Last weekend, I taught a one-credit workshop on Social and Emotional Intelligence. This topic is always a fun one to teach, as I find that students are very engaged in the topic. That could be because learning about this topic means learning more about yourself--and who doesn't find themselves fascinating?!
Our workshop focused on some of the research that exists on social and emotional intelligence and how the major components of each theory can affect personal and organizational performance. To begin the weekend, I had each student take a free emotional intelligence test online from Psychology Today. The test takes about 45 minutes to complete and at the end you will be given a general snapshot score (out of 100) of your EQ, or emotional intelligence and have the option to pay for more detailed results. I don't require students to purchase the results, although the information is valuable if you are looking to improve your EQ. Self-awareness is one of the key components of emotional intelligence, so the more you can learn about yourself, the more you can start to improve your EQ.
"Exhibiting emotional intelligence in the workplace does not mean simply controlling your anger or getting along with people. Rather it means understanding your own and other people's emotional makeup well enough to move people in the direction of accomplishing your company's goals."
What I find most beneficial for students with this test is the process of taking it. The test begins, as you would expect, asking you questions about how you behave in certain situations. Further in, the test will start to ask you to evaluate particular interactions of others, best ways to respond, and to think about how someone else might have been feeling in a particular scenario. These questions are what most students tend to remember after taking the test. The conversation around why these questions measure EQ are important for students, or anyone managing or leading people, to engage with. They help provide understanding to the foundational components of EQ —self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills— as identified by Daniel Goleman in his classic HRB article from 1998, "What makes a leader?". This is one of the many articles students read over the weekend. The goal of this workshop was to help students understand that EQ is more than just understanding your emotions--as Goleman says, "Exhibiting emotional intelligence in the workplace does not mean simply controlling your anger or getting along with people. Rather it means understanding your own and other people's emotional makeup well enough to move people in the direction of accomplishing your company's goals."
Here is a glimpse into a few other research articles we discussed during the weekend:
As we closed out the workshop, we had a final discussion around artificial intelligence and EQ. The link between artificial intelligence and emotional intelligence is becoming more and more prevalent in our daily activities as technology saturates everything that we do. Advances in artificial intelligence have started to include emotional intelligence. We discussed the implications for businesses with emotionally intelligent machines and how those may affect individuals in our organizations. To get a better idea of this concept, check out Rana el Kaliouby's TED Talk: This app knows how you feel -- from the look on your face.
Have you ever taken an EQ test? What did you think about the result? What are your thoughts on teaching EQ in organizations?
Bethany J. Adams, MA is an Assistant Director in the Graduate HRD program at Villanova University. Learn more about her here!