EQ in the Workplace

When it comes to hiring, many companies regard emotional intelligence—or EI—as important as technical ability and even go so far as to do EQ testing on candidates for jobs.

Emotions can provide valuable information about how we understand the world around us. People who know their own emotions and are good at reading others’ emotions can be more effective in the workplace.

So why aren’t universities emphasizing emotional intelligence in the classroom?

As an instructor at Capilano University’s School of Business, I feel we professors give students so much stress, but we don’t teach them how to deal with that stress.

Emotional Intelligence in the Classroom

Emotional intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to be self-aware, detect emotions in others, and manage emotional cues and information.

Last year, I decided to add an element of EI into the event marketing course I teach and the response was profound. I started by introducing weekly board meetings to the class, where one student from each project group came together and met with me.  In these meetings, we discussed openly and honestly how things were going in their groups—a bit like group therapy.

The board meetings allowed students to help each other.   It’s extremely important for students to be in touch with their emotions when working in teams; but, just as important is their ability to work with empathy—to imagine a problem or situation from another perspective—to stand in someone else’s shoes.

Last year, I also challenged my students to pinpoint the big “a-ha” learning moment in the class (even if it had nothing to do with event marketing, such as a difficult issue they had the courage to raise with a group member). And I asked my students to think about how they’re going to grow and change as a result of the experience.

Teaching with empathy and creating opportunities for students to grow personally as well as intellectually has had a huge impact on my students. Second-year business student, Gordon Cheng says, “Carolyn taught me the importance of teamwork. Her feedback motivated me to do better. After the semester the ended, I felt really good about myself. I suddenly gained this air of confidence and wanted to do more and achieve more.”

“Carolyn inspires me,” says a third-year business student, Sian Hebden. “Because of her, I have made major changes in my life and learned to follow my dreams and my heart. Last year, I gathered my entire Event Marketing class to make a video to thank Carolyn for everything that she does for her students.”

What do you think about emotional intelligence?

How important is it in the workplace, in educational institutions, and in life?

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