Working with Emotional Intelligence

Every year my team and I read a book and discuss it as a group, at about a chapter a month in pace, sometimes I choose the book based on a topic I think we need to cover. Last year we worked on The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey, which is fairly heavy content covering everything from emotional states to servant leadership.  So this year it seemed natural when the team chose Daniel Goleman’s Working with Emotional Intelligence.  We started off this past month with the first chapter titled ‘The New Yardstick’.

‘The New Yardstick’ is a fairly comprehensive introduction to the concepts of emotional intelligence;  Daniel Goleman covers why emotional intelligence is important, dispels some myths about gender strengths/weaknesses, explains the impact of emotional intelligence on our jobs and what employers y look for when assessing the soft skills of their employees.

We started this one off with a great discussion on Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University of the Arts this year, in which he calls out three rules for success, those rules are and I’m paraphrasing heavily here, your work is good, you are easy to get along with and you deliver on time –  you’ll have to watch the video, and I seriously recommend that you do, in order to get this all in context but the gist is that you can have two of the three and still being seen as a great and productive employee .

So most of the discussion centered on why we were doing this book and what we hoped on to gain from it. I thought was interesting conversation to have given that that this wasn’t my choice of book and that I was we had an emotional intelligence training late last year. But I do believe that clarifying your perspective and goals as a manager is always a good thing reiterating that reasons to do this book are mainly being able to recognize other people’s emotional states and a react appropriately, as unique human beings. I also added to this that I certainly would like for myself to become more empathetic and also more persuasive and feel that those are good things to gain has an employee in any role. They also talked a little bit about how we judge others based on how we approach topics as individuals and how being seen as a good employee or a productive employee can really be dependent on other people’s perceptions of you and how easy you are to work with.

As a whole for a book club kick off this was a bit subdued, maybe because we just came off of a weeks’ worth of training on Agile project management or it may be that the chapter itself did cover topics we were already aware of so we’ll have to see how this one develops and what little gems of management knowledge and leadership experience can be gained from Daniel Goleman – more on that when we get to Chapter Two.


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