My “Touchy-Feely” Field 1 Experience – What I Learned and Why it Matters

Although I have taken many lessons from Field Foundations that can be leveraged later, the lessons that will stick with me the strongest have been the emotional intelligence lessons.  Prior to arriving at HBS, I asked my staff, customers, boss, and peers to complete the emotional and social intelligence survey.  Also during the emotional intelligence session, we completed two impactful exercises.  First, I wrote down characteristics of a supervisor I admired.  Then, we completed an emotional intelligence developmental worksheet.

Emotional Intelligence Survey Results  (Red Arrow = Strength)

Emotional Intelligence Survey Results
(Red Arrow = Strength)

Fearing the worst, I had been anxiously awaiting the results of the emotional and social intelligence survey since I had sent them out early last summer.  I had rated myself also.  I judged myself as having poor self and organizational awareness and mediocre cognitive abilities.  I was hoping for the best, but still worried that others may have assessed me worse than I had assessed myself.  The truth was quite the opposite.  The average responses of others had indicated on 86% of the criteria the survey group had rated me higher than I had myself, with only one criterion that I had rated myself higher by a small margin.  In fact, 12 of the 14 of the criteria were listed as “a strength.”  Clearly, I am my own worse critic.  I have wasted a lot of energy concerned about how others experience me.  Professor Ghosh had told us that we are our own worst critics, but having data to prove that point really drives it home.  Of course compliancy isn’t appropriate, but frequent fear of how I am being experienced isn’t justified either.

During our emotional intelligence session, Professor Ghosh asked us to write down attributes of a supervisor we admired. After making the list, he asked us to quantify what percentage of the attributes were related to EQ vs. IQ. My percentage was 95-5.  My classmates percentages were not quite so extreme but still were greater than 50% EQ. There is a simple lesson here, when it comes to leadership, EQ is more important than IQ. I would assume our global partners during Field 2 will have high IQ expectations of us, but what will really determine our success will be our team’s ability to demonstrate high emotional intelligence when working together.

In the same class, we completed an emotional intelligence developmental worksheet. The worksheet provided a useful framework to build goals on how to become a more emotionally intelligent leader.  I hoped to inspire others to perform at their personal best by making them feel empowered and valued. Using the framework, I identified behaviors (interrupting others and dismissing the emotional aspects of business situations) I hoped to reduce and behaviors (actively listening with both my eyes and ears, etc.) I hoped to start or do more. Most importantly, I identified three practical steps to take immediately.  After reflecting on these steps, I am disappointed in my progress in achieving these.  Hopefully, this reflection is the refocusing I need to complete these steps.

After completing Field Foundations, I have been given many tools and skills to help me understand how people experience me and how teams function.  These tools, especially self-awareness and emotional intelligence, I believe will tremendously improve my likelihood of success in Field 2 and all teams I work on in the future.

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