Education, Training and Emotional Intelligence: What matters more?

If you were set the task of setting a National Curriculum in line with modern society, or indeed your business, what would you change?

Over 30 years ago, the National Curriculum was established to ensure a standard of education for young adults. This has developed with reforms in 2013 and the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in 2017, adding more skills-based training and supplementing the traditional educational methods for young people joining the workforce.

So, what is the difference between education and training?

In very basic terms, education can be seen as the acquirement of knowledge, whereas training is the development of a skill, and arguably it is skills that have become most relevant to businesses. Most, therefore, have a Training Department designed to give their people the necessary tools to carry out their role, yet precious few have Education Departments.

Does that mean education stops when we join the workforce? Do we assume that when we leave traditional establishments, our educational journey is complete, and all we require to become a star employee is the skills training relevant to our role? Recent research has now shown that this is not necessarily the case.

A Humanizing Learning Report published by Udemy for Business identified the seven top business and soft skills to focus on in 2019:

  • Conflict Management
  • Time Management
  • Stress Management
  • Communication Skills
  • Company Culture
  • Customer Service
  • Emotional Intelligence

Interestingly we now see Emotional Intelligence (EQ) on the list for the first time.

In the years since the National Curriculum was introduced, significant research has been carried out into how our brains mature and develop through adolescence. We now know that the limbic system, responsible for our emotional responses, decision making, self-control and risk-taking behaviours isn’t fully developed until the age of 25.

In his 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence, why it can matter more than IQ” Daniel Goleman established that our future success is more reliant on our Emotional Quotient (EQ) than our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and that our EQ is underpinned by the full and rounded development of our limbic system.

The good news is that “emotional literacy” is not a set pattern in our early years. It is developed through nurture with both education and training as an on-going exercise. Every parent, teacher and business leader has a role to play in the development of our limbic system and the deepening of our understanding.

Businesses, in particular, have a vested interest as the behaviour of their people often dictates key measures of success, such as customer service. How we behave is driven by how we feel, and how we feel is derived from the stories we tell ourselves – either through beliefs, values and/or thought processes. Our immediate behaviour is often a result of a thought process that might not be entirely factual but is actually an emotional limbic system-driven response.

What was always seen as a nice to have skill or temperament is now becoming essential to the future success of a business. Emotional Intelligence also underpins many of the other six factors in the Udemy for Business list.

As Plato said, “human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge”.

So, is your business ensuring that the emotional and behavioural development of your people – through both education and training – is on-going?