When I was in school, my mates always enjoy sticking with those endless IQ quiz and tirelessly comparing results with each other, to see who the smartest one is. However, Daniel Goleman did not think it works. What is this all about?
On this cutting edge book of Emotional Intelligence, Goleman intensively promoted his idea that the real determinant factor of human intelligence is something other than IQ, something refers to our ‘capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships’1, something that has been defined as Emotional Intelligence. He believed that it success has nothing to do with things like how high IQ we have, how hard we were working and how much work experiences we held.
Rather, it is based on how well we are aware of our emotions and being able control them; it is based on how much we can understand other’s emotions and accordingly adjust ourselves appropriately with well developed social skills. On the commercial field, Daniel Goldman believes that the radically changing business environment created serious problems on organisations’ survival. The business hard time left employees heavier works and responsibilities. Therefore, a more mature and stable human relationship is required for the organisation, emotional intelligence then became vital.
The author went on to discuss the applications of emotional competence at work in detail. He gave out twelve job capabilities laying on the personal emotional competences of self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation, and another thirteen human relation skills founded on social competences such as empathy and social coordination. Moreover, after presenting an in depth explanation of these competences with vivid and latest case studies, Goleman gave out another 15-step guideline for organisations to improve their staffs’ emotional intelligence.
At the end of the book, Goleman further developed his EI-Work theory to the organisation level, showing how firms should adjust their organisation culture, values, norms and policies with emotional intelligence to win on the cruel battle field of today’s business world. What can we learn? As the author of New York Times bestseller, Daniel Goleman did gave managers some inspirations in his second book on EI. Firstly of all, he drew a clear picture showing why today’s organisations should focus on emotional intelligence.
By looking into the human relation problem caused by the sound and latest SOHO style working of a new California biotech company, Goleman claim that: ‘In the new, stripped-down, every-job-counts business climate, these human realities will matter more than ever. Massive change is a constant; technical innovations, global competition, and the pressures of institutional investors are ever-escalating forces for flux… ‘2 He believed that the daily increasing competition in the market would make organisations’ survival much harder than before.
Technology innovations and organisation structure reforms are no longer enough, improving the human factor became the last resort for companies to win out. Such changes necessarily and heavily increase the quantity and pressure of work on individual employees, as Goleman continued to argue: ‘… organisations shrink through waves of downsizing; those people who remain are more accountable – and more visible. Where earlier a midlevel employee might easily hide a hot temper or shyness, now competencies such as managing one’s emotions, handling encounters well, teamwork, and leadership, show – and count – more than ever .
Therefore, if a manager wants to raise his business’ performance, increasing his and his fellows’ emotional intelligence become vital. Without taking account the EI factor, firms will definitely walk on extra miles like the manufactory company in the example shown in the book: the company extended its quoting process time from 40 days to 55 and then 70 days with a 30% error rate after inviting engineering specialist to redesign a ‘better’ system; such time then fell back to 5 days with a 2% error rate by simply changed the working relationship among employees!
This book also shows managers how to improve their own emotional intelligence for enhancing their leadership. Among those emotional competences shown in the Emotional Competences Framework Table5, clear self-awareness and a strong ability of empathy should be specially lifted up to the priority list. As it was written in the book, successful managers should always know which emotion they are feeling and why. They then need to move on to consider whether such emotion will benefit their career and leadership.
From doing so, they will be able to realize their strength and limitations on emotion intelligence, and then be open-minded and willing to receive feedback from others. After this accumulation process last for a certain time, managers will have a stronger self-confidence and improved emotional intelligence. The book also taught managers how to perform better by developing their ability of empathy, which refers to ‘… sensing what people are feeling, being able to take their perspective, and cultivating rapport and attunement with a broad diversity of people…
Managers should always be aware of other people’s emotions and adopt an appropriate strategy to deal with them. To develop such ability inside the company, managers should consider other stuff’s emotional needs and support them on developing emotional competences. On the external environment while managers are dealing with their customers or suppliers, they should always try to feel from all kinds of perspectives, in accordance with different clients’ social class, status, education background and of course, the emotion they are feeling.
Last but not least, Daniel Goleman also told us how to train our employees and raising their emotional intelligence. According to Goleman, the ‘amygdala’ of human being’s brain masters the emotional competences while the other cognitive knowledge is stored in the ‘thinking brain’ – neocrotex. Therefore, to develop employees’ emotional intelligence, the classic classroom model will no longer work. Companies tried to do so are throwing dollars into water and getting nothing out. He mentioned:
‘Competencies can be seen as a coordinated bundle of habits – what we think, feel, and do to get a job done. When such a habit is dysfunctional, replacing it with a more effective one requires enough practice of the better habit – and inhibition of the poor one… ‘7 In other words, emotional intelligence can not be taught in the classroom and only can be improved through repeating appropriate practices. In practice, managers should follow the ’15 comprehensive guidelines for Emotional Competence Training’. How good is the book?
As loads had been written above, this Daniel Goleman’s work should definitely be graded as one of the top academic sourcebook on emotional intelligence. The most impressive point of the book is its almost-perfect structure. The logic of the book is quite clear as shown below: The even better thing is that two straight forward tables enclosed at the beginning of part one and part four, which precisely draws the outline of the following chapters. They really help a lot to speed up the understanding of the content and make the book more readable for those who without a psychology background.
Moreover, though it was published 6 years ago, thanks to the author’s attempt on using the most up to date examples through the presentation, the book still remains most of its practical value for today’s varieties of readers. However, as a business handbook, David Goleman seemed to be hesitated to tell more than those 15 basic guide lines on emotional training. Simply by looking into the length of different chapters, you will surprisingly found out that the author spent almost 80% on the book talking about why EI is important, how it matters our jobs and what mistakes and wastes can occurred if EI is ignored.
On the contrast, less than 20 pages were actually spent on how we can practically train our employees to improve their competence (Chapter 11). To this extend, the book is rather an ad booklet that keep promoting Goleman’s ideas and make firms keep turning to his consulting company for help. Moreover, as an academic work, Goleman seemed to have pushed EI too far as a sole factor that determines individual and firms’ success. He neglected the impact of other factors such as IQ, hard working and the ability to capture opportunities.
If we all are just sitting at home reading psychology books, learning how to ensure everyone is in a good mood, no one can even survive! Finally, Goleman had been reluctant to emphasis that different business in different industries have different requirement of staff’s emotional intelligence. Staff trainings do cost dollars! If those who have serious IQ problems can still take some basic manufacturing jobs, what’s the point to promote emotional intelligence in those small and profitable Fordist factories while staff turnover or working without a good mood cost less than the expensive EI training?
What about F. W. Taylor’s classical theory on Scientific Management? To sum up, ‘Working with emotional intelligence’ is a rich source of the application of EI and managers do get lots of inspirations from reading it. However, for managers to transform these inspirations into practical exercise, and to enhance the overall business performance, certain amount supplementary reading will still be compulsory.