The Best Body Shops’ Tips: Emotional Intelligence Is a Key Element for a Successfully Run Body Shop

Adrianna Marino
Adrianna Marino, North American sales training leader at AkzoNobel

Whether a body shop is looking to increase productivity, enhance team performance or foster better leaders, Adrianna Marino said emotional intelligence can help achieve such business goals and be a key factor in running a successful company.

The North American sales training leader at AkzoNobel spoke to a group of body shop owners and managers about the benefits of emotional intelligence during an AkzoNobel Acoat Selected performance group meeting in San Diego, CA.

“Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding and choosing how we think, feel and act,” said Marino. “It shapes our understanding of ourselves and interactions with others.”

Someone who has low emotional intelligence may feel misunderstood and unappreciated, blame others for their problems and is subject to emotional outbursts and moodiness. In contrast, Marino said those with high emotional intelligence learn and adapt to audiences and situations, assume responsibility and take control of their performance and productivity.

During her presentation, “Applying Emotional Intelligence for Personal and Professional Success,” Marino explained to attendees how emotional intelligence can shape interactions with others, define how people learn, help set priorities and determine the majority of a person’s daily actions.

She shared information from Dr. Michael Rock, a specialist in this area, who designed and taught “EQ and the New Workplace.”

“People typically attribute the lion’s share of their success personally and professionally to their mental intelligence or IQ,” said Rock. “Research in psychology and human performance over the last 20 years indicates that mental intelligence does contribute to success, but the far more significant intelligence that accounts for personal and professional success is emotional intelligence.”

Marino explained that this is referred to as a person’s “EQ.”

Throughout her decade of experience studying emotional intelligence, which includes a certificate in EQ, Marino said she has found that a better understanding of a person’s emotional intelligence has numerous benefits for the workplace. These include enhanced employer/employee relations, an improvement in company culture and a decrease in employee turnover, burnout and absenteeism.

Marino has found that most people aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings.

“All human beings, regardless of gender, have feelings and emotions they bring to the workplace,” she said. “We don’t work with robots and machines every day. We work with human beings. Whether we like it or not, we have to talk about feelings and emotions.”

She said the key word is “choosing.”

“We get to choose our thoughts, behaviors and feelings every day,” she added. “We’ve all heard the adage: “Leave your stuff at the door when you walk in. Well, it’s not possible. The good news is you can learn how to maneuver that. That's what emotional intelligence is going to teach you.”

Numerous studies have shown that managing emotions is something that can be learned and directly influences a person’s professional and personal success.

Marino cited a study from UC Berkley PhDs that showed EQ was four times more powerfulthan IQ in predicting who achieved success in their field.

“It may be responsible for up to 80 percent of the success we experience in life,” she said.

In a worldwide study of what companies look for in hiring employees, Marino said 67 percent of the most desired attributes were found to be EQ competencies.

By being aware of emotional intelligence, Marino said employees will increase the likelihood of improving their communication and problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, leadership, sales skills, teamwork and team performance.

“Productivity improves, as well as relationship satisfaction, customer service, conflict management and overall effectiveness,” she said.

In 2016, stated that people with a high EQ make more money---on average $29,000 more per year than those with a low EQ.

“The link between EQ and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary,” said Marino. “These findings hold true across all industries, in all levels, in every region of the world.”

Marino outlined the four areas of emotional intelligence: self-recognition, self-management, social management and social recognition. She then shared tips on how to incorporate these competencies into a person’s personal and professional life.


Self-recognition involves self-awareness and understanding, personal acceptance and an overall understanding of personal psychology. Marino said it is foundational to social awareness and self-management. Some of the measures include learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, self-esteem and temperament.

5 ways to build self-recognition:

1. Accept emotions without judgment.
2. Self-monitor; take time to reflect and review.
3. Accept advice without becoming defensive.
4. Analyze strengths and weaknesses fairly with an eye toward growth.
5. Create realistic personal expectations.

Social Recognition:

Social recognition reflects awareness and consideration of the feelings and responses of others. Marino explained that it’s the ability to empathize and maintain sensitivity to the moods and emotions of others, which allows for superior intuition and connection. These include factors such as empathy/understanding, service, listening, rapport and adding value.

5 ways to build social recognition:

1. Actively look for opportunities to help others.
2. Actively listen; pay attention.
3. Take in feedback and critiques from others.
4. Follow through on promises and commitments.
5. Be positive and open when responding to new people and ideas.


Self-management measures self-evaluation coupled with self-regulation. The awareness and discipline needed to control and harness feelings directly impact the ability to achieve personal objectives and develop an inner resolution, according to Marino. Satisfaction, happiness and contentment are results of self-management. Some of the factors might be restraint, discipline, flexibility and stress management.

5 ways to build self-management:

1. Set and monitor a specific course and path for each day.
2. Act with focus and intensity.
3. Take time to evaluate and critique personal performance.
4. Avoid fatigue and burnout.
5. Remain accountable for your actions.

Social Management:

Social management includes interpersonal skills and focuses intelligence on generating results. Marino said that social intelligence fosters collaboration and connection. Some of the measures include encouragement, collaboration, conflict management and negotiation.

5 ways to build social management:

1. Take an active interest in others and their agendas.
2. Develop persuasion and rapport.
3. Be assertive, engaged, enthusiastic and involved with others.
4. Maintain poise and calmness.
5. Look for positive, constructive answers that help everyone improve.

When adopting emotional intelligence skills in a person’s day-to-day routine, Marino said a good reminder is the computer command “Control-Alt-Delete.”

“Control yourself, look for alternate solutions and delete situations that give you tension and negative energy,” she said. “We can’t get rid of everyone in life who gives us anxiety, but if there is a toxic relationship, try to maneuver around that or remove that person.”

She also recommended that employees note their triggers and then focus on small changes to strengthen EQ.

“Emotional intelligence takes practice; it’s a journey,” she said. “Take it one day at a time. Identify at least one area where you want to make a change and stick with it. You will see changes, though they may be gradual.”

For more information about AkzoNobel Acoat Selected, visit

Stacey Phillips Ronak

Stacey Phillips Ronak is an award-winning writer for the automotive industry and a regular columnist for Autobody News based in Southern California.

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