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From Classroom to Boardroom: The Imperative of Emotional Intelligence in Education

Updated: Mar 12

From Classroom to Boardroom: The Imperative of Emotional Intelligence in Education

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In today's rapidly evolving world, where interpersonal skills reign supreme, the importance of Emotional Intelligence (EI) cannot be overstated. As we groom tomorrow's leaders, integrating EI into the foundation of our education system becomes imperative. The impact of EI on decision-making, relationships, and overall well-being is profound as individuals navigate their personal and professional lives. Studies consistently show that leaders with high EI outperform their peers, fostering innovation, collaboration, and resilience. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution emphasizing soft skills, effective leadership demands a strong EI foundation.

According to TalentSmart, individuals with high EI earn an average of $29,000 more annually, highlighting the tangible financial benefits. The World Economic Forum predicts EI to be one of the top skills required in the workplace by 2022, underscoring its significance in the professional arena. EI is pivotal for personal growth, professional success, and building better leaders for the future.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals reports that 95% of surveyed teachers believe that social-emotional learning should be taught in schools, highlighting a consensus among educators on the importance of emotional intelligence education.

A UNESCO report reveals that only 11% of countries have fully integrated social-emotional learning into their education systems, indicating a global gap in addressing emotional intelligence in schools.

2.Current Educational Landscape in India

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)

- Balanced approach incorporating science, commerce, and humanities streams.

Recent changes focus on reducing curriculum load for a more holistic and

skill-oriented education.

Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE)

- Strong emphasis on English. Aims to provide a comprehensive and broad- based education. Includes a wide range of subjects, encouraging deeper

understanding of concepts.

State Education Boards

- Each state has its own education board (e.g., Maharashtra State Board, Tamil Nadu State Board). Curriculum variations based on regional requirements and


National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

- Aims to revamp the entire education system. Emphasizes a flexible and multidisciplinary approach. Reduces rigid separation of science, commerce, and

arts streams.

Inclusion of Life Skills

- Growing recognition of the importance of life skills and experiential learning.

Encourages practical skills development like communication, problem-solving, and


Digital Learning Initiatives

- Increasing emphasis on integrating digital tools and e-learning. COVID-19 pandemic accelerated adoption of online learning, prompting exploration of digital

resources for teaching.

3.Gaps in Existing System Regarding Emotional Intelligence Education


Gaps in Existing System Regarding Emotional Intelligence Education


·       -Limited Integration in Curriculum: Many educational systems prioritize academic subjects over emotional intelligence development.

·       Assessment and Measurement: Existing tools for measuring emotional intelligence are not widely used or standardized.

·       Age-Appropriate Curriculum: Emotional intelligence curriculum may not suit the developmental stages of students.

·       Cultural Sensitivity: Programs may not consider cultural diversity, affecting relevance.

·       Focus on Academic Performance: Pressure to excel academically may overshadow EI importance.


·       Teacher Training and Awareness: Teachers may lack training to incorporate emotional intelligence into teaching.

·       Assessment and Measurement: Lack of systematic evaluation makes program effectiveness assessment difficult.

·       Resource Constraints: Schools may lack resources to implement comprehensive EI education


·       Parental Involvement: Efforts to involve parents in EI development may be limited.

·       Focus on Academic Performance: Emphasis on academics may overlook EI development.

·       Insufficient Research and Data: Lack of research on long-term EI impact.

·       Incorporation into Higher Education: EI education integration may be inconsistent in higher education curriculum

4.The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Education

Enhanced Academic Focus: Students with strong EI exhibit improved focus and attention, positively impacting their academic performance.

Effective Learning Strategies: EI contributes to effective learning strategies, helping students cope with challenges and enhance overall learning outcomes.

Increased Intrinsic Motivation: Emotionally intelligent students demonstrate increased intrinsic motivation, leading to a proactive commitment to academic goals.

Resilience in Challenges: EI fosters resilience, enabling students to navigate setbacks, learn from experiences, and maintain a positive approach to academic challenges.

Efficient Time Management: Students with EI skills manage their time efficiently, balancing academic responsibilities, extracurricular activities, and personal well-being.

Positive Social Relationships: Emotionally intelligent students establish positive relationships with teachers and peers, creating a supportive learning environment.

Enhanced Empathy and Perspective-Taking: EI contributes to higher levels of empathy and perspective-taking, improving interpersonal relationships.

Effective Communication Skills: Emotionally intelligent students engage in effective communication, expressing thoughts and emotions clearly and navigating social interactions with empathy.

Conflict Resolution Abilities: EI equips students with conflict resolution skills, allowing them to approach conflicts calmly and contribute to constructive resolutions.

Teamwork and Leadership: Emotionally intelligent students excel in teamwork, collaboration, and leadership, fostering a positive and inclusive social atmosphere within the school community.

4.1Components of Emotional Intelligence contributing to Leadership

4.2How EI relates to Improved Communication, Conflict Resolution, and Team Collaboration:


Emotionally intelligent leaders excel in communication by understanding the emotions underlying messages. This enables them to convey information effectively, listen actively, and adapt their communication style to the team's needs.

•Conflict Resolution:

EI facilitates effective conflict resolution as emotionally intelligent leaders can navigate conflicts with empathy and understanding. They encourage open communication, address underlying emotions, and guide the team toward mutually beneficial resolutions.

•Team Collaboration:

Emotionally intelligent leaders foster team collaboration by creating an environment where team members feel valued and understood. They promote a culture of trust, encourage diverse perspectives, and leverage the strengths of each team member to achieve common goals.

5.Benefits of Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

· Research by the Center for Creative Leadership:

According to a study by the Center for Creative Leadership, leaders with high emotional intelligence are more likely to succeed in leadership roles. The research highlights the positive correlation between EI and leadership effectiveness.


· Success Story of Daniel Goleman's Leadership Model:

Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in EI research, emphasizes the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership through his model. Organizations that adopt Goleman's EI principles often report improved leadership effectiveness, employee satisfaction, and organizational performance.


· Google's Project Aristotle:

Google's Project Aristotle, a study on team effectiveness, identified psychological safety as a key factor. Teams with emotionally intelligent leaders, who fostered a psychologically safe environment, were found to perform better and exhibit higher levels of innovation.


· Increased Employee Engagement at FedEx:

FedEx implemented emotional intelligence training for its leaders, resulting in increased employee engagement and a positive impact on customer satisfaction. The focus on EI contributed to a more collaborative and customer-centric organizational culture.

6.Examples of successful EI programs in educational institutions.

·RULER Program (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence):

The RULER program, developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is designed to integrate emotional intelligence into school curricula. RULER stands for Recognize, Understand, Label, Express, and Regulate emotions. It provides educators, students, and parents with tools and resources to create an emotionally intelligent school environment. Schools that have implemented RULER have reported improvements in social and emotional skills, reduced behavioral issues, and enhanced academic performance.


·SEL Programs (CASEL - Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning):

CASEL is a leading organization promoting Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools. Their framework encompasses five core competencies, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Many schools across the United States have successfully adopted SEL programs aligned with CASEL's framework, leading to improved student behavior, increased academic achievement, and positive school climates.


·Life Skills Education in Kendriya Vidyalaya:

Kendriya Vidyalaya, a system of central government schools in India, often include life skills education in their curriculum. These life skills encompass aspects of emotional intelligence, helping students develop skills such as self-awareness, interpersonal communication, and stress management.

7.International Best Practices: FINLAND’s EDUCATION MODEL

·No Standardized Testing:

-Finland rejects standardized testing, relying on an individualized grading system based on teacher assessments.

-The only exception is the voluntary National Matriculation Exam for upper- secondary students.

·Accountability for Teachers:

-Finland places a high bar for teachers, with a requirement of a master's degree before entering the profession.

-Teacher accountability is based on individual responsibility, with a principal acting if performance is subpar.

·Cooperation Over Competition:

Finland emphasizes cooperation instead of competition, challenging the Darwinian approach seen in many educational systems.

-There are no lists of top-performing schools or teachers; the focus is on collective success.

·Making Basics a Priority:

-Finnish education prioritizes returning to basics, aiming to create an equitable and harmonious learning environment.

-Focus areas include balancing social inequality, providing free school meals, healthcare access, psychological counseling, and individualized guidance.

·Starting School at an Older Age:

-Students in Finland begin school at the age of seven, allowing them a more carefree early childhood.

-Compulsory education ends after nine years, providing students with optional paths for further education.

·Professional Options Beyond College:

-Finland offers professional options beyond traditional college degrees, with programs like Upper Secondary School and vocational education.

-The focus is on preparing students for either university or various careers based on individual preferences.

·Later Start for Less Strenuous Schooldays:

-Students in Finland start school later, between 9:00 – 9:45 AM, acknowledging the detrimental effects of early start times.

-Longer class periods and breaks contribute to a holistic learning environment.

·Consistent Instruction from the Same Teachers:

-Fewer teachers and students in Finnish schools allow for consistent instruction, with students often having the same teacher for up to six years.

-This builds strong teacher-student relationships, fostering trust and individualized support.

· A More Relaxed Atmosphere:

-Finnish schools prioritize a relaxed atmosphere, with longer breaks, recreational activities, and teacher lounges.

-The focus is on creating an environment conducive to holistic learning.

·Less Homework and Outside Work:

-Finnish students have the least amount of outside work globally, spending only half an hour a night on school-related tasks.

-Despite minimal homework, Finnish students consistently outperform peers globally, emphasizing true learning over excessive stress.

7.1Few other countries have achieved notable success by implementing EI values in curriculum.

Several countries and educational systems have achieved notable success in fostering holistic education, prioritizing students' well-being, and emphasizing skills beyond academic achievement. Here are a few examples:


Singapore has achieved success in combining academic excellence with holistic development. The education system in Singapore places a strong emphasis on character education, social skills, and values. There is recognition of the importance of developing well-rounded individuals beyond academic achievements.


Canada's education system is known for its inclusivity and emphasis on a comprehensive approach. Various provinces in Canada prioritize student well- being, mental health, and social-emotional learning. The focus extends beyond academic success to nurturing students' creativity, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills.


 ·New Zealand:

New Zealand places a strong emphasis on student well-being and holistic education. The curriculum includes a focus on values, personal development, and the arts. The education system aims to develop students who are not only academically proficient but also socially responsible and creative.


The Dutch education system emphasizes an integrated approach, valuing both academic and personal development. There is a focus on creating a positive school environment, promoting creativity, and fostering a sense of community. Social-emotional learning is integrated into the curriculum.


Australia has made strides in promoting a well-rounded education system. The Australian curriculum includes a focus on general capabilities, which encompass skills such as critical and creative thinking, ethical behavior, and personal and social competence. The emphasis is on preparing students for success in all aspects of life.

·South Korea (Changing Approach):

South Korea, traditionally known for its rigorous academic system, has been making efforts to shift towards a more holistic education approach. There is an increased emphasis on reducing academic pressure, fostering creativity, and promoting a balanced lifestyle.


Denmark's education system emphasizes a learner-centered approach and values holistic development. There is a focus on creating an inclusive and supportive learning environment, allowing students to develop not only academically but also socially and emotionally.

8.Challenges and Solutions





Age-Appropriate Content

Collaborate with educators, child psychologists, and curriculum specialists to create developmentally appropriate materials.

Consider adapting content to suit the cognitive and emotional

capacities of different age groups.


Assessment and Measurement

Develop innovative assessment tools, such as self-assessments, peer evaluations, and project-based assessments. Focus on qualitative

indicators like behavior changes, improved communication, and enhanced interpersonal skills.


Resistance to Change

Communicate the research-backed benefits of emotional intelligence. Provide success stories and case studies from other educational institutions. Involve stakeholders in the planning process to address concerns and build support.


Curricular Constraints

Integrate emotional intelligence concepts into existing subjects or establish dedicated time slots for specialized emotional intelligence education. Collaboration with teachers from different subjects can

help infuse emotional intelligence across the curriculum.


Teacher Training and Readiness

Provide comprehensive professional development programs for teachers. Offer workshops, training sessions, and resources to equip teachers with the necessary skills and knowledge. Foster a

supportive environment for ongoing learning and collaboration.


Resource Constraints

Prioritize and allocate resources strategically. Leverage technology for cost-effective solutions, such as online resources and webinars. Seek partnerships with external organizations or community

resources to supplement school initiatives.


Parental Involvement

Conduct informational sessions for parents, highlighting the benefits of emotional intelligence in academic and personal development.

Encourage family involvement in related activities and initiatives. Foster opens communication channels between schools and parents.


Cultural Sensitivity

Tailor emotional intelligence education to be culturally sensitive and relevant. Involve diverse voices in program development. Provide flexibility for schools to adapt materials based on their specific

cultural context.

9.Measuring and Assessing Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) are closely related concepts, and the terms are often used interchangeably. Emotional Intelligence refers to the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and effectively use one's own emotions and those of others. On the other hand, Emotional Quotient, or EQ, is a measurement of a person's emotional intelligence. EQ is a numerical representation or score that reflects an individual's level of emotional intelligence.

EI as a Concept: Emotional Intelligence is a broader concept encompassing various emotional skills and competencies, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

EQ as a Measurement: Emotional Quotient, on the other hand, is a quantifiable measure that assesses the level of an individual's emotional intelligence. It provides a numeric score reflecting proficiency in emotional competencies.


In conclusion, psychometric tests emerge as indispensable tools for quantifying and measuring the progress of emotional intelligence (EI) in individuals, providing a structured framework for understanding and enhancing this crucial aspect of personal development. While these assessments offer valuable insights, it is essential to recognize that emotional intelligence is a nuanced trait, extending beyond numerical measurements. Integrating psychometric tests into the educational system presents an opportunity for a more comprehensive approach to nurturing emotional intelligence.

Looking ahead, the Ministry of Education holds a pivotal role in cultivating emotional intelligence within the schooling system. Initiatives such as integrating EI modules into the curriculum, organizing teacher training programs, and fostering a positive school culture can collectively contribute to an environment that promotes emotional intelligence on an institutional level. Collaborating with families through resource provision, workshops, and encouraging open communication extends the development of emotional intelligence to the family level.

On an individual level, empowering children with tools and strategies to enhance their emotional intelligence becomes paramount. Age-appropriate programs, workshops, and activities within schools can equip children with essential skills for self-awareness, empathy, and effective interpersonal relationships.

In the era of information, leveraging various tools such as news, the internet, and policy initiatives is crucial. The Ministry of Education can utilize these platforms to disseminate information about the significance of emotional intelligence, share success stories, and promote awareness. Integrating emotional intelligence considerations into educational policies ensures a systematic and sustained focus on this critical aspect of personal development.

Importantly, this concerted effort to foster emotional intelligence contributes significantly to building better leaders for India's future. Leaders equipped with high emotional intelligence are better poised to navigate complex challenges, inspire collaboration, and make informed, empathetic decisions. By prioritizing emotional intelligence in education, we are laying the foundation for a generation of leaders who not only excel academically but also demonstrate resilience, empathy, and the ability to positively influence the world around them. This comprehensive approach to emotional intelligence is a key driver in shaping leaders who will contribute to the socio-economic and cultural development of India in the years to come.

Meet The Thought Leader

Vamsi is a mentor at GGI, and has a diverse background that includes being a former McKinsey employee and a graduate of IIT Madras. He possesses a broad skill set encompassing strategy and operations, gained from his various roles and industry exposure.

Meet The Authors (GGI Fellows)

Siddhi is a Computer Application graduate and is currently pursuing Executive MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis University. She is anexperienced associate consultant delivering strategic software solutions with expertise in product consultancy, project management, risk and compliance and data analysis. She thrives in problem-solving and is driven by creating tangible impact for client success and technical advancement.

If you are interested in applying to GGI's Impact Fellowship program, you can access our application link here.


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