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  • Writer's pictureAustin Aloysius Tay

Emotional intelligence does not fuel emotional agility

Updated: Oct 20, 2023


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First, the speaker showed us a version of the 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 we often tend to move our views according to our emotions. This, according to him, is emotional intelligence.


He said that personality questionnaires in the market only focus on the positives and do not address the negatives. He again stressed that our personality is somewhat fluid because we are emotionally agile. At this juncture, I was flabbergasted by what he said. Indeed, 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 missing in most personality questionnaires in marketing.

Other participants started asking questions that seemed peculiar to me, especially when they compared the personality questionnaire in discussion with a type of assessment such as DISC. I scratched my head about how these are 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, that the session was a kind of façade to flog his wares, i.e. the personality questionnaire.


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


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


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