When our classroom participants get together and talk about leadership, one of the topics that inevitably comes up is great leaders who have influenced them. Without exception, people also point out the important lessons they've learned as a result of being around poor leaders. People are always watching us to see how we'll behave. In our society, we expect our organizational leaders to react to challenges with grace, and to be consistent in handling whatever comes up with finesse.
Here's where Emotional Intelligence (EI) comes in. Daniel Goleman got this ball rolling back in the mid 90's and it has picked up speed and acceptance ever since. The theory says that in addition to "hard" skills like finance, logistics and marketing, we need a set of social skills to attain competence. Emotional intelligence can be cultivated, unlike Intelligence Quotient (IQ), which remains relatively stable throughout one's life. The good news is that the brain's neural circuitry can be shaped!
Cultivating social skills means having the ability to recognize and name one's own emotions, display empathy and curb impulses to fight, choosing instead to use language to listen and talk out differences. During our one-day course on Emotional Intelligence, we review a constellation of qualities such as: self perception, self-expression, inter-personal, decision making and stress management. Participants take an assessment and receive a personalized report that provides feedback for each item response area. Then, they use the recommendations to put together a plan of action to increase their emotional intelligence back at work. Feedback from participants indicates that people get a great deal from the course and enjoy the experience of learning something new about themselves.