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Chapter 1. Emotional Intelligence Approa... > Emotional Intelligence Approach

Emotional Intelligence Approach

This book aims to develop your emotional intelligence in the critical areas of dealing with difficult people. Emotional intelligence entails both being able to understand and having the skills to cope with your own feelings and the feelings of others. Considerable research during the past decade has shown how critical emotional intelligence is to business success.

Components of emotional intelligence include personal and social competence. Personal competence refers to the ability to understand your own feelings, strengths, and weaknesses, and the ability to deal with the feelings in appropriate ways rather than having them adversely affect your performance. For example, being able to contain your anger and anxiety and thereby think clearly in upsetting situations is crucial to making good decisions and effectively influencing others.

Social competence is the ability to understand what others are feeling and having the skills to effectively work with others. The ability to understand what is going on in a group or organization, to influence people, and to foster cooperation is the most important work of leadership and management.

Components of Emotional Intelligence

Personal Competence


  • Aware of your emotions and their impact

  • Aware of your strengths and weaknesses


  • Emotional self-control

  • Adaptability: flexibility in adapting to changing situations and obstacles

  • Integrity, honesty, trustworthiness

  • Drive to grow and achieve

    • Achievement oriented

    • Continuous learner

    • Willing to take initiative

    • Optimistic

Social Competence

Social Awareness

  • Empathy and insight

    • Understanding others’ perspectives and feelings

    • Appreciation of others’ strengths and weaknesses

  • Political awareness

Relationship Management

  • Respect for others

  • Conflict management skills

  • Collaborative approach

  • Sense of humor

  • Persuasive: visionary, diplomatic

  • Able to leverage diversity

There are several good books that discuss the importance of emotional intelligence and how to develop general emotional intelligence skills that work with reasonable people. Dan Goleman’s Working With Emotional Intelligence and Primal Leadership are particularly noteworthy.

Much of the time, however, we are faced with people who are not reasonable. Emotional intelligence entails having the skills to deal with toxic individuals as well as with those who are not difficult. Dealing with toxic individuals requires specialized skills, including an understanding of toxic personality traits and emotional problems that can impair performance. By providing you with an understanding of why difficult people behave as they do, recommendations on how to deal with such people, and how not to be undone by them, this book will help you to develop your emotional intelligence.

This book can also be helpful to difficult managers who have some capacity for insight into themselves but have difficulty containing their emotions, understanding others’ feelings, or skillfully dealing with others. It can help difficult managers spot problematic patterns in their relationships and work styles, and can point the way to the skills they need to develop. For those managers adversely affected by anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, or posttraumatic stress disorder, recognizing the impact of these problems and then seeking help can often lead to rapid, marked improvements in functioning.

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