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A few years ago, I met Richard Margolin, the founder of RoboKind. His company builds assistive robots and avatars to help teach children – especially those on the spectrum – how to interpret social cues. I was fascinated by his venture because of my work helping business leaders and medical teams learn how to “read the room.”

RoboKind was on my mind this week because I saw an article on how their robots are teaching young students how to recognize the emotions of others by reading nonverbal cues as well as better understand their own emotions. These programs are now in more than 400 school districts across the country.

Why is this important? Recognizing your feelings and being able to empathize with the feelings of others are the building blocks for Emotional Intelligence (EI). Those who struggle with these skills have trouble later working with teams, managing conflict, and understanding boundaries. I’ve led programs for managers in the corporate and medical arenas to help them build EI. By learning how to pick up nonverbal cues, they were able to avoid misunderstandings and dramatically improve their business relationships.

How have you seen Emotional Intelligence – or the lack of it – impact someone’s career?