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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Working With Emotional Intelligence

I enjoyed Goleman’s previous bestseller Emotional Intelligence for its revelation of the intricacies and mysteries of the human brain and its relation to emotion. Working with Emotional Intelligence expands further out from that self-centered area into the working world around us. Those not interested in management theory should eschew this tome for earthier fare. I would venture to say that this is a "must read" for Human Resources persons. In fact, all deeply involved in today’s frantic business climate could learn much from Goleman.

The author has drawn on extensive research done in the highest reaches of worldwide corporations, governments, and business schools. Researchers found emotional intelligence is by far the most desired and looked for trait when hiring top executives and managers. What Goleman has done is try to codify what qualities and characteristics define emotional intelligence in the workplace. Too many corporations have sunk money into training programs that actually negatively affect managers. Rather than a quick fix, "you will find here sound guidelines for the real work of becoming more emotionally competent. These guidelines represent a level-headed survey of new thinking, research findings, and model practices from organizations around the world," (p. 14).

The book takes on almost a spiritual quality when comparing the emotional competencies of successful managers with that of the unsuccessful. Successful managers are calm, confident, conscientious, high integrity, empathic, and sensitive, while the derailed executive is described as denying, covering up, passing the buck, overly ambitious, abrasive, and intimidating. This from interviews with sixty-two top executives of Fortune 500 corporations done by Leslie and Van Velsor, in "A Look at Derailment Today: North American and Europe," (Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, NC, 1996), quoted by Goleman.

EQ matters more than IQ, overwhelmingly so, according to both Goleman and other researchers. Emotional competence at the highest levels of management is the most important factor in deciding whom they will hire. Actually, at any level of employment, the "soft" skills are foremost. Now I know why I’m not rich.

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