Monday, March 23, 2009

Emotional Intelligence: It's just small-p politics

Some people are brilliant at coming up with routines, processes, tools, and methodologies to manage meetings and address the difficulty, in corporate circumstances, in talking about the subject of their creativity and curiosity (while some techies have "permission" to do that, most people working in large organizations don't.)

People who are members of a community of practice are excited by their work and sharing their expertise as an end in itself. For these people, meetings aren't tainted by having to negotiate a plethora of hidden agendas. And people have the courage to own and speak about their creative ideas without needing some cumbersome legitimating routine. Other groups are more caught up in institutional politics and therefore they need a hand creating "safe spaces" for themselves to have what really should be ordinary conversations about things that interest them as human beings (other than small-p dominance and getting ahead.)

It's not a healthy situation to need some kind of negotiation strategy just to have a conversation about what inspires people's thoughts, hopes and imagination. Perhaps the ability to do that is considered emotional intelligence, but in my book, it's called Promotional Intelligence.

In my opinion, we should learn about emotional intelligence from people enthusiastic about sharing the opportunities for discovery life affords. We should emulate people from communities of interest. We should not emulate those supposedly "emotionally intelligent" members of the narrow small-p politics set who find enthusiam embarrasing generally, or their complements, i.e., those waiting for permission to speak.

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