Intelligence plays an important role in American lifestyle from childhood in taking Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests at school to Emotional Intelligence (EI) in developing skills at the workplace. Daniel Goldman in his works on EI exposes the importance of acquiring and expanding EI skills for success in business. EI training modules conducted by a human resources management firm, an EI training consultant, will address EI inefficiencies at a University. This document will discuss issues found and provide recommendations aimed at improving EI.
Emotional Intelligence at aUniversity EI is of significant importance in business as it helps managers in the decision-process of hiring potential employees, promoting present employees or transferring them. Many companies began their own EI training programs to assist them in making these decisions. Therefore, in today’s environment, corporations and non-profit organizations such as a University are finding that to recruit and retain successful managers, IQ is not sufficient; a successful manager needs to develop EI to work effectively with others (Goleman, 2000, pp. 12-13). As a result, these issues are addressed in this review of EI:
1. Importance of EI at a University 2. A University’s Current Environment with respect to EI 3. EI training at a University 4. Follow-up steps after EI Training EI’s Importance at a University Goleman (2000), an authority in EI, determined that superior managers that tend to manage relationships well are those that are self-aware, self-regulators, and are empathetic to others (pp. 25-26). EI is very important especially at the senior management level because as one goes up the corporate ladder, technical skills diminish in importance, and EI becomes vital to the effectiveness and efficiency of a good manager.
EI has become so significant in business that some corporations and non-profit organizations hire specialists to develop customized training programs that will help them in identifying their brightest employees. This is the case at a University, where a specialist was called to determine EI levels at a University and to facilitate needed EI Training. EI and a University’s Current Environment A University is an academic institution where research and teaching are interrelated. According to its mission statement, a University’s faculty contributes to what is taught and practiced not only in United States, but also throughout the world.
Since a University is a global institution, it constantly draws more international students than any other American university. It provides public services in the fields of health care, economic development, social welfare, scientific research, public policy and the arts. In order to sustain its well earned reputation among elite universities, a University’s President desired to introduce and increase EI awareness to his management team.
To obtain a measure of EI among a University’s managers, a staff and faculty survey was formulated asking specific questions ranging from relationships with their managers, finding mentoring and motivation in those above them, managers handling stressful situations, and their observances when working with other department managers and staff. This anonymous survey resulted in a total of 45,000 responses (out of 50,000 surveys). Results received showed 55% of a University management members face low to medium EI levels in the fields of developing effective teamwork, leadership, self-control, understanding and communicating with others, and successfully motivating employees. Because of these results, an EI training program is in place to alert and educate management in EI and its benefits. The training program is divided into two modules titled, Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation; and Motivating Others.
EI Training at a University After the first module, Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation, managers will be able to understand what EI is, think intelligently about their emotions, understand their brain and how it works in relationship to emotions, learn and practice empathy, know their strengths, their weaknesses, and learn manage anger and stress management while upholding high standards of integrity. However, before the first module starts, managers will be asked to rate and assess their own EI skills. This rating will be compared against survey results received and EI training will start with the discussion of “What is EI?”
EI is a combination of the intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence that attracts others. EI is a practiced skill that draws trust, respect, and appreciation from others. This includes to learn and to think intelligently about one’s emotions. To think intelligently about their emotions, managers need to become aware of their own emotions; what these emotions mean, under what circumstances these emotions come to the surface, and how they affect themselves and those around them. Through a series of real-life situations, managers will uncover their feelings and how feelings affect their behavior.
Goleman stated, “Feelings are the body’s version of the situation; everything we want to know about our situation is revealed in our feelings” (2000, p. 61), and by uncovering their own feelings, managers will see themselves from the outside, they will learn to see how others see them; thus, leading them to want to change. One of the steps to learn about oneself is to understand how one’s brain works and how it relates to one’s emotions.
In order to understand one’s brain and how it works in relationship with emotions, an enlightenment of “emotional hijack,” (Goleman, 1997, p. 12) its origins and its consequences are required as stated by Goleman when he wrote, “Such emotional explosions are neural hijackings… The hijacking occurs in an instant, triggering this reaction crucial moments before the neocortex, the thinking brain, has had a chance to glimpse fully what is happening, let alone decide if it’s a good idea. The hallmark of such hijack is that once the moment passes, those so possessed have the sense of not knowing what came over them” (1997, p. 12).
Whenever managers face these emotions, they need to take some time to think before reacting in an explosive manner. Having a cooling off period will assist the individual to focus on the issue at hand. At a University, some managers experienced this emotional hijacking when reprimanding others. These managers need to cool off and once the angry moment passes, the EI skill to practice at this time is empathy.
Being empathetic pays off as a leader of EI discovered, “The more accurately we can monitor our emotional upsets, the sooner we can recover from distress” (Goleman, 2000, p. 86). Practicing empathy may seem hard to some; however, people offer clues and tips into their internal emotions so managers can pick-up those clues and exercise empathy. For instance, when a person shows a physical tip hinting a sign of discomfort; the person doing the listening can ask questions that would help the other individual relax and feel understood. A scheduled exercise, as part of the first module, regarding these clues will take place; managers will identify them and learn what to do about it. “Empathy requires enough calm and receptivity so that the subtle signals of feeling from another person can be received and mimicked by one’s own emotional brain” (Goleman, 1997, p. 104).
Managers will learn to be aware of others communication styles to avoid misunderstandings, which could destroy any existing relationship between managers and their subordinates. “Sensing what others feel without their saying so captures the essence of empathy. Others rarely tell us in words what they feel, instead they tell us in their tone of voice, facial expression, or other nonverbal ways” (Goleman, 2000, p. 135).
The crucial point of being able to identify others’ emotions begins with knowing one’s own emotions and practicing empathy, which involves five required points (1) Understanding others; (2) Anticipating others’ needs; (3) Recognizing others’ developmental needs and assisting them; (4) Creating and nurturing opportunities through people; and (5) Being aware of the political and social flow of the organization (Goleman, 2000, p. 138). Understanding others involves listening to others’ verbal and nonverbal communication by sensing feelings and taking a genuine interest in others’ concerns and ideas. In addition, provide assistance based on those concerns allowing a more secure and safe environment for those involved.
Anticipating others’ needs is achieved by being able to read the other individual cues given when interaction takes place. By developing listening skills, managers can build better relationships not only with their subordinates but also with those outside the organization. This leads to anticipating those in need and take the appropriate action applicable to the specific situation. A good advice that managers need in assisting others effectively and in recognizing their needs is observed in EI, “Listening well and deeply means going beyond what is said by asking questions, restating in one’s own words what you hear to be sure you understand. This is active listening” (Goleman, 2000, p. 141). With active listening, one responds in a positive manner and the person speaking is more receptive to assistance offered and change.
Another element of empathy involves achieving success through others being aware of their differences and without falling in the stereotype traps that some managers fall into. Since subtle behavior may be different from one’s own behavior due to the differences in gender, age or ethnic background, managers must be aware of these differences and be sensitive to them. Managers at a University are aware of diversity; however, some of them need to make a conscious effort in embracing diversity as it offers an opportunity for learning different perspectives and knowledge, which is exposed in the various administrative and academic units in the university.
Additionally, being aware of political and social flow of the organization is a must for managerial success. Managers with high EI differentiate themselves from mediocre managers, “their ability to read situations objectively, without the distorting lens of their own biases or assumptions, allows them to respond effectively – and the further up the organizational ladder, the more this matters” (Goleman, 2000, p. 161). Along with being aware of organizational flow, managers need to know their own strengths and weaknesses.