Emotional Intelligence hits the news

people working together in a group

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, has long been notorious for his scathing e-mails to other programmers. He’s renowned for all the wrong reasons for his colorful language and streams of invective that have alienated many people and outraged others. But in September 2018, Torvalds announced that he was temporarily stepping down from his position at Linux to “get some assistance on how to understand people’s emotions and respond appropriately.” (Read more at Business Insider and the New Yorker, though be warned for a sprinkling of NSFW language.)


Torvalds’s decision to focus on his behavior and communication strategies is just one of many stories that highlight the continued importance of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. Daniel Goleman, the long-time proponent of Emotional Intelligence, has cited numerous examples of leaders and managers whose success isn’t necessarily linked to their IQ, or to their ability to carry out their job, but to their Emotional Intelligence. And a study published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior found that emotional intelligence is not only linked to higher job satisfaction, but to higher salaries as well.


Emotional Intelligence is also key for strong team relationships in any corporate setting. EI helps team members listen to each other and communicate about differences in opinion in productive, collaborative ways. A recent study in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science found that higher Emotional Intelligence enabled team members to facilitate teamwork more productively and to step up to informal leadership roles.

So it can clearly be advantageous for team members to work on their Emotional Intelligence, both in terms of individual success and team performance; and the good news is that Emotional Intelligence is something that can be improved and learned. However, there are hundreds of online articles to sift through about how to improve Emotional Intelligence, and a daunting number of books to read. There’s even an app that uses voice recognition technology to measure and improve users’ verbal communication skills if you prefer a more technological solution. The question remains: if you want your team to communicate and collaborate in an emotionally intelligent way, what are some concrete strategies that they can use?


To help answer this question, Temple University’s Office of Off-Campus Programs and Training offers bespoke corporate training courses in Emotional Intelligence. Our courses are designed to give participants an overview of the core elements of EI: self-assessment, self-management, social awareness or empathy, and relationship management. Within these four categories, there are many other competencies that hinge on Emotional Intelligence, from adaptability to conflict management, and from transparency to modeling change and effective mentoring and development of others. Investing in one of our Emotional Intelligence training sessions will help you and your team focus on strategies for self-assessment and management, finding ways to harness empathy and active listening skills, and creating action plans and concrete next steps for embedding Emotional Intelligence across the workplace.


Feedback from our EI training sessions has consistently been positive. Participants have shared that they really value time for self-reflection, honest conversations, and active participation in our sessions. Stepping away from your desk and your phone, and taking time to focus on your Emotional Intelligence and empathy skills, can be enormously productive. Just look at Linus Torvalds: he’s now back at work at Linux, putting his new Emotional Intelligence skills into practice. So far, so good: the media’s been more focused on his operating system’s technical advances than on his angry outbursts. Those are the kinds of headlines we all want to make: and investing in Emotional Intelligence training is one part of making that happen.