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Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

New course teaches managers to read and understand co-workers' emotions

If you’ve ever had a boss who just didn’t understand your feelings, you’re not alone. Many business managers seem unaware of their employees’ and co-workers’ emotions, according to John Oesch and Stéphane Côté, both assistant professors of organizational behaviour.

To ease some of the discord in the workplace, Oesch and Côté developed a course on the emotionally intelligent manager. Offered at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management for the first time this past year, the second-year elective is believed to be the first emotions course offered as part of a Canadian MBA curriculum; only a few American MBA schools offer such courses.

Emotional intelligence can be taught to future managers, says Oesch. “The first part is understanding your own emotions and how to regulate them; the second part is developing the skills to read and understand other people’s emotions – and these are learned skills. These tools will help you to motivate employees by understanding and reading them better.”

“We are training people to be good leaders and since many experts believe that emotional intelligence is one of the best predictors of good leadership, more students are becoming interested in this area. We demonstrate that emotions have a huge effect on behaviour. As a manager, the more you understand how emotions affect people, the better you will understand and lead people.”

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