Penn State Health Behavioral EQ Transforms Leaders, Culture and Customer Care


The TRACOM Group went on a client road tour this past year to collect the stories, successes and insights of our clients. The video stories collected include personal and professional anecdotes of how Social Intelligence programs — SOCIAL STYLE, Behavioral EQ, Resilience and Agility — have impacted the lives, careers and organizations of those who have applied the knowledge and skills gained through training. These stories were not scripted – each person who contributed shared their perspectives because they have experienced the benefits of improved Social Intelligence personally. Thank you to our clients and associates for sharing their successes!

“We are all working toward the same north star.”

Michelle Duncan
Director of Learning & Leadership Development
Penn State Health System

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own self-awareness of your own emotions. I think oftentimes that we believe we understand how we feel, how we think, but we don’t have a true identity of how to define that. Emotional Intelligence really gives us the ability to put some definition and some understanding in a way that we can share that part of ourselves with others.”

“Emotional Intelligence is important to me for a number of reasons. First, it’s my ability to be aware of how I act, but also to identify that if I’m feeling a certain way it can translate into how I behave. So I want to make sure that I’m very self-aware, especially in my role as a leader. I think it’s important to make sure that you have a clear understanding of who you are and where you fall on the Emotional Intelligence spectrum.” 

“I have to be aware that sometimes I can be impatient, so as a leader I want to make sure that’s not transpiring to my behaviors and that my employees are understanding that I am there to listen. I’m there to coach, but I’m also trying to be very emotionally aware of my challenges and shortcomings. As a healthcare organization, Penn State Health really has to understand not only our patient experience but also our employee experience. The reason why Behavioral Emotional Intelligence is really critical for us to understand is because what we do impacts the lives of others. If we’re having a bad day, we can’t bring that to work. We have to have some way of understanding and recognizing that so that we can still provide top-notch patient care.”

“One of the examples that I like to reference in regard to using Behavioral EQ in the workplace is working as a member of the leadership team. As you can imagine, we all have competing priorities and everyone feels that their needs, especially around budgeting cycle, are the most important needs in the room. So it’s really important for me to think about how I’m going to not only feel going into budgeting meetings, but also how will I behave. One of the ways that I’ve found to practice self-control is to really hear out what my colleagues have to share or express what’s important to them. Sometimes it’s really challenging, especially if you understand that you have a vision, a mission for your department that you really want to execute, so you’re trying to defend. What I found to be really important is to just kind of take a step back and be aware that it’s not a competition. 

We’re all working towards the same north star—providing excellent customer service—and that sometimes you have to give a little to get a little. If you’re not aware that’s a challenge you may face, you could find yourself in a really combative situation, versus more of a dialogue situation with your colleagues.” 

“Behavioral EQ can really help to shape the culture of an organization. I’ll speak from a human resources perspective because that’s my area of expertise. As HR professionals we’re often sought out to solve problems; however, if we’re given the opportunity to use our platform to not only solve problems but to understand the root causes of those problems, we can really take Emotional Intelligence and educate the organization to look deeper than the surface of some of the challenges that it may face.”


Special thanks to Michelle Duncan and Amanda Hulse of Penn State Health for sharing their experience, knowledge and leadership on the topic of Behavioral EQ.

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