Emotional Intelligence Workshop

Inside the nave of the chapel in Northwestern Hall at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota
From July 11-15 I participated in an Emotional Intelligence Continuing Education Event at Luther Theological Seminary located in St. Paul, Minnesota.  The core of this event was processing, with group members, the 360 feedback report on the Emotional and Social Competency.
The data for this inventory was collected from about 15-20 individuals from distinct categories such as: managers, direct reports, peers, clients/customers, family members and others.
This was an intense workshop for all members of the group.  It requires a certain about of vulnerability to received feedback on one’s emotions and ability to manage relationships.
The majority of our working week (13-hour days) was spend in group sessions processing whatever was needed by the members.
The plenary sessions included the following topics:  Brain theory, Somatic work, Stages of community development, diversity training, and the JoHari Window theory.
The workshop was lead by Roy Oswald, former director of the Center for Emotional Intelligence and Joan Townshend.
Here’s the link to the Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations Center founded by Roy Oswald.
Link to the Center for Emotional Intelligence and Human Relations Skills

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as:  the capacity of individuals to recognize their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.[1] 
The four areas that comprise Emotional intelligence include:
  1. Self-Awareness – recognizing one’s own emotions
  2. Self-Management- effectively managing one’s own emotions
  3. Social awareness – Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others
  4. Relationship Management – Applying our own emotional understanding in one’s dealing with other people.
The four main components of Emotional Intelligence and the Norms for our Learning Group experiential learning

The Human Brain and Emotional Intelligence
To fully understand and appreciate Emotional Intelligence, one must first understand how the brain functions in leadership development.
Diagram of the human brain including the three main brain structures (Autonomic, Limbic, Cortex/NeoCortex)
Of particular note is the area in the brain is one of the most primitive areas of the brain in the Limbic system know as the Amygdala.  The Amygdala is the most primitive area of our brain that our ancient ancestors needed for survival; it is the part of the brain that is the “flight or fight” response. The amygdala responds to potential dangers and threats in one’s environment. When someone is frighten or feeling fear, the amygdala can overtake the rational part of our brains and there is little ability for the person to reason.  Thus resulting in a “hijack” that can affect one’s emotional response to fear and/or anxiety.
There are ways in which one can avoid an emotional hijack from the amygdala.  The most effective method for me was to pause 6 seconds following an serious emotional response to a flight or fight situation.
Putting a reaction on hold can for a brief moment and gathering thoughts (along with breathing) can assist one in an emotionally laden and anxious moment.

The JoHari Window ( a theory of the Self)
The four parts to the JoHari Window are: the publicly reveled self, the hidden self, the blind (unaware self), and the unknowing area

Stages of Group and Community Development
Every group/community goes through stages of grow. Using a theory from M. Scott Peck in his book, “The Different Drum – Community Making and Peace” our workshop traced the four characteristics of community development.
These four stages include:
  1. Stage 1 is Pseudocommunity – This is an early stage of community that is characterized by:     Speaking in generalities, faking, withholding truth to be polite,
  2. Stage 2 is Chaos – people offer attempts to offer solutions, individual differences become open, people negotiate to make win/win situations, a general need to control others begins to surface.
  3. Stage 3 is Emptiness – this stage is characterized by: an acknowledgement and appreciation of the difference of interpersonal gifts and differences, barriers to communication are removed. in this stage, community norms begin to surface and team development emerge.
  4. Stage 4 is Community.   In this stage, members of the community accept and embrace one another, share vulnerability and fight (challenge one another), Communicate and solve problems to gather, commit to each other and share efforts to support the community.

    Dominate and Subordinated Groups
Another plenary sessions was on diversity awareness and recognizing power/dominate groups and subordinate groups.
Every group/relationship has dynamics at play in which dominance and subordinated  people are in relationship with one another.   Often people aren’t even aware of their dominance nor the impact they have on the subordinate group.
In every relationship it is very useful to pay attention to what is going on in our relationships and community to check out how the dimensions of dominance and subordination are impacting the effectiveness of the group/community.

Somatic Work
One of the most life-giving moments during this event, for me, was the morning centering and body work in which we stretched our bodies (practiced yoga) to create self-awareness followed by Apophatic mediation and prayers.
This was life-giving for me because I often do not have time to stretch and struggle to complete my daily devotions.
Chart indicating the difference between the Cataphatic and Apophatic prayer styles

So, with any workshop and new learning, the question always becomes, where do I go from here?
I’ve been aware of blind spots in my life.  Everyone has blind spots that are known to other  but aren’t readily known to the self.  I’ve been working on dealing with my blind spots and also creating awareness of my shadow self.
The work is deep, it can lead to emotional venerability, which leads to growth of Emotional Intelligence which can assist a person in building successful relationships with others.
Yale University has an outstanding Center for Emotional Intelligence and more information on this subject can be accessed from their website by clicking on the following link.
Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence


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