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am 19. April 2000
No commentary of mine on Daniel Goleman's contributions to ourunderstanding of human nature can possibly do full justice to them. Hegained well-deserved praise for his previously published EmotionalIntelligence in which his focus was primarily on education. Only briefly in one chapter of that pioneering work did he suggest that his insights could perhaps have broader implications for any workplace; indeed, for organizational life throughout our entire society. How fortunate that he then began a two-year study to explore those broader implications. The results of his efforts are shared in Working with Emotional Intelligence. It is a stunning achievement.
In the first chapter, Goleman observes: "The rules for work are changing. We're being judged by a new yardstick: not just by how smart we are, or by our training expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other. This yardstick is increasingly applied in choosing who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who will be retained, who passed over and who promoted." As explained by Goleman, emotional intelligence is not simply "being nice" nor does it mean giving free rein to feelings -- "letting it all hang out." Rather, "it means managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals." For many persons, perhaps, the descriptives "emotional" and "intelligent" are mutually exclusive. As does Howard Gardner in Intelligence Reframed, Goleman explains that each of us is blessed with a multiple of intelligences. They must be developed and nourished differently. All are needed. A mature person, therefore, is one who has her or his multiple intelligences (MI) is proper balance, who manages and expresses each in appropriate (hence effective) ways. All of us know highly analytical adults whose emotional development seems to have stopped in the "Terrible Two" phase. We also know other adults who possess exceptional sensitivities but are unable to complete the simplest of calculations.
Goleman organizes his material in five parts: Beyond Expertise, Self-Mastery, People Skills, A New Model of Learning, and The Emotionally Intelligent Organization. Goleman's purpose is to explain the importance of having "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships." If indeed any organization's "most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each day", it stands to reason that every effort should be made to integrate and coordinate the multiple intelligences of those human assets.
For Goleman, the "good news" is that emotional intelligence can be learned. Therefore, at the individual level, elements of emotional intelligence must be identified, assessed, and upgraded. Only then can the "emotionally intelligent organization" be established and sustained. In his final remarks, Goleman observes: "But apart from the emotional intelligence of the organizations we work for, having these capabilities offers each of us a way to survive with our humanity and sanity intact, no matter where we work. And as work changes, these human capacities can help us not just to compete, but also nurture the capacity for pleasure, even joy, in our work."
Even if your organization is unwilling and/or unable to become "emotionally intelligent", this book can be of incalculable value to your efforts to recognize and understand your feelings as well as those of others, to motivate yourself, and to manage your emotions more effectively...especially in your relationships with others, whoever and wherever they may be.