Gen Y and Emotional Intelligence

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Does Gen Y lack Emotional Intelligence?  As this article describes, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” In other words, EQ is knowing your own personality traits and triggers, and how those impact others around you.

People with higher EQ are often more effective team members and contribute to a more collaborative workplace.For example, Juan may have strong attention to detail. Yet if he constantly asks for every minute detail, his colleagues may think he’s micromanaging them and get frustrated with him, which is not his intent. His intent is to ensure that the team has thought through all the possible problem areas. So Juan has to self-manage his need to know all the details with his team’s need for autonomy. This is EQ in action.

Research on Emotional Intelligence suggests that it is experience related, not age related.  Since age and experience often (but not always) go hand in hand, younger people may be more likely to have lower levels of Emotional Intelligence than older people. But wouldn’t you think that the shared experiences of Gen Y, such as 9/11, the economic crisis, globalization, prevalence of the Internet and increase in travel are of such a dramatic and global nature that they might create greater awareness and a more acute sense of one’s place in the world?

My experience with Gen Y reveals a group that has been emotionally and financially supported, protected and nurtured by its parents. This means that this generation can be incredibly confident.  In my opinion, this confidence combined with the global nature of their shared experiences, means that Gen Y can successfully develop a high EQ.

What do you think?

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