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I thought I was the boss.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is Important for Educators (Part 3)

 Can I be a leader? 

Let’s Look at Relationship Management as a Characteristic of EI. 

Relationship management is the fifth characteristic of EI after empathy.

Have you ever considered yourself a leader?

Leaders have good social skills and are adept at managing change and resolving conflicts diplomatically, an essential ingredient of EI. Having strong social skills allows us to build meaningful relationships and an understanding of ourselves and others.

Relationship management includes social skills such as being an empathetic collaborator and team player. As a result, such social skills enhance teacher/parent negotiation abilities.

Researchers suggest three relationship management strategies:

  1. Practice effective questioning.

Effective questioning is when you use open-ended questions to promote conversations that inspire deep intellectual thought and meaningful social interaction. For example, instead of asking, “are you feeling good today?” Say, “tell me how you’re feeling today.” Effective questioning focuses on the “how” or “why” as opposed to detailing the “what.”

  1. Develop active listening.

Good communication skills go beyond listening. They include being tuned in to the speaker’s nonverbal behavior such as body language and tone of voice. By using active listening in our interactions, we promote mutual understanding and successful outcomes. Active listening encompasses being nonjudgmental, with an emphasis on listening rather than seeking to immediately solve the issue or problem.  To develop your active listening skills, practice suspending judgement, focusing on the speaker, and not interrupting the speaker.

  1. Show interest.

Being a teacher isn’t easy.  It can seem like there are too many lessons to plan, too many students to supervise, and too many papers to grade. It can seem like our days are filled with anxiety.  Visualize back to when you were a student. We had our own problems, and we used to think, “nobody understands me!”  How great would it have been if instead of receiving condescending or judgmental looks from the teacher or our parents, we heard, with a smile, supportive, encouraging words that expressed how special we were.

Think about it:

What kind of impression do you want to make on your students?  Do you want to practice EI?

“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” Haim Ginott


Robin LaBarbera

Robin LaBarbera is an experienced educator, researcher, author, and international speaker. Dr. LaBarbera is the Founder and President of LaBarbera Learning Solutions, a consulting firm
focused on empowering leaders and their teams to harness the power of emotional intelligence to maximize personal and professional success. Before devoting her work fulltime to LaBarbera Learning Solutions, Dr. LaBarbera served for over 15 years as a professor of special education, where she earned the esteemed title of Faculty Emerita from Biola University, and she authored the textbook Educating Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Partnering with Families for Positive Outcomes. Robin is a lifelong learner, with two Bachelor’s Degrees, two Master’s Degrees, and two Doctoral Degrees (a PhD and a DSW). She is an enthusiastic cyclist, runner, and Gigi to two grandchildren.

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