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What does Emotional Intelligence mean?

September 14, 2017

Robert Heinlein, the famous science fiction author, once said, “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig.” If you have ever been involved with leading a complex organizational change initiative, I strongly suspect that you have had moments – hopefully very brief ones – where that quote would have really resonated with you! Change is hard. Leading change can be even harder. Yet despite the difficulty that is inherent to change, we know that we must embrace it if our organizations are to continue to thrive and grow!

Change efforts can come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, but they have one thing in common – people! People who must be influenced (hopefully through inspiration, not coercion), educated, and supported as they learn a new way of operating. And people, because we are human beings, are likely to respond to change with some degree of emotion attached. That is why Emotional Intelligence (EI) can be a powerful enabler for our ability to embrace change. It describes a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how well we: perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.

But introducing EI to your organization can be no easy task. It is best to approach it in the very same manner that you would any other change effort. During the “Introducing Emotional Intelligence to Your Organization” workshop for the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence, we will explore the business case for actively promoting EI with your employees, as well as the processes, tools, and activities that will support you in successfully orchestrating an EI-focused change initiative.

This blog was written by Academy for Nonprofit Excellence Instructor, Everett Marshall.