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Online workshop: Emotional Intelligence


This is the report from the TrainingZONE online workshop held on 30 May 2000 on the topic of Emotional Intelligence.

Robert Benson: Hello
Ruth Churchill: Hello everyone
Stephanie Phillips: Hi Ruth - I think our host from the Success Group will be on their way shortly.
Nancy: Hello
Nancy: Any idea when our hosts will be here?
Robert Benson: Hello everyone, thanks for coming. We're dealing with a few techie areas at the moment, so please bear with us.
Robert Benson: Has anyone got a few ideas on this subject that we could kick around while we're waiting?
Nancy: Did anyone go to the EI conference in London recently?
Stephanie Phillips: Hi Nancy, hi all. Many apologies, but Maria from the Success Group has been unable to access the workshop at all - there are major technical problems their end. Does anyone have anything they would like to put forward first?
Stephanie Phillips: Hi Dave - any initial thoughts on EI? It's one of those current hot topics, I feel, but to my mind, it's something quite straightforward which has been dressed up to seem more complicated than it is!
Nancy: Yes it is if you go with the Goleman stuff, however, if you look at other work in the field I think there are some very useful tools there
Stephanie Phillips: Thanks Nancy - can you recommend any in particular?
Nancy: Yes, the stuff from Jack Mayer the originator of the field is much more interesting. He is looking at it from a perspective that isn't just competencies. Also there is some very interesting work by Daniel Siegel who looks at how the brain works as far as emotions are concerned. I find this a much more useful tool than competencies which I think can be rather wooley
russell holt: Just how applicable are these in thw workplace?
Nancy: Very, I use them a lot
russell holt: How do workers respond to talk about emotional intelligence, brain functions etc? Do they welcome it or are they sceptical?
Stephanie Phillips: Nancy, can you give us some examples of who they've been used with and in what context?
Nancy: The people I work with find it a relief to be able to understand why they are behaving as they are and relate it to a physical process; would you like an example (I am aware I am hogging the debate!)?
Stephanie Phillips: Yes please - please carry on, unless someone else would like to add something?
Robert Benson: I'm not a trainer myself but am interested in looking at the whole area of EI - any tips on where to start?
Nancy: I had a woman recently who was being badly bullied. Whenever the bully talked to her she froze. This can be explained by the message in the brain going straight to the motor cortex (it takes 12 micro seconds to do this) rather than to the cerebal cortex (a response in this case takes 19 microseconds). Then, once in this state, her recovery process was very slow. The recovery process is what we use once we are outside our tollorance for a certain stimulus. Freezing is a very useful response when you think you might be attacked by a preditor as most respond to movement. Recovery process is something you can work on and improve
russell holt: How was the situation resolved?
Nancy: We worked on three areas - not getting into it in the first place and helping her to keep herself within her window of tollerance and what to do if she found herself outside it. This was done using a variety of techniques including her approaching him rather than waiting for him, using breathing techniques to keep her emotional state stable and thinking of herself in different ways. Please ask if this is unclear!
Robert Benson: Should we be looking at treating the bully rather than the bullied though?
russell holt: It is clear - and interesting. Did it work?
Nancy: I agree completely - we are working on that one too.
Nancy: Yes it did work
russell holt: Can it be applied to training / development as well as conlict resolution?
Stephanie Phillips: It seems quite a jump from psychological / biological theories to the workplace.
Nancy: Yes, we apply it in most of our training - helping people to make sure they are in the correct emotional state to perform tasks most effectively. Yes, it does seem a jump in some ways, but that's what training's all about, I think
Robert Benson: Do you have anything to add, Kerrie?
Kerrie Black: Hi, Sorry I got called away just as this started. Could I just ask further about your comments in using EI with competencies. I have no knowledge ogf this sbject at present and work with competencies a lot and want to increase my knowledge in order to add emotional intelligence into competence frameworks - is this not a good idea? Excuse the typing - just trying to catch up!
russell holt: Can it be applied at an organisational level, rather than just the individual?
Nancy: I thnk EI and competencies are two different things. Emotions change our perspective on situations and also tell us what is a priority and where to direct our energy. This can be applied in many situations. To apply it to competencies I would look at emotions that help in each and that get in the way in each. In competencies like problem-solving you need several different onces for different states. When you talk about organisational level, what do you want to acheive?
Stephanie Phillips: I feel that maybe using EI as part of a competency framework may be difficult for people to accept - it's dealing with things that are very close to home, so to speak, in a similar way to 360 degree appraiaisal seems to be a sensitive areae?
Nancy: It is a sensitive area, but, handled correctly and sensitively, people are usually very keen to work with it. We work mainly with technical people and they like it!
Stephanie Phillips: That's good to hear! We'll have to wind the discussion up soon - apologies again to those who were expecting the Success Group, we may look at setting up another workshop on this if there is suffcient interest
russell holt: Thanks, got to go now. Bye
Kerrie Black: If you are describing behaviours as part of a way to see if a person is meeting a particular competence (forgive the crudity of the statement) can this not be linked in? Does it not help people to get better at say problem solving if they understand their behaviour - can I just get an answer??
Nancy: If anyone wants to get in touch with me for more info please email me on [email protected] We are running a workshop on how to do all this in August for those who are interested
Robert Benson: thanks Nancy
Stephanie Phillips: Kerrie - I think the answer must definitely be yes! I just wonder how easy it is to bring EI ideas into the workplace, unless there is a open culture willing to accept it
Kerrie Black: Thanks!
Stephanie Phillips: Any last thoughts - sorry we've had to curtail the discussion due to the earlier technical problems
Nancy: Yes, people tend to improve if they understand their behaviour in my experience
Nancy: Stephanie - it can be done!!
Stephanie Phillips: Thanks Nancy - I'll keep that in mind and keep my eye out for future developments in this area! I'd very much like to see it working across the board
Stephanie Phillips: All - thanks again for coming along, hope to see you at another workshop soon without the technical problems!
Stephanie Phillips: Bye
Nancy: Bye
Robert Benson: Bye


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