Working With Emotional Intelligence Essay, Research Paper
Review “Working with Emotional Intelligence”
The book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman deals with the emotional assets and liabilities of individuals in organizations. Emotional intelligence is traits that go beyond academic achievement or IQ. As a matter of fact he points out that high academic intelligence can sometimes stand in the way of emotional intelligence. Broadly speaking, emotional intelligence determines how well we handle difficult situation, which cannot be solved by logic, but more by a “feel” for the situation. These attributes are very hard to measure, which is why many standardized tests, whether academic or for employment, fail to measure these attributes, even though these are the one which determine to a large part how successful individuals will be in an organization.
Goleman divides his book into several chapters. At first he examines the attributes of successful people. What is it that sets them apart? How do they do it? He examines the “soft skills” of several people who exhibit exceptional emotional intelligence and also what others fail to do, which ultimately makes them unsuccessful. He also points out the difference a single individual who possesses these skills can make to an organization. These skills are particularly important in diplomatic services, but also to the average salesperson. However, he also notes that the higher one climbs on the job ladder, the more important these skills become, and the less important technical skills are.
He divides emotional intelligence into five areas.
1. Self-Awareness, which can be subdivided into emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence.
2. Self-Regulation, divided into self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability and innovation.
3. Motivation, which consists of achievement drive, commitment, initiative and optimism.
The preceding attributes are classified as Personal competence, while the next two are classified as social competence.
1. Empathy divided into understanding others, developing others, service orientation, and leveraging diversity and political awareness.
2. Social Skills, consisting of influence, communication, conflict management, leadership, change catalyst, building bonds, collaboration and cooperation as well as team capabilities.
Goleman then goes on explaining how self-mastery is a part of emotional intelligence. It is the art of being able to control ones emotions. The ability to listen to ones inner feelings, using and controlling them, without letting them control you.
Feelings often get in the way of even the most gifted people. They can be a liability in any position when they cannot be used in a constructive way. This can be apparent in many situations where group work is required or in sales situations for example.
The third major chapter deals with people skills, which is the art of anticipating how others feel, how to influence their emotions and how to works together with others. These are the skills necessary for performing well in group situations. Being able to anticipate, what others want and how to use this to reach one’s own goals.
The fourth chapter then deals with the task of actually trying to improve corporate training and assessment programs. The challenge here is to find a way to determine which current or potential employees have the necessary skills to succeed in an organization. As mentioned before, these skills are not easy to measure and so assessing employees is not easy and the recommended steps are only guidelines to help in this process.
The fifth and last chapter deals with how organizations themselves can improve to actually facilitate more emotional intelligence among their employees. This starts with the corporate mission statement as well as the attitude and behavior that is displayed and supported by the organization. It is the organization’s duty and also in its best interest to promote practices that enhance emotional intelligence, because it enhances teamwork and the general operating climate. These skills start with the company itself, all the way from top management through all the ranks of the operation. The goal is to engage all employees to share their emotional competence in a constructive way, enabling better teamwork and overall performance.
Overall I think that Daniel Goleman’s book is very well written and makes a lot of sense. Emotional intelligence is definitely becoming more and more important in organizations and life in general. However, I also think that measuring and developing these skills is a lot more difficult as being presented in the book. Many of the qualities that Goleman points out are simply natural to each individual and I don’t think that one can work on these a whole lot. I believe the best one can achieve is being aware of these qualities and deficits within oneself. As far as acting upon them is concerned I believe that one’s intuition and “gut feeling” or logic will almost always take over when it comes to first responses. Thus improving one’s emotional intelligence is definitely a very lengthy process and often the results will be less than one thought.
As far as my self-awareness is concerned, I believe that I rank relatively high. I am almost always able to recognize my own emotions and what kind of effects they have on my behavior. I believe that I am very well aware of my strengths and weaknesses, however I think I have a slight tendency to be overly confident. Sometimes I also have a problem correctly defining my limits, which can lead to me performing below my own expectations.
However, I possess very good self-control. I think I am very good at keeping my emotions at bay and not letting them influence my actions. This is not particularly difficult for me because I come from a culture (Germany) were you are being taught from early on to control your emotions.
Trustworthiness is very important to me. I always try to keep my standards of honesty and integrity at the very highest level. This has been taught to me by my parents all of my life and it is the prerequisite for me to feel good about who I am. On the other hand I am a little slow when it comes to handling change. I usually like things the way they are and need to be convinced that changes are good before I can embrace them.
This does not have any influence on my being comfortable with innovation though. I believe that constant improvement is very essential in everyone’s life and advancement. I usually promote new ideas and also like to try them out if they seem promising.
As far as my achievement drive is concerned I believe it is moderate. Sometimes I get a little complacent, being happy with who I am and where I am. This in return makes me stop earlier in projects than I should, sometimes not achieving my full potential.
Group members can always depend on me though. My initiative and optimism are outstanding, because I hate nothing more than letting other people down. So I always strive to give my best for the group and stay confident and optimistic that the set goals can be achieved.
As far as my social competence is concerned, I believe that I have a moderate ability of understanding others’ feelings and perspectives and sometimes I probably do not take enough interest in their matters. I sometimes do not anticipates others’ need well, although this is sometimes different in client relationships, where I can be very attentive to the client’s needs. I am very good at reading groups dynamics however. I have a good sense of developing opportunities through different people and can use a group’s hierarchy and power relationships well to achieve goals.
I have plenty of experience with influencing others and winning them for my cause. Most of the time they willingly agree with my arguments, because I always try to explain them in the most logical way. I can also listen well and give others a sense of trust. This then lets me effectively lead groups, because the members usually have faith in my ideas and abilities. The downside however is, that I usually like it more to work on my own than in a group, because I think I can accomplish more without having to “carry” inactive members. So overall, I think I rank relatively high on emotional intelligence, but then again, doesn’t everyone think that?