The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

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Participants of the 18S Rockefeller Professional Preparation Program explore emotional intelligence in a discussion led by Mary Nyhan, Assistant Director for Health Improvement at The Student Wellness Center.

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For the fifth session of the Rockefeller Professional Preparation Program (RP3), the Rockefeller Center invited Mary Nyhan, Assistant Director for Health Improvement at The Student Wellness Center, to speak on Emotional Intelligence and Awareness in the workplace. Mary focused her session on allowing participants to reflect and discuss what emotional intelligence actually means and how they can use mindfulness in their every day as well as professional lives.

Mary started the session with a partner activity where participants practiced listening to their partner introduce themselves. She then explained how people can respond more thoughtfully to others when they are aware and in the present as they listen. She opened the entire group to a discussion on what emotional intelligence means and how it can be broken down into five crucial skills - recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotions. In pairs, participants shared their ideas on how each skill can be applicable to certain work environments.

Afterwards, Mary shifted to talk about mindfulness which she defined as “paying attention to the present moment without judgment.” She guided participants through a short meditation exercise in order to practice firsthand a key component of mindfulness. Mary also described other mindfulness practices, such the STOP method, and connected them to success in one’s personal and professional environment.

Participants also reflected on what type of leadership style they take in a team setting through a journaling exercise and a group discussion exercise where participants broke up into 4 groups based on their leadership style. With the latter participants were able to grasp the importance of being self-aware of one’s own style as well as how to work well with different styles. At the end of the session, participants left with a better understanding of emotional intelligence in the workplace and in our lives as well as how to develop self-awareness and improve their communication skills.

Written by Bethany Malzman ’19, Student Program Assistant for Communications and RP3

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