Emotional Intelligence and the importance of perspective
What do you see in this picture?
Do you see part of an old castle, a defensive structure, built in response to violent invaders? Can you picture the hidden staircases and 8ft thick walls that give the building, which sits in an awe inspiring position overlooking a river, such presence?
Or do you see a luxury country hotel? Perhaps you see this building as warm and inviting rather than austere and defensive?
The building is Askham Hall (full picture below) and you can find it and the 12 opulent bedrooms majestically surveying the River Lowther near Penrith in Cumbria. It was originally a pele tower, dating back to the late 1200s when the Picts and Scots were invading northern England, and it is now a luxury hotel.
The change of use of such a building is entirely logical. The Scots are no longer invading England (the opposite is more the order to the day now) and as the MPs like to remind us, pulling up the drawbridge, whether it be metaphorically or literally, isn’t the response to threats in the modern world.
The concept of a fortress mentality, an expression used to describe occasions in which people feel under attack, is something that does apply to people in their working environment in the modern world however. Differences of opinion do happen and to some extent should be expected, but we don't deal with these issues these days by building 8ft thick walls! Unfortunately barriers do get raised as communications break down though and so changing our perception may be required to get back to constructive discourse.
Having an understanding, an empathy, with how people expect to be treated is often described as 'good management'. The more formal approach to the subject is the study of Emotional Intelligence (EI), also referred to as Emotional Quotient (EQ).
There are five elements to EI:
- Self Awareness (knowing yourself)
- Social Awareness (knowing your team)
- Self Motivation (understanding what drives you)
- Self Regulation (staying in control)
- Social Skills (relationship management)
These elements were identified by the American psychologist Daniel Goleman and whilst this post isn’t going to look at details on these elements (we have a course on the Learning Line for that, if you’re interested), you might like to take a minute to take the MindTools quiz ‘How good are your communication skills?’
As George Eliot said, “it’s never too late to be what you might have been”. Our interpretation of that statement, in the context of this post, is to suggest that a source of conflict can be a lack of clarity in instructions, often as the result as inadequate training. Our goal at Coracle is 'to transform learning'. Hopefully this article gives you some context about our passion.