George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Research on the incorporation of Emotional Intelligence into the training of police officers at the present time is limited. However, it is clear that the popular notion that police officers are somehow immune to the extreme stresses associated with the day-to-day experience of policing is unrealistic.
During training in the various police academies, physical and emotional resiliency along with toughness reserved for “the force” is grilled into new recruits. Empathy, emotional self-awareness, compassion, assertiveness, social awareness, flexibility, impulse control or other Emotional Intelligence competencies are rarely considered.
According to a Geoffrey Seville writing in The Police Chief Magazine in a article entitled, Emotional Intelligence Policing: “Most police training and education efforts have downplayed if not ignored the role of emotions. Often, academy educators leave it to field trainers to help new officers through emotionally charged and stressful situations. Departments occasionally provide stress management programs or use untrained mentors to help officers manage their emotions. But few of these approaches consider emotional intelligence.”
Successful surgeons, fire fighters, customer service staff and law enforcement professionals score in the high range for self-awareness, self-control, social awareness, empathy, stress tolerance and impulse control. Individuals with higher levels of emotional intelligence are better able to recognize and manage their behavior, have more positive interpersonal interactions, and engage in fewer problem behaviors including aggressive or violent acts.
It appears that officers who are able to increase their EI have a distinct advantage, both personally and professionally, in a number of important areas, including self-control, decision making, and interpersonal skills.
Anderson & Anderson, APC has provided coaching for uniformed officers from 6 different law enforcement agencies in Southern California.
Here are the Pre and Post Assessment results for one officer who completed our six- month Emotional Intelligence Program for Impulse Control. The assessment used is the internationally recognized EQ-i-2.0 Emotional Intelligence Assessment. These results are similar to those of other officers who have been seen in our program. It is clear that the experience of one client does not represent a sample of anything. However, it may offer a hint of the value of including emotional intelligence skill enhancement in the training of law enforcement personnel as well as coaching for impulse control.
Total EI 83 out of 130
Self-Perception Composite 81
Emotional Self-Awareness 111
Self-Expression Composite 79
Emotional Expression 82
Interpersonal Composite 100
Interpersonal Relationships 108
Social Responsibility 87
Decision Making Composite 92
Problem Solving 102
Reality Testing 100
Impulse Control 80
Stress Management Composite 74
Stress Tolerance 99
70 Low Range 90 Mid Range 110 High Range 130
A careful review of the Pre Assessment results reveals that seven out of the client’s fifteen scores are in the Low Range, 70-90, five fall in the Mid-Range and only one in the High-Range. These are the type of scores that place professionals and leaders at risk for career derailment.
Lets take a look at the Post Assessment Results for this same officer after six months of Emotional Intelligence Coaching for Impulse Control.
Total EI 99 out of 130
Self-Perception Composite 103
Emotional Self-Awareness 116
Self-Expression Composite 103
Emotional Expression 102
Interpersonal Composite 104
Interpersonal Relationships 106
Social Responsibility 99
Decision Making Composite 91
Problem Solving 96
Reality Testing 98
Impulse Control 107
Stress Management Composite 95
Stress Tolerance 98
70 Low Range 90 Mid Range 110 High Range 130
The post assessment results indicate that none of the clients’ scores are in the low range. Sixteen scores are in the Mid-Range and one score is in the High Range. It may be worth noting that his optimism score increased from a low of 64 to 97. Emotional Intelligence Coaching is a promising intervention for enhancing impulse control in law enforcement professionals.
Anderson & Anderson, APC is the largest provider of Executive Coaching for “disruptive physicians’ in the nation and a major provider of Emotional Intelligence Coaching for Impulse Control.