Dr Austin Tay


4I recently attended a talk, supposedly on emotional agility, and was quickly feeling a bit perplexed by the whole session.


First, the speaker showed us a version of personality tool that his company provides and he was successful in getting all the participants to perform some form of standing twister – moving from one side to another in response to his questions. From this exercise, he swiftly concluded that many a time we tend to move our views according to our emotions. This, according, to him is emotional intelligence.


He carried on to say that personality questionnaires in the market only focus on the positive and do not address the negatives. He again stressed that because all of us are emotionally agile, our personality is somewhat fluid. At this juncture, I was flabbergasted by what he said. Surely, this is nothing new, as practitioners who deal with personality questionnaire know that all personality questionnaires are subjective and has to be interpreted within the relevant context. He did show some statistics and insisted that emotional intelligence is the fifth dimension that is missing in most personality questionnaire in the marketing.


Other participants started asking questions that seem peculiar to me especially when they compared the personality questionnaire in discussion with a type like assessment such as DISC. I scratched my head as to how are all these connected with emotional agility? What exactly does the speaker mean when he says emotional agility. A colleague of mine who was present was equally perplexed as we both thought we came to a session that talked about emotional agility. We realized, too late albeit, the session is a kind of façade to flog his wares, i.e. the personality questionnaire.


Obviously, the speaker knows nothing about how a personality questionnaire is used by practitioners (legit ones) and that he is clueless as to what emotional agility entails. A Google search landed me to an article written in HBR in 2013 by Susan David and Christina Congleton where they explained what emotional agility is. That is based on the premise of Acceptance Commitment Therapy.  For more details about the article please click on the link (https://hbr.org/2013/11/emotional-agility).


After reading the article, I realized that the organizer and the speaker of the event have conveniently taken parts of the article as part of the session outline. Such ‘borrowed’ behavior only affirms the understanding and knowledge the speaker has. Another event from the same organizer – No thanks!

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