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FROM THE DIRECTOR: Why Emotional Intelligence?

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AW-Cropped Head Shot.jpgI recently had the opportunity with the support of our Provost to participate in an accreditation program on Emotional Intelligence sponsored by the Hay Group and designed by world expert, Daniel Goleman. The training program was for coaching professionals to help their clients become more effective as leaders by using the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory tool.

I first learned about EI after being inspired by Daniel Goleman's ground breaking booked called "Working with Emotional Intelligence," which provides case examples that link success in business leadership with emotional intelligence.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Goleman defines Emotional Intelligence as:

" Recognizing our own feelings and those of others, motivating ourselves, managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships."

Although many people thought this was a management fad, EI has endured because the qualities to help strengthen leadership effectiveness are even more important for today's changing workplace.

Daniel Goleman together with Richard Boyatsis conducted decades of global research on what differentiates outstanding performance.  Because they found that 80-90% of the characteristics were emotional and social in nature, they developed the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI).  Their view was that while abilities and personality traits are fairly fixed, that behavioral competencies can be developed to improve personal effectiveness, develop leaders and create more effective organizations.

They defined a competency as a measurable characteristic beyond knowledge and skills that is necessary for top performance. It included the following:

4 Competency Clusters:

Self-awareness: Recognizing and understanding our own emotions, abilities, strengths and weaknesses

Self-management: Effectively managing ourselves: emotional self-control, motivating ourselves

Social-awareness: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others: empathy, organizational awareness

Relationship-management: Applying emotional understanding in our dealings with others: influence, inspirational leadership, coach and mentor, conflict management, teamwork


In my work as Director of the Career Education Center and as a career management coach, assessment is a critical first step in the coaching process.  In the CEC, Assessment is the first step in our developmental model and includes identifying a student's values, interests, personality and strengths with use tools such as the MBTI and Career Driver to uncover strengths and ingredients of a good career fit. In our academic programs at Simmons, we know that students develop knowledge and skills in the classroom with opportunities to apply them through experiential learning opportunities.  Yet, we also know that employers today are seeking even more-- academics plus.  Many are the behavioral competencies of Emotional Intelligence that can make a difference in a person's career and leadership success.

Can EI be learned?

Yes, these behavioral competencies can be taught and developed over time with self-awareness as the core foundation of personal development and effectiveness.  Students can learn how to recognize, evaluate, and improve their behaviors by incorporating feedback and through continued practice.  By increasing self-awareness, students can better manage their independent and group learning, and ultimately their employability.

With a focus on leadership, I believe that Simmons can build on its inherent strengths and to teach and be known for developing knowledge, skills and the EI competencies for successful personal, career and leadership development.

Andrea Wolf is Director of the Simmons Career Education Center.