• Andrew Wien

Most emotional intelligence training is missing this prerequisite

Emotional intelligence has become an increasingly popular concept within companies. Most companies know or are learning that higher emotional intelligence is correlated with effective leadership, work productivity, and stress management.

However, most training approaches miss teaching the foundational skill. It’s like they are jumping to Geometry before teaching Algebra.

First, what is emotional intelligence?

Dan Goleman wrote a book that popularized the concept in the 1990s. He says its….

The ability to be aware of one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, and use that information to advance one’s goals

Noticing our own and other’s emotions gives us a ton of information. One challenge is knowing what to do once we have all that information. The more difficult challenge, and the thing that must happen first, is to actually notice our own and other’s emotions. This is a skill that is often skipped.

What is required to notice emotions?

Emotional data is only available in the present, right now, not retroactively or in advance. So a prerequisite to emotional intelligence is being able to focus on what’s happening now.

We as a society are terrible at focusing on what is happening now, mainly due to the way that we interact with technology. Matt Killingsworth, a Harvard psychologist, found that we are not paying attention to the present moment 47% of the time. Yikes. At least half of our waking hours we have no chance of noticing emotions.

Mindfulness is a framework that trains people to focus on what is happening now. Start with mindfulness, and emotional intelligence will come much more quickly.

Have you been to an emotional intelligence training with a similar or different approach? Comment below on your experience!

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