On June 8, the Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation (AWAF) hosted a Professional Development Workshop on Emotional Intelligence (EI) called “The Heart of Great Leadership” at the VisTaTech Center at Schoolcraft College in Livonia, MI.
Corinne M. Smereka, who is in charge of Workforce Training Solutions for the Schoolcraft Business Development Center and is also co-chair of AWAF’s Professional Development Committee, taught the session, which was attended by more than a dozen industry professionals.
Smereka explained, “Emotional intelligence is critical for enhancing leadership abilities. In fact, studies have found that 67 percent of all competencies deemed essential for high performance were related to EI.
“Most people achieve technical and academic competencies through education and training somewhat by virtue of their Intelligence Quotient (IQ), but learning Emotional Intelligence and using one’s Emotional Quotient (EQ) are rarely taught. EI focuses on developing relationships with people by understanding ourselves and our emotions and recognizing and managing them in ourselves and others. It requires practice, empathy and intuition, but if we neglect this aspect of self and people management, we may be unable to optimally relate to clients and develop the relationships needed for our careers to progress. The good news is that while someone’s IQ is somewhat static, EQ can be significantly improved.”
Smereka’s presentation focused on what EI is, how to develop it and how it can serve to enhance one’s career. This aligns with AWAF’s mission to empower women in the automotive industry and boost their leadership skills. Sherry Irwin, co-chair of the Professional Development Committee, attended the informative session, calling Smereka “an absolutely wonderful professional in education and development.”
“She taught us that EI is the ability to be aware of, name and manage one’s emotions as well as others’ emotions,” Irwin said. “It’s the ability to relate to others in effective ways, personally and professionally, in a wide range of roles, plus it’s important for managing stress, collaborating with co-workers, suppliers and customers, and understanding those capacities are the foundation for all competencies and skills.”
Irwin was interested in the topic after a previous AWAF presentation on the subject by a Ford executive piqued her interest.