Review: Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Working With Emotional Intelligence

Working With Emotional Intelligence

Title: Working With Emotional Intelligence

Author: Daniel Goleman

ISBN: 0553840231

ISBN-13: 9780553840230, 978-0553840230

Binding: Paperback

Publishing Date: 1999

Publisher: Bantam Books

Number of Pages: 383

Language: English


Emotional intelligence refers to 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.

The Author Daniel Goleman simply tries to reaffirm importance of emotional intelligence through examples taken from different organizations across the globe in this successor of his best selling book, “Emotional intelligence”. Present work of the author speaks about practical application of Emotional intelligence at work place, if one wishes to learn more about Emotional intelligence as a concept then previous book is still more appropriate.

The book is based on interviews and studies with business leaders and organizations and it explains what sets star performers apart and how emotional intelligence is critical for success.  Daniel Goleman encountered many leaders of industry emphasizing the importance of emotional intelligence rather than technical expertise in excelling in their respective businesses. It is through his findings that he decided to write Working with Emotional Intelligence. In this book Goleman emphasizes that emotional intelligence is what makes one excel. 

Increasingly organizations are becoming larger and more team oriented, thus being able to work in teams well and effectively is one of the most important skills to have in the work environment. A good manager will be able to get the best talents out of the group. Goleman’s book examines the changing work environment and the personal qualities that are of importance. The qualities listed are initiative, empathy, adaptability, and persuasiveness. 

The traits that make great leaders are described in detail in the book. Goleman emphasizes high self confidence in leading people is essential to create a more productive work environment. Empathy is an ability that helps leaders in how to approach an individual by sensing what others feel. Empathy serves as a cohesive tool, which allows for effective communication amongst individuals. 

Goleman effectively argues that even the best of appraisal method will fail if a person lacks self awareness and people around him have motive which is not conducive to healthy and honest feedback. For instance, 360 Degree appraisal will fail if there is office politics and while giving feedback, peer group is showing dishonesty.

Even with the best of personality assessment tests, lack of self awareness on the part of test taker will reflect poorly on the accuracy of such tests.

Book has been divided in five sections; beyond expertise, self mastery, people skills, a model of learning and the emotionally intelligent organization.  The book deals with all the aspects in which concept of emotional intelligence can be relevant in the context of workplace.

Beyond expertise section makes the case that emotional intelligence counts more than IQ or expertise for determining who excels at a job-any job- and that for outstanding leadership it counts for almost everything. The business case is compelling: companies that leverage this advantage add measurably to their bottom-line.

Section two, self mastery, details twelve specific job capabilities such as initiative, trustworthiness, self-confidence, and achievement drive, all based on self-mastery, and describes the unique contribution each makes to star performance.

Section three, people skills, deals with thirteen relationship skills; such as empathy and political awareness, leveraging diversity, team capabilities, and leadership among them. Moreover, this section makes it clear that star performance does not require one to excel in all these competencies, but rather that one be strong in just enough of them to reach the critical mass for success.

Section four, a model of learning, talks about the way to improve emotional intelligence capabilities. Author asserts that one can always learn to be better in the competencies, he or she is weak in. This section provides practical, scientific grounded guidelines for the best ways to do so.

Finally, section on emotionally intelligent organization, takes numerous cases from corporate world and shows how companies that ignore the emotional realities of their employees do so at their own risk, while those with emotional intelligence are best equipped to survive and to do well in the ever more turbulent years ahead.

One, who is well versed with Indian school of thought, cannot fail to see parallels between concepts of karma-yogi and a concept of emotionally intelligent individual. Swami Vivekananda once said this on anger, “A man says something very harsh to me, and I begin to feel that I am getting heated, and he goes on till I am perfectly angry and forget myself, identify myself with anger. When he first began to abuse me, I thought that I am going to be angry. Anger was one thing and I was another, but when I became angry I was anger”.[i]

Indian thinkers have repeatedly urged to use anger as tool rather than becoming one with it, even in Zen school of thought, there are stories like that of overflowing tea cup, emphasizing dangers of mind full of anger. Daniel Goleman’s association with Dalai Lama does suggest that he might have got some inspiration from that school of thought too.  Possibly, Goleman tried his best to speak in the language which is more in vogue among corporate people specially B School graduates who have reached there after getting acquainted with Big Five model, competencies concepts, motivation theories and so on. Goleman followed the norms which seem to be essential for the book to be taken seriously by people coming from management schools. It might still take some time before people start taking concepts in terms of karma, yoga and dharma serious enough to include in process of transformation to a emotionally intelligent individual.

Indian thought deals more with becoming and being, rather than mere intellectual knowing, simply knowing characteristics of successful manager may not necessarily make one successful manager, similarly just knowing what and how much important emotional intelligence is,  may not suffice to bring the transformation into one. Had Goleman acknowledged some relation with Eastern thought of his concept of emotional intelligence, then he might have easily suggested a way to develop competencies required for high emotional intelligence through process of yoga and meditation. The weakest link of the book could then be removed and book would have turned out to be better than how it shaped up finally in present form.
’Working with Emotional Intelligence’ is a great book for anybody interested in learning more about emotional intelligence and its uses in the work place. Daniel Goleman lists the parts of emotional intelligence and describes their use while providing illuminating examples. With the current explosive growth of information, no single individual can have enough knowledge to successfully compete in today’s extremely competitive and rapidly changing environment. It is because of this that emotional intelligence is crucial to excel in organizations today. People that work well in teams have a key advantage. Emotional competencies can be learned, by reading this book you will be able to gain knowledge on these emotional competencies and put them to use in your daily life and career. 

[i] Page: 168, Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda

One Response to “Review: Working With Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman”
  1. vardhna says:

    Emotional intelligence is a concept that has revolutionized the study of intelligence in Psychology over past few years. The traditionally known IQ has been ruled out but still continues to influence daily conduct of ours, focus is still much more on mathematical-logical intelligence. Emotional intelligence promises to remove such variations, but we should not be blind to the fact that term emotional intelligence may be an overarching term for variety of phenomena. Contemporary psychologists like Bruner have extensively give reasons not to rely on the term. So it is important to consider the concept with caution.

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