Brother’s Blunt Book Bashing

Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!

I have been reading Daniel Goleman’s

Working with Emotional Intelligence.

It contains all kinds of anecdotes about businesses around the world and how things changed for the better when Emotional Intelligence is put into play. 

My mindset can change, but at the moment, I enjoyed the table of contents and the first 14 pages, titled the New Yardstick, defining alternative ways that intelligence can be defined. This was a real eye opener and has given me the framework to build new thought processes, so that is a plus. However, without the table of contents, I was unable to follow the hodgepodge of stories to ascertain relevance.  Thank you table of contents!

The madness had to end and I quit reading and began skimming at chapter five, page 84 titled, When Work is Hell.  

In this segment, the author’s dilemma was a supervisor that was spending time with new employees and threatening the jobs of old. He was on the chopping block even though he had been nominated for major awards for his work.

I have recently seen this behavior and was immediately taken in. 

Until….

The author states he managed a stressful situation with a “relaxation technique he learned years before.” 

Ah, yes, the secret of meditation revealed! I have waited 38 years for this revelation.

What technique? What wisdom of the ages did this man discover so many years ago to prevent being assailed by an adversary with the ability to fire?

He recommends a long bath, a workout, or a yoga session. 

Wait, What?

Yes, my fellow Campfire Circlers, as a result of meditation through the stress, 

The author was able to manage his problems and churn out excellent work. He was not fired after all, and his evil supervisor was promoted to a different department. Yay!

Not yay. 

Seriously? 

I understand the need for taking care of yourself and exercising self-control, but there is zero description of the interaction between the employee and the supervisor, the real meat of emotionally intelligent interaction. 

Here is my anecdote. 

I know a guy, (let’s call him Jerry) that endured a toxic supervisor for about five years. 

In addition to Daniel Goleman’s advice, Jerry tried to connect with his supervisor with status reports and by producing top-quality work. His supervisor demanded more and had an insatiable appetite for endless production.

When this did not work, he tried to build trust by talking about things that were mutually important like family, pets, vehicles, sports… you know, small talk. 

Nope. The supervisor was ever demanding and developed new staff, ignoring the old just like in Working with Emotional Intelligence. This supervisor routinely pitted employees against one another and there was frequent infighting.

I watched the pattern repeat as people quit, transferred, or were fired. Not Jerry. He was pathetic in his trial and error of just looking for that connection with the boss and to make things agreeable.

Ultimately, Jerry gave up and became bitter, complaining to an executive at random about his working conditions. I don’t think Jerry considered that after 5 years he was a rare survivor of the scourge.

While I was not there, I assume word got back to his boss because tensions were higher than normal. Jerry’s boss was notably wary of him. 

A light bulb brightened in Jerry’s head and he made a discovery.

His supervisor was manipulative and demonstrated little empathy. 

Fear and anxiety being the currency to work with, Jerry realized no amount of production or connection would appease his boss. 

Jerry did not care if he lost his job at this point. It had been a long five years.

He began mirroring his supervisor, causing tension by asking leading questions that caused suspicion and fear of the unknown. He would make comments to higher levels at opportune times that raised questions. The thought of hard work or social interaction to appease was gone.

Jerry’s supervisor became insecure and retaliatory and began making mistakes causing others to take notice. Jerry was playing a dangerous game but ceased to care, making him dangerous.

Jerry’s education was not over and he made a minor adjustment. He discovered that if towards the end of the week he let up, his boss would not have anxiety when he went home and it was a much cleaner slate on Monday. His mirroring of behavior assisted him.

Emotional intelligence? 

In the broad strokes of Daniel Goleman, absolutely. Everything but academic intelligence is to Daniel.

In my opinion, even though something fine died in Jerry, he demonstrated emotional intelligence.

In his own way, he took control of his environment by recognizing what was important to an abusive supervisor and used the currency at the going rate to create a better environment for himself and others.

A raise and lower of tension was all the supervisor seemed to understand and Jerry participated in the fluctuation of the market.

Did the extracurricular activities of working out, baths, and yoga help?

Well, they may have indirectly assisted in a good headspace, but ole Daniel Goleman missed an opportunity to help us in his book with a better resolution than Jerry’s.

In my opinion, much of the book I am now skimming contains missed opportunities to show insightful thought processes. It was much too long for the simple points that he made.

Perhaps I should write a book from my skewed view. 

Nah. I will purchase a better bath brush and keep stretching.

Author: The Storyteller

Benjamin Thiel is a husband, father, correctional professional and author of The Ongoing Tale at Brothers Campfire. His favorite quote is "Don't count the lions. It will make you afraid and slow you down."

25 thoughts on “Brother’s Blunt Book Bashing”

      1. I know, I’m giving an accurate account of the ongoing invasion of the body snatchers … a plot against me! 😉

        endorsum

  1. The problem with books like that is that they have to add a bunch of fluff to make a certain number of pages. You should write a book.

  2. The concept of EQ is a great idea. Unfortunately we do not live in a society where these operating principles can be implemented effectively.
    I personally disagree with the “EQ as a measure of success”
    I look forward to seeing and reading about your experience in navigating the field.

    Be light like feathers, and fly!

  3. Honestly, I hate self help books in general, they usually claim the secret to life is being organised, meditate, visualize stuff and sleep well. Gee, thanks, we know. I only read the ones people recommend over and over and I think I’ve come across this one a while ago and wasn’t impressed either

      1. I also hate the ones about optimizing everything or being productive every second. If I need to optimize and use the time I spend on the toilet well, then something is wrong with society

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