Masdar Institute is helping to build better leaders and professionals for the UAE through a pilot course on emotional intelligence aimed at enhancing the ability to think more critically about what it means to lead others.
Glenda El Gamal, Lecturer at Masdar Institute, has been teaching the course, titled “Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence” since October.
“This course can help you become a better leader, and also a better, more aware person in general,” commented Mohamed Al Ghailani, a Master’s student in the Chemical Engineering Program and President of the Student Government Association.
Though Masdar Institute’s main function is to conduct cutting-edge research in advanced energy and sustainable technologies, its efforts to develop the leadership skills of its students, staff and faculty directly supports the Institute’s goal of developing high-caliber professionals with the skills needed to drive the UAE’s knowledge-economy transformation.
“The emotional intelligence skills that the students develop in this course can educate them to become innovators with the breadth and depth to develop the UAE region as a knowledge hub both in the region and the world,” said El Gamal.
“I want to share this knowledge about emotional intelligence and give our student leaders – who will be future leaders in the community – the opportunity to equip themselves with knowledge of how the brain operates and how the emotional response system works,” El Gamal added.
The two-hour sessions are being held weekly over the course of eight weeks, and are designed to teach students how to judge the consequences of their actions, problem solve, have rational thinking even in critical situations, become familiar with their own emotions, learn flexibility, self-control, and empathy towards their team and co-workers.
Emotional intelligence is the ability of an individual to monitor their own emotions and the emotions of others, while understanding the differences between them using that information to guide their actions.
“Emotional intelligence is a key factor in effective leadership. It’s a valuable skill to have – being able to relate to behaviors and challenges of emotional intelligence on workplace performance can really help a person develop an exceptional team. If leaders are mindful and attuned to the emotional dimension of their team members, they can more effectively gauge their needs, wants and expectations,” El Gamal added.
The course was developed with input from El Gamal, Dr. Amal Al Ghaferi, Dean of Students, Rabia Bekhazi, Director of Student Affairs and Fatima Alamri, Student Affairs Officer. They wanted to offer Masdar Institute students, staff and faculty a unique platform to learn valuable leadership skills while developing cohesion across departments and sections of the Masdar Institute community.
“Greater interaction brings greater trust and better cooperation among groups, so I believe this mix of staff, faculty and students is immensely rewarding,” El Gamal shared.
Emotional intelligence plays a critical role in a person’s holistic development, helping them become better leaders and team members. Masdar Institute recognizes the inherent value of cultivating these skills in its students, and El Gamal hopes to be able to offer this course to a larger section of the Masdar Institute community in the future.
Science and Technology Writer
17 December 2015