The role of admissions goes beyond enrolling students and ensuring correct data on student files. From the time a family contacts the school through to the students beginning classes, the successful admissions officer needs to work effectively with everyone involved in the process: parents, students, guardians, relocation agencies, embassy liaison personnel, royal representatives, fellow admissions officers in other schools, service providers, education professionals, and school personnel including school secretary, Head of School and divisional heads, marketing team, advancement, IT Team, Finance, classroom teachers, special needs and language teachers, and the school’s transition team, Parent Teacher Association and classroom parents . The list goes on.
We are the face of the school, the ambassadors and in most instances, the first point of contact or the link to our community. While it is such a rewarding role to have, it can be very demanding emotionally.
Connecting effectively with so many stakeholders requires us to be emotionally intelligent. What is Emotional Intelligence? How does it differ from intelligence (IQ)?
Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ) is a term the researchers Peter Salavoy and John Mayer created and was popularized in 1996 by Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence where he defines EI as the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions as well as having the ability to recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others.
He divides Emotional Intelligence into 4 Quadrants:
Self-awareness –when you recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behaviour, know your strengths and weaknesses and have self-confidence.
Self-management – when you are able to control impulsive feelings and behaviours, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments and adapt to changing circumstances.
Social-awareness – when you can understand emotions, needs and concerns of other people, feel comfortable socially and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
Relationship-management – when you know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work in a team and manage conflicts.
Research has shown that 90% of top performers, in any profession, have a high EQ. They have a higher rate of success in inspiring
their teams (Skinner and Spurgeon, 2005) and double their sales (Chapman, 2011).
Emotional Intelligence clearly affects our performance at work, our physical and mental health and our relationships. Do we want to be inspirational in our team? Do we want to influence decision making in our organizations? Do we want to improve student intake?
Is it possible to be so engaged and effective in our relationships and connections? Some people are more inclined to be strongly empathic and able to control their impulses, but the good news is that we can learn to become emotionally intelligent. Our brain is elastic and with practice we can master the skill of developing our EQ.
We can develop Emotional Intelligence if we learn these 5 skills.
EQ Skill 1: The ability to quickly reduce stress
EQ Skill 2: The ability to recognize and manage your emotions.
EQ Skill 3: The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication.
EQ Skill 4: The ability to use humour and play to deal with challenges.
EQ Skill 5: The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence.
Steven Stein (2009) in his book on Emotional Intelligence for Dummies suggests 10 ways to improve your Emotional Intelligence:
• Become more Self-Aware
• Express your thoughts, feelings and beliefs
• Discover your inner passions
• Know your strengths and weaknesses
• Walk in the other person’s shoes
• Manage another person’s emotions
• Be socially responsible
• Manage your own impulses
• Be more flexible
• Be happy
He argues that anyone can learn to develop his or her EQ.
To conclude, we can all be emotionally intelligent. We can all aim to have personal competence + social competence.
If we are emotionally intelligent, as Admissions leaders, we will be able to understand the needs of our new students and their families and play an instrumental role in effectively transitioning them into their new school and country. We can steer them in the right direction and help create the right expectations of what our school and community are all about.