Monday, November 1, 2010

EI phone home!

What was my biggest a-ha from this weeks reading?
Ever since Emotional Intelligence hit the business world in the 90's, it's been confusing to me. I come from a very smart family.  And that doesn't mean grades.  It's the kind of smarts that other people, go "wow, she's so smart," just from having an everyday conversation.  Learning about EI when the theories were becoming more mainstream was humbling for me.  I was never sure what it meant.  This week's reading, however, helped really define EI for me, so it's a lot less scary.  I have worked really hard to be self-aware.  I have plenty of self-motivation and good social skills.  I now know which areas of EI that I could work on to improve.

How does this apply to my own learning or practice?
Since school learning came easy to me in most cases, EI was not something I paid attention to while in school.   I think as a learner, it's important to be good at self-regulation because you can be motivated, but without some personal discipline, it's like having a spark but never letting it catch into a flame.  Through empathy with others, you may open yourself up to more opportunities to learn.  By listening well in class to classmates, without thinking about what you want to say, you might learn something new in a different way.  This is all true in the workplace, too.

What is your opinion of the importance and/or possibility of teaching emotional intelligence?
I think it's like teaching someone strategies for how to learn.  When teaching ESL in Japan, there were many classes for teaching students how to take the TOEFL test, or other English Language standardized tests which allowed students to study abroad.  These classes were taught in Japanese because they were more about strategy then actually the English lessons.  I thought this was brilliant.  It didn't take away from a students ability or desire to learn English, it added to it by giving them skills to use their knowledge efficiently in this particular situation.  I think this is what could be done with EI.  Since there is no way to effectively measure EI, then it is unfair to judge one person as having a higher EI then another, but we do all have some sense of the different components.  Having someone address the five components in a classroom situation and teaching effective strategies for each would be very helpful.    

What are the possible outcomes of doing so?
One particular outcome that I think would be very helpful is for team building.  An entire team could take a course in EI as a way to build a common language and framework for communication. I believe the team could learn to work better together for more innovation.  When conflict arose, which is inevitable in an innovation process, the team could refer back to the concepts behind the skills as a guide.  In the example we read, it was all about teaching managers how to manage employees or customers.  What if one person was not the only one responsible for this code of conduct?  Wouldn't the work place be better over all for everyone?  I would certainly feel more motivated and valued, being treated in such a way that I could be expected manage myself. Reminds me of the principles and theories discussed in Wlodkowski and Knowles.


tobianderson said...

Marianne- I like your idea of teaching IE being like teaching strategies to learn. Seems like focusing on EI can be a way to improve all aspects of life - work, home, school, etc.


Allison Friederichs said...

What a valuable post. I applaud your honesty and your ability to be self-reflexive about your own challenges with EI. We all have them, to be sure. In fact, I feel very similarly to you. I grew up with a mom who is the smartest human I've ever known in person; therefore, IQ and academic excellence were prized in my household. It wasn't until I got to grad school that I was introduced to the idea of the possibility that I might learn something by LISTENING to others. In fact, I remember a course I had on communication and community engagement where I was furiously taking notes, and the instructor approached me after class and said she appreciated my enthusiasm, but she wanted to recommend that I try a new route: listening. I was so shocked! At first I couldn't even imagine not taking notes! But I did it (b/c the teacher requested it, and I was a good student! lol) and she was right. I learned a lot in that class, and it opened up new doors for me.

Also very interesting is your comment on using EI with regard to teamwork. We will actually be doing a bit of work around that very idea tonight! So this is great. I'm glad you brought that up.

You bring such thoughtfulness to your posts, thank you!