Willing To Learn

I wanted to close out this term by inviting you to join me for a brief, five part journey on emotional intelligence, plus this introduction.

Victoria College is in the midst of strategic planning. As an entire institution, we are taking a serious look at our strengths, at our weaknesses. Externally, yes, we consider opportunities and threats, but the bulk of discussions I’ve heard in the early days of the processes were focused internally. Strengths and weaknesses.

As everyone with the privilege to claim Dr Pat Vandervoort as mentor knows, you get a small book titled Strengths Finder by Tom Rath. Through that process of self-discovery, I found that one of my strengths is I enjoy thinking, which Mr. Rath calls Intellection. (Who knew, right?) I certainly agree with him that focusing on strengths is a great way to lead. It keeps things positive, which is terribly important (more on that later).

However, while everyone has strengths, we also have not-yet-strengths. (I’m a big believer that we control our own fates to a large extent.) A friend of mine regularly tells me, “Get rid of that crutch of yours.” No self-assessment would be complete without spending some time on self-improvement.

I recently found a book collecting ten articles from the Harvard Business Review about Emotional Intelligence (EI or sometimes EQ as a contrast to IQ). Emotions would definitely be one of my “W’s” on a SWOT analysis. I understand them poorly, although I am at long last willing to learn.

The research is essentially irrefutable, it seems. While regular intelligence unquestionably has uses, when it comes to connecting, motivating, empowering, and helping people, emotional intelligence is at least double any other measured skill in that formula.

For my next five posts, we’ll explore self-regulation, motivation, empathy, self-awareness, and social skill.  These are the five components of emotional intelligence. It turns out these can be learned, enhanced, and developed.

I promised to keep this brief (371 words), and I keep my word. I’ll close with a comment about our cover photo this week. I’ve always liked it. An outdoor deer and an indoor cat might not understand much about each other’s worlds. All the same, those two look like they’re willing to learn.

deer and cat meeting through a window
deer and cat meeting through a window


Matt Wiley is a tenured, associate professor of mathematics with awards in both mathematics education and honour student engagement. He earned an assortment of degrees in computer science, business, and pure mathematics from the University of California and Texas A&M systems. He is the director of quality enhancement at Victoria College, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive assessment program to enhance institutional performance outcomes. A programmer, a published author, a mathematician, and a transformational leader, Matt has always melded his passion for writing with his joy of logical problem solving and data science. From the boardroom to the classroom, he enjoys finding dynamic ways to partner with interdisciplinary and diverse teams to make complex ideas and projects understandable and solvable.

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