Emotional Intelligence /

Why you can’t develop Emotionally Intelligent leaders in a day

The World Economic Forum placed Emotional Intelligence in its top 10 skills needed to thrive in the workplace, so it's hardly surprising that EQ training is high in-demand within the business world.

The problem however, is that far too many businesses look at Emotional Intelligence training as a box ticking exercise rather than an important investment in the growth of their people.

We know this because we have had conversations like this:

HR Department: “I’d like a day’s training for 150 senior leaders on Emotional Intelligence, please”

RocheMartin: “Can you tell us about the objective of that day?”

HR Department: “I need to be able to tell our CEO that we have “done” Emotional Intelligence”

Now we don’t mean to pick on the hardworking HR Department but that was a real conversation and one that can happen more than you think.

And we hear those comments above because of some common misconceptions.

So let’s highlight and deal with them one by one:

1. EQ is a magic bullet

There is no magic bullet and real change only comes with commitment, development, time and support. The Emotional Intelligence framework is a great multi use tool but there are no short cuts.

2. I can learn all about Emotional Intelligence in a day

Educating staff, challenging preconceptions, presenting evidence, displacing cynicism, and creating enthusiasm are what you do in a day. It’s an important part of development, but it is only the first phase.

3. The expert speaker will teach us

Listening to Sir Edmund Hilary will be awe inspiring and will give you an insight into his resilience and determination. But it won’t change you into a better leader or mountain climber, for that matter.

4. Attendees will take away valuable lessons

They might, but life and work then gets in the way and trying to implement something that was covered in a matter of minutes into everyday work is next to impossible.

Conclusion - changing individuals, teams and companies is a hard thing to do

EQ Development is a great thing with dozens of different ways in which new insights can be applied to help achieve positive business outcomes across leadership, cultural transformation and attracting and retaining multi-generational talent.

But all of those objectives require change. And to change individuals, teams and entire companies is a hard thing to do.

Developing people’s social and emotional skills is a great way to do that, but there are always two important variables which will influence whether that is successful or not; the individual’s commitment to change and how much support they get.

And that, as much as we’d all like, can’t be done in a day.


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