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Emotional intelligence (EI) also referred to as Emotional Quotient (EQ), relates to both the cognitive and emotional capacity to be aware of, in control of, and communicative of emotions within interpersonal relationships.  

While emotional intelligence matters for everyone, it plays an especially significant role in higher education. Both Teachers and students are operating within interpersonal relationships and dealing with feedback, deadlines, change, successes, and failures. The ability to navigate all of this with a degree of emotional intelligence can make all the difference. 

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Author and science journalist Daniel Goleman wrote a book in 1996 titled Emotional Intelligence, in which he laid out five critical features of EI.   

  • Self-awareness – The ability to use introspection to identify strengths and weaknesses and to understand how and when ego and emotions may impact thinking. 
  • Self-regulation – Those with high EI are better able to adapt to change, manage impulsive reactions and behaviors, and choose better responses. 
  • Motivation – People with high EI are action-oriented, tend to take the initiative, and can make informed decisions. They are prone to have a “silver lining” way of thinking. 
  • Empathy – Empathy enables people to step into the shoes of others to better understand their concerns, feelings, and needs. They often do this through both verbal and nonverbal cues. 
  • Social Skills – People with high EI better relate to those around them and can anticipate and respond to them appropriately. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence accounts for the bulk (90%) of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.

So how does that factor into higher education?

Why Emotional Intelligence Matters for Students

Emotional intelligence matters for students across all disciplines. Skills like self-regulation can help students thrive in a competitive, pressure-filled academic environment. It also plays a large role in various subjects. Literature and history, for example, rely heavily on evaluating human motivations and looking at character development. Students studying to go into very social roles like business management or nursing will do well with excellent social skills and empathy. 

Even navigating the essence of higher education – from working in teams on group projects to communicating with professors – requires a certain level of emotional intelligence. Students spend the better part of their time enhancing emotional intelligence through leadership opportunities, working with others, and managing their course load. 

Why Emotional Intelligence is Key for Leaders

Students aren’t the only beneficiaries of emotional intelligence. Leaders in higher education – from administration to professors – can apply the principles of EI in their daily jobs. Not only do these skills enable leaders to be more effective at their jobs, but they can lead to greater job satisfaction through feelings of confidence and empowerment.  

Emotional Intelligence can help leaders create environments that empower others and foster respect and authenticity among students and colleagues alike. It is a core component of leadership in higher education. When leaders can identify and understand the role of emotions in various scenarios colleges and universities can move through challenges and grow into more inclusive, more successful organizations. 

Interested in learning more about how philosophy on emotional intelligence and how we use it to better serve higher education institutions on all things payments? Contact us today.

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