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Craig Wiggins

An immense amount of material has been produced as it relates to the topic of emotional intelligence, or “EI”. A quick Google search of the term alone renders over 37 million results. Additional research shows that the subject matter is discussed across a range of both public and private professions, including some we might not think of such as music studies. Likewise, there are countless TEDx talks on various applications of the subject as it relates to various professional disciplines. M ost people in supervisory or management positions have received at least some training or exposure to this topic. So then, what exactly is “EI” and why is it so important to the success or failure of your agency? Simply put, substantial research and much anecdotal evidence suggests that EI is more important than IQ. In other words, the level of intelligence of you or those who work with you is less important than your ability to understand and respond appropriately to others as it relates to success in the workplace. We’ve all seen the tragic results of a police officer who says or does something recorded by body camera or cell phone that ends his or her career and results in major damage to the public perception of their department. Likewise, we have witnessed incidents of off-duty misconduct or inappropriate behavior involving social media that create an embarrassing dilemma for the officer and his/her agency. If you’ve been a supervisor for more than a few weeks, no doubt you can probably identify at least one subordinate who seems to have all the requisite skills, intelligence, and ability to do his or her job well, but the way in which they interact with co-workers and/or the public is hor- rendous. In many cases, this can be directly attributed to a lack of emotional intelligence. To chalk up the behavior to sheer stupidity, a brief lapse in judg- ment, or poor temperament doesn’t always fully explain behavior. This is not to minimize the importance of academic ability, but merely to compare the relative impact of the two. Training and education can improve officers in so-called “hard skills” such as use of force, driving, or report writing, but can we train them for a “soft skill” like EI?

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