Emotional Intelligence as a Business Tool

There is no question about the importance of technical skills in all facets of the engineering industry. What’s less well known and frankly under-appreciated, is the importance of emotional intelligence, especially when it comes to team-building, developing your current leaders, seeding your leadership pipeline, and succession planning.

We’re all aware of the keen competition for talent these days. Organizational leaders are key to employee engagement and retention, making it vital for them to develop the capacity to bring out the best in others. Even for those who don’t aspire to leadership, enhancing your emotional intelligence will increase your ability to collaborate effectively with your team.

Since it was recognized as a necessary leadership skill back in 1990s, there’s been copious research to back up the assertion that a leader’s competence in emotional intelligence affects organizational performance.

What many people don’t realize is that emotional intelligence can be improved, just like other essential skills such as communication. Some hear the word “emotional” and think that it’s inherent – you either have it, or you don’t. That’s wrong. Almost everyone has the capacity to improve their emotional intelligence if they’re willing to engage in some gentle (and honest) self-reflection.

Expanding your capacity for emotional intelligence is not an exercise in self-criticism. Rather, it’s about learning to analyze emotional data and developing wisdom about how to work with it. In part, it involves identifying what your emotions are telling you (they’re data), recognizing how you react to those emotions and identifying why, then developing tools to engage those emotions to everyone’s benefit. Cultivating this self-awareness can also provide insight into those around you, allowing you respond appropriately and effectively. In other words, you can also increase empathy.

So where to start?

The Ontario Engineering Academy’s certificate program, Honing Your Emotional Intelligence, was created to enhance the learner’s capacities for emotion regulation, stress management, relationship-building, and collaboration. It was developed in partnership with People in Business Inc., a boutique consulting firm with deep expertise in organizational development, combining science, wisdom, humanity, and business for meaningful impact.

Investing in your people is as important as investing in your technology and infrastructure. Equip your people with the skills they need to achieve company goals along with their career aspirations. Contact Jamie Gerson, Strategic Partners, Engineering Academy at jgerson@ospe.on.ca to bring this program to your organization.

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