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Emotional Intelligence or Attitudinal Competence?

April 8, 2014

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Ever since Daniel Goleman published his 1985 book Emotional Intelligence – why it can matter more than IQ – a debate has raged over the value and importance of emotional intelligence without resolution.

Wikipedia carries this definition: Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. It can be divided into ability EI and trait EI.

Criticisms have centered on whether EI is a real intelligence and whether it has incremental validity over IQ and the Big Five personality traits.

My clients’ experience with EI has been very mixed. There are a few who use the term in describing themselves and others, but most avoid it claiming that it is too theoretical and difficult to apply.

Nevertheless emotions (feelings) are an important component in our behaviour and relationships.

In my earlier career I had developed a method for training covert operators to adjust their attitudes in order to protect their cover or adapt effectively in high risk situations. Later I set about adapting for general use in personal and personnel development.

In 2004 I published my first edition of Master the Power of your Attitudes, defining Attitudinal Competence as being the ability to adopt and adapt one’s best attitude for what has happened, is happening and might happen, without being stuck with habitual attitudes.

That definition has been adopted by Canada’s civil aviation authority Transport Canada for their Multi-crew Pilot Licence Training Programs.

I assert that Attitudinal Competence is more fundamental and practical than EI because whilst it includes emotions (feelings) and how they are formed and how to alter them it also links the cause of our feelings and emotions with our thought patterns, perceptions, meaning, beliefs, intentions, expectations, awareness and ultimately our choice of action.

Attitudinal Competence is an easy skill to learn and my clients prefer it to EI because it has greater depth of meaning and applicability for them. It is very practical.

There are a series of exercises and practices, contextualised for the participants, enabling them to obtain real results and adopt better attitudes for situations that matter to them.

There are two exercises that give participants clarity of the value of Attitudinal Competence.

The first is about an unresolved issue they have in the workplace, and the second is about an unresolved issue they have in their personal life.

When they work through each issue following the process they have just learned, they always adopt a more useful attitude towards the issue and most often are able to resolve it readily.

Their ability to resolve such issues from an attitudinal perspective and then follow up with aligned actions, gives them greater confidence, certainty and peace of mind.

For more information on Attitudinal Competence go here.

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