them with a smile on your face, it’s easier.

0:14:49.0 WB: I agree with you. Well, let’s dive into our main topic today, which we both we spoke about briefly when we first connected. And that’s around this emotional intelligence, and I know it’s a subject that I’m keen to learn more about, and I’m sure our listeners are, so you’ve read some of Daniel Goldman’s work on emotional intelligence. Is there anything in particular, or has it influenced you in a certain way that you now utilize this with your clients? How does emotional intelligence factor into what you do?

0:15:30.0 RP: It has a very deep impact on myself, first because I learned over time and by practicing and learning coaching in particular, I learned how to deeply listen myself first. To understand which kind of emotion I feel in that precise moment. Because I think that you can see and find many people that say you should deny your emotions, but our emotions are part of ourselves, they make us humans.

0:16:10.7 WB: Yes.

0:16:11.1 RP: Otherwise we should be robots, okay? But emotions are what we are, so the key is in effectively manage them, to understand when they arise and feel and decide, is it useful for me in this moment? For example, if you get angry, you can perceive it and decide, what this could lead me. I could hurt someone, for example. I could hurt myself, or even get things worst. So you can recognize that and stop for a while and say, no, no, this is not useful for me. So calm down and restart.

0:16:58.2 WB: So if we think about the emotional intelligence pillars, so what you’re talking about first up is the self-awareness that you need to develop around those emotions. And then the self-regulation, how you react and how you deal with those emotions or changes in emotions.

0:17:20.8 RP: Absolutely. The first is self-awareness. But it’s also important to practice mindfulness because you perceive and live in the present moment. So you have to focus on other things from the future, from the past, because you lose something, you lose yourself when you do this.

0:17:43.6 WB: Yes, yeah.

0:17:44.3 RP: “I’m experiencing this in this right moment. I’m feeling this, I am this, this is precise moment. I don’t know what will happen in the future.” Another very important aspect for emotional intelligence is empathy. The ability to understand other feelings and emotions. And also the mental health state. The ability to welcome it, yes, because otherwise you could simply have a sympathy. The sympathy is more related to a feeling of pity but this is not useful for the person involved. If you can understand what the person is feeling in that right moment, you can act and react accordingly and show your compassion because we basically are… We are humans, we’re made of emotions, we can understand and feel what others perceive and do the right thing. I learnt how to be… And welcome people even if I don’t know them. I don’t have no more biases from people because biases are a simple limitation on welcoming people.

0:19:04.7 WB: That’s quite a skill though, to be able to do that. And part of the challenge that many people that I come across, and myself included, is we might recognize it, but being able to actually change ourself is a real art in itself, right? So you’ve spoken now about two more pillars. You’ve spoken about empathy as well as social awareness. So the social awareness is such an important factor, particularly for our listeners who are predominantly leaders, being able to be socially aware.

0:19:47.3 RP: Yeah. It’s absolutely important because we are living in a society, is so much connected. We are all connected to one another. So I think there is no more reason to stay isolated. If it was a mistake in the past, it was a worse mistake nowadays, I think. So it’s important to create meaningful relationships to understand how to stay together with others. So it’s important to avoid, for example, any sort of judgment. If you judge yourself too badly, you limit yourself. “I cannot do this, I don’t have the ability to do this.” Is self limitation, but also to welcome others. It’s important to create an inclusive mindset. It’s very important nowadays, because barriers are completely destroyed.

0:20:45.1 WB: If we think about communication as a almost a parallel topic, I sort of had this mental image in my mind when I think about leaders and their need to communicate well effectively, and we talk about emotional intelligence, then I would kind of say, okay, social awareness and the communication as a leader sort of fit somehow nicely together, at least in my mind.

0:21:15.0 RP: Absolutely. Absolutely.

0:21:17.2 WB: You mentioned a couple of words that really start to go deeper into that, which is around your ability to be aware of other people’s emotions, and to achieve that of course, you need to be really good at active listening. You also mentioned something about conflict. How do you see that show up in some of your clients? And how do you work with them in that regard?

0:21:49.7 RP: And I think that basically the majority of problems related to conflicts are due to a lack or poor effective communication, I think. This is the main reason why we can see so many conflicts everywhere. In my personal experience, I saw many situations which I experienced and see also from others, poor communication that directed to some problems. For example, I remember there was a colleague of mine that had to do a phone call to a patient to tell him that his child couldn’t participate to the therapies in the company be because of too many absences. So I remember at a certain point that this man then came into my office completely angry. He wanted to revelation, to destroy anything and I had to told him, “But what’s the matter? We cannot do this.” “No, your colleague told me this side, my child couldn’t participate. The therapist said, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” In the end, everything arose because my colleague made a mistake in communication because she gave the communication in a badly manner. This is what the basic problem was, in communication, not all the fact itself. In the end way came up with all the situation. It was very clear, and we solved the problem. So even a simple phone call can lead to some relevant problem. Effective communication is something that we should guarantee at 360 degrees, I think.

0:24:04.5 WB: Yes, yes. The challenge with communication for me is that there’s two parts or two parties, if you like. So, I say one thing and you interpret what I say, and you respond to that, and then I interpret what you say and so it can very quickly spiral out of control.

0:24:26.3 RP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I have a nice story about this. Very personal experience during, when I was at the beginning of my career, I worked in the reception of this company involved in health care. And in my perception, if you work in the reception of a hotel, for example, in any office, you present yourself. “Sir, you are welcome. Good morning, sir. How can I help you?” Very gentle, very polite, with a perfect Italian or English. But the problem is that most of the audience was made of old people. They tend to speak very strict local dialect. So when they approached me, they felt a sort of barrier. They thought, “Who is this man? I cannot understand him.” And they passed. Sometime they passed to my colleague. They speak in the local language to help them understand, and they trust her and not me. At a certain point I realized that there’s something that I… Is not them, it’s me. It’s my mistake, because I should have aligned my communication to them and not the opposite. In fact, over time, I learned how to interact with these people. I learned to also engage and interact with them in our local dialect, for example, very easily, with calmness, and they began to trust me. This is a very important experience that I also take with myself, and I often share it as an example of effective communication, because it’s very simple if you can see, but it’s very, very powerful to let you understand how it’s important.

0:26:27.3 WB: For sure. And I think that was in the era when it was in person face-to-face, people could see body language, they could see the non-verbal cues. Today, we have added challenges, particularly for us as leaders, we now have to interpret a lot of things through the camera. And that adds another degree of difficulty in many cases. We have a global workplace now. Here we are talking, you are sitting in Italy, I’m sitting in Shanghai. You know, we work in global teams. We have different cultures. We have different languages as our native language, different gestures, facial expression. So there’s a whole myriad of things now that we’re exposed to, particularly as leaders, but also as employees that 10 years ago wasn’t so much the case.

0:27:33.1 RP: Yeah, Absolutely.

0:27:35.2 WB: So I think communication today is so so critical for everybody really, to almost hit restart and really examine how they communicate, what they are saying, how they are behaving as they communicate. So I think there’s so much for everyone to learn around this topic. Rodolfo, anything that we haven’t spoken about in this regard communication, emotional intelligence, anything we haven’t touched on that we should mention?

0:28:12.5 RP: We could also have a say about conflict management. There is important aspect, very, very common in the organization, for example.

0:28:25.0 WB: Yes.

0:28:26.1 RP: Because it could… It happens for several reasons. For example, for different points of view, different cultures, different ideas, but also biases. And I think it’s very important for the organization in particular, to create a culture that in which biases are not very present. So create a culture based on active listening, but also on humor. Because humor is a very important component that also to help solving conflicts in an organization. If you introduce yourself with a smile, you have a different, more positive attitude. Obviously, you should always understand if the other person is in joke with you. You see, it’s like a big game. It’s like sending unconscious messages. Do you want to play with me? Okay. If you can receive the message, okay, let’s play. Let’s make a joke. Let’s do something nice and go on. And it’s also very important to have respect for the other person involved. So any kind of joke of humor you can use it must be done with absolutely respect for the other people.

0:29:56.4 RP: So it’s something, for example, I do every day. If I find something, it can be also the name, the surname of the person involved in it, but I could say jokes or something nice and people smile. And they’re more open to have a conversation with me, to trust me, to ask for information. And also in many cases, I became a referring point for my colleagues for people involved with me. And I also remember a nice experience when I managed my team of nurses, I remember one day one of them get sick, so I had to find a substitute at sudden, very, very fastly. So I ask one, “No, it’s possible. No, I don’t have time. No, no, it’s possible for me.” I found the last one, my only hope. [laughter] So I ask her, “Please, could you go to this lady for the camera assistance?” She told me, “No, no, I cannot do it. Please, ask someone else.” “No, no, you are the last one. Please do it.” At a certain point… She was a girl, I sent a message on WhatsApp with an image of the cat with boots taken by the famous animation movie Shrek, if you remember.

0:31:28.3 WB: Yes.

0:31:29.0 RP: With the eyes in this way [laughter] And she had the laugh, she had the laugh. Sending a message laughing and said, “Okay. Okay, Rodolfo, I’ll do it for you.” [laughter]

0:31:42.5 WB: Yeah.

0:31:43.6 RP: Which, it helped me solve the problem, solve the problem. It seem to be a very silly thing, which can very useful.

0:31:54.0 WB: Before we wrap up, because time’s coming to a close, unfortunately. But before we wrap up, anything that you are working on at the moment that we need to know about? Like is there a book in the pipeline? You are working on a new program? Maybe another play. [laughter] Anything?

0:32:12.0 RP: Thank you. Thank you. Let’s say, I have many, many projects in my mind. I’m considering to write a book. It’s only moment or simply in my mind. Let’s say that sometimes I have the titles in my mind, but I still have the contents [laughter] So it’s something strange to begin writing a book. But I have several ideas in them, it’s absolutely one of my goals. I created a leadership training program that it’s present on my personal website. And I’m also considering to do some more related to different topics. And I’m also in my, one of my intent to be more active on public speaking.

0:33:04.8 WB: Okay.

0:33:06.1 RP: To create more experience and possible opportunities for public speaking.

0:33:12.5 WB: Right. Right.

0:33:13.2 RP: Let’s say, I tried to exploit my experience with theatre for my easiness with staying in public and speaking in public and share my knowledge and experience with all my audience.

0:33:30.5 WB: Where can people go to follow you, connect with you? Where’s the best location?

0:33:37.6 RP: Yeah, absolutely. This is my website, rodolfoparlati.com. And I’m a particularly very active on LinkedIn. You can find me there and also on Instagram. My account is simply Rodolfo Parlati and the same on Threads too. And also on Facebook with my page Rodolfo Parlati, give shape to your goals.

0:34:00.7 WB: Any final words of wisdom for our listeners?

0:34:03.0 RP: I simply wanted to share my favorite quote. I love quotes, as you can see on my posts basically are based on quotes from which I take inspiration. My favorite one is, every accomplishment starts with decision to try. And this summarize bit the story of my life. This phrase led me to do and explore so many different fields in my life. So never be afraid of doing different things because the impossibility is made basically in your mind, hard things become easy. So always stay confident.

0:34:51.0 WB: I saw that quote on your website from JFK, right?

0:34:57.3 RP: Yeah. [chuckle] Yeah.

0:34:57.5 WB: I know it’s a favourite of yours, yeah. So Rodolfo, thank you for your sharing of everything today. Really appreciate having the opportunity to bring you onto the ET Project.

0:35:07.3 RP: Oh, thank you very much to you, Wayne. It’s been a big, big, big pleasure for me to be your guest. And thank you to all your wonderful audience.

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0:35:15.9 Speaker 2: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project. A show for executive talent developments. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, eBooks, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

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