Emotional Literacy in Lean Six Sigma environment


I admit that the majority of us are more knowledgeable with Emotional Intelligence rather than Emotional Literacy as introduced by Weare that is ”the ability to understand ourselves and other people, and in particular to be aware of, understand, and use information about the emotional states of ourselves and others with competence. It includes the ability to understand, express and manage our own emotions, and respond to the emotions of others, in ways that are helpful to ourselves and others”. Another definition: “the practice of interacting with others in ways that build understanding of our own and others’ emotions, then using this understanding to inform our actions”. Because the meaning of emotional literacy can only manifest in an environment that is carrying about peoples' emotions which is highly interactive, it can only exist in a social and cultural context.

Developing emotional literacy implies that we know first on how to express what we feel in three simple words as: “I feel angry”. Whenever words as “like, that, “ are used they are not part of the emotional literacy. Expressing feelings on a scale, constitutes also an example of using correctly emotional literacy terms. Miscommunication of our feelings and indirect communication leads to a lack of understanding our emotions and impossibility to communicate them. By not recognizing and admitting our lack of education in emotional literacy, we become stagnate in our personal development aside from being dishonest. Nonverbal communication becomes easier to interpret for people who have a higher score on Emotional Intelligence.

As majority of companies are either multicultural and spread on different continents/countries or have people with different cultural backgrounds, it is important that employees can express freely their feelings by trying to understand their own mind in any situation or condition. Once a person can communicate about his/her feel to the other person, there is a startup for communication between the two of them. As Lean Six Sigma has high visibility because results are reported openly, it can cause troubled feelings to some people, therefore it is important to establish the Emotional Literacy as part of the Change Management phase.

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