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  • Writer's pictureDave Galloway

Good leadership is rooted in emotional intelligence: A Q&A with Dave Galloway

We’re thrilled to welcome Dave Galloway to the Trella team. He brings decades of experience in mentoring leaders, and helping his clients reach their full potential within their businesses, their families, and their family businesses.


- Judi Cunningham



Man in suit

Tell us a little about your work? What do you do/specialize in?

I work with individuals in family business who have a desire to function better in their relationships and their professional lives. I use a specific systematic approach that allows people to understand the unique role they’re playing in different situations, and how it impacts the greater organization or the family dynamic. By understanding the part they play, they can focus on how they can make changes. One thing I really like to focus on with my clients is helping them understand they can only control what they do, not what anyone else does. This concept is empowering, as it allows them to see they can control their own part, and this has a ripple effect within the system (whether it's in business, family, or both). For those in leadership roles this can have a huge impact, as it relates to the impact of their decisions and day-to-day functioning. I help clients work on learning and understanding how they can define more of a self within their organizations and how that can lead to the success they're looking for.


Where did your work with family enterprises begin?

It started over 20 years ago when I was managing a large team for a software company. During the process of doing personal counseling I realized how the principles I was learning could be applied in the workplace, specifically in leadership. For example, in the wonderful book “Good to Great”, they describe “level 5 leaders” of great companies. But—they don’t describe how to become a level 5 leader. I realized that was a huge opportunity. I realized I was working on how to become a level 5 leader, and I also wanted to help others become better leaders too.


What drew you to working with enterprising families?

My approach is based on the Bowen family systems theory. Family enterprises can be majorly impacted by the functioning of a family’s emotional system because of how tightly linked the owners, the business, and family are. This can be a huge competitive advantage if managed well. But, it can destroy the family and the business when it isn’t. You either manage it, or it will manage you. That’s a big reason why many family enterprises don’t last. This concept and the power it has drew me to dedicate my career to empowering families to use their emotional systems in a way that sets them up for success.


What is your purpose, your vision and how does it connect with work?

I believe that family enterprises can be a very powerful force for good. They can and should take a leadership role in society. It’s just good business. I believe that enterprises can function better —make profit, be more sustainable, more equitable — by understanding emotional systems at a personal and leadership level. Organizations, run by emotionally mature, responsible individuals, that “think systemically” can make a positive difference. The world needs more enterprises like this.


What aspects of family enterprise consulting do you enjoy the most?

It is very rewarding to see individuals functioning better because they have applied the learning from our sessions. The process of analyzing interactions and breaking down the emotional process so individuals can see where they can positively change and witnessing the change happen is wonderfully gratifying. It’s like fixing the bugs in an application or tweaking it to run better (that’s my tech background showing!). Knowing that the knowledge and techniques individuals use will help them be better partners and parents means they’re also helping the next generation by helping themselves.


What do you enjoy most about this work?

My emotional programming is such that I like to make a difference, and this work allows me to do that. Clients do the work, but I help guide them and I can see the difference it makes. They get tools that can serve them for the rest of their lives. It literally has a multigenerational impact. And, that’s powerful.


Learn more about Dave and the rest of the Trella team on our About page.

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