June 9, 2008

Bob’s Going Emo (Part 1)

Filed under: Book Reviews, Emo (EQ), Personal Branding — Robert John Ed @ 3:04 pm

It has taken quite a while to finish Emotional Intelligence and there are a lot of relevant points to think about. First off, it was written by Daniel Goleman, who seems very intelligent and well written. He has a few other books revolving around emotional intelligence as a concept and a new book called Social Intelligence coming out in a few months.

I’ve realized in the last few years that my soft skills need quite a bit of work. In terms of technical knowledge and ability, my record and work is pretty good. I’ve always been able to consume information and apply it correctly to the task at hand; what’s more, I excel with objective based reasoning and project management (at least I think so). Those things have never been a problem.

By saying soft skills need work, I do not mean that I’m incapable of working with others or have a hard time of it. In fact, the vast majority of the time it’s the opposite. Yet, the more I work in the professional world, the more I see that as knowledge workers we are expected to have outputs that are dependent on working within teams. Back in school we had teams, but they were not the be all and end all. The breadth of the work largely fell on the individual. And if you were in a team, the work of one individual was often enough to supersede the necessity of the group. Quick example: I had a class senior year during the summer called Integrated MKTG. The class was small and we broke up into groups of three. One of my partners dropped out after the initial week which left me with one other partner. He chose not to participate at all, save the final presentation. And although it sucked, I put together a 30 page paper on a new product with integrated campaigns in all kinds of media. It didn’t do that well, but regardless, the work of the individual was enough to overcome the incompetency of the group working together.

It doesn’t work that way in the professional world. The projects are simply too large and the expectations too high for that kind of strategy to bare fruit. So we work as close knit teams. Nay, we live and die as close knit teams. So improving your effectiveness in working with others and groups is necessary to rise to the top as a marketer, analyst, strategist, CEO or any other important role.

The idea of emotional intelligence is central to working with others. The basic concept is that there are actually two types of intelligence, the more renowned intelligence quotient and the recently exalted emotional intelligence quotient. IQ is centered around ones ability to compute, use logical reasoning and understand concepts. It’s very left brain centric. Being able to do difficult math, understand complex prose, developing statistical models and so forth are all good examples of integral IQ ability. Emotional intelligence is much different. It revolves around the ability of people to gauge social interaction, add context to situations and act accordingly. It’s difficult to say which aspect is more important. There are many geniuses who are rendered socially inept due to a lack of EQ. There are many people who are so IQ deficient that it renders them unfit to work and live within society. The book points out that at high levels of business, a good to great IQ is essentially the table stakes to get your foot in the door. Through a few studies, they found that the people who end up leading are much more socially affable and are revered by their peers because of it. They excel in working within the social network and so can use those connections to increase their output.

This book came out in 1995 and was a best seller. It was a whole new way to look at “intelligence.” Technically speaking, having an incredibly high IQ is great, but without the skills to put those abilities to use is problematic; in fact, it’s potentially a detriment with possibilities of alienation. So I figure by learning more about emotional intelligence, soft skills, team work and management I can improve my ability to be productive within work environments.

Can we learn to improve our EQ? I think so. I’ll try to touch on some basic ideas that help people to work within social settings in the next post.



  1. Hi, there’s a really interesting dialogue series called ‘Wired to Connect’ where Daniel Goleman discusses the applications of Social/Emotional Intelligence with a number of leading thinkers. There are free samples you can listen to on the publisher’s website

    Comment by david — June 10, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  2. Thanks for the tip David…I’ll be sure to take a look.

    Comment by Robert John Ed — June 10, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

  3. […] dealt with this topic copiously in the recent months, but it warrants the attention. Here’s my review of Daniel Goleman’s book. Since then, I’ve had a quick talk regarding the validity EQ […]

    Pingback by Verifying Theory vs. Applicable Utility « Redmarketer — June 24, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  4. […] and the propensity of that to affect others.  Being aware of social context is a big deal, being aware of your own actions and interpretation is critical to team success. Understanding that is easy enough, acting upon it continually is where we struggle. Possibly […]

    Pingback by The Power of Your Face (Active Listening) « Redmarketer — May 15, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

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