Goleman’s views on emotional intelligence are good in theory, and fairly obvious in my mind. It is very important that we always have his comments in reserve in the back of our minds because they are useful in evaluating work experience. This is where I take a different approach to understanding Goleman. I do not think anyone will be drastically affected by his work, and change the way in which they conduct business overnight. How is someone who isn’t influential at all going to develop this competency by reading the couple of pages he offers?
For example, Goleman tells us that people with this competency are…
• Skilled at winning people over
• Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener
• Use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus support
• Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point
After reading that I didn’t really know how to feel, but I had a hunch we could have come up with a similar list in class without reading his work. For me the “how-to” part of his work was missing and inadequate. For instance, if I want to be more influential I should “use complex strategies like indirect influence to build consensus support” (Goleman, 169). I should also avoid “being ignored or failing to inspire interest” (Goleman, 173). I find these two statements troubling. The first one left me questioning what do the terms indirect influence and consensus support mean, as they are never defined. Also, it is very obvious that if you are being ignored you are not going to be very influential.
I do not mean to say that all of Goleman’s work is garbage. I feel if he meant to write a how-to be more emotionally intelligent, he failed miserably. But his work did affect me; I think it is a way to keep ourselves and others in check. For example, you spend all day in traffic, spill coffee on yourself, and want to tell your idiot boss that your six year old son could do his job better, you will be more aware that your emotions affect your actions. I was having a horrible day last week, but went to work thinking that I cannot let my emotions affect the rest of my day. Goleman’s work is a way to understand the direction an event is flowing, and what is causing that. It is also a way for us to recognize our strengths and our team member’s strengths to capitalize on and utilize the team for maximum results.