recognize patterns, and compare and contrast. Emotional intelligence, then, refers to the capacity to understand and explain emotions, on the one hand, and of emotions to enhance thought, on the other.
Emotional intelligence in the workplace: A case study The capacity to reason with and about emotion is frequently important in management and leadership. Consider the case of Jerry Taksic (this and other names have been changed).
Jerry was a well-regarded operations manager at a New York City office of Merrill Lynch. Several years ago, he supervised the move of some in his group from their offices in the city across the river to an office park in Jersey City. The move was seemingly welcomed by the staff, most of who lived on the other side of the river. The move would dramatically cut down their commuting time and reduce their tax bills. Jerry handled this project with his usual meticulousness and concern. He worked with the designers and the architects, as well as building management, to ensure a smooth transition. Jerry never expected perfection, and perfection was not to be realized. Soon after the move, he fielded a phone call at his downtown office from Eddie Fontaine, the group manager at the Jersey City location. Eddie reported that his group had become concerned that they were working in a "sick" building, because a number of employees were suffering from respiratory problems. Although Eddie made light of their concerns, Jerry perceived concern in the group and began to investigate the situation. He called in a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) team, and it, along with environmental engineers, were dispatched to the site. They inventoried the physical plant, and shortly thereafter, filed their report.
Jerry and Eddie reviewed the report together: The HVAC team could not detect any problem with the building. Jerry appreciated that Eddie and the group might be feeling somewhat overwhelmed by the move, as well as somewhat isolated and cut-off from the rest of the team's work. Given the context, Jerry supported his group leader, complimented him on his general expertise, and let the matter drop. For the time being, Jerry was handling the emotions of his team effectively. Shortly thereafter, however, a second situation arose concerning parking problems. Ever the problem-solver, Jerry personally intervened with the building
management to resolve the situation to his staff's satisfaction. As with the building ventilation problem, this was a time-consuming issue that detracted from the primary mission of both Jerry and his group. Jerry's supervisor began to become concerned about the group's apparent lack of focus and lowered productivity. When the supervisor asked Jerry if intervening in such
problems was a good use of his time, Jerry replied, "That's my job. I solve problems." Yet another such problem arose a few days later, however, and Jerry's patience began to wear thin.
Regrettably, almost any claim can be made about EI if the term is not clearly defined, since almost any research can be said to pertain to it
Case analysis according to the EI Ability Model
Jerry was facing a somewhat typical work issue. He was a generally competent manager who implemented a change (in this case, a move), and was confronted by a series of at-work issues and problems by the team undergoing the change. Jerry's issues happened to come to light because at about that time, he was referred for executive coaching by the division president, who worried that Jerry's team's performance was suffering. There are many different ways to analyze a case, of course. One might speak in terms of motivating the workforce to return to work, and look at the incentives surrounding the move and the incentives to complain about it. Or, one might speak in terms of setting boundaries and imposing penalties for those who are disrupting morale, or about treating employees like customers and making them happy. The EI analysis of Jerry's situation begins, as it does in most cases, with an appreciation of the fact that both the technical and emotional aspects of situations are closely intertwined. This means that something that looks technical may become emotional, and something that seems emotional can become technical. For example, in the present case, each of the problems raised by the satellite group -- sick buildings, parking, and other matters, were real technical
Ivey Business Journal November/December 2002