Soft Skills Hard Results – Anne Taylor
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a key area of personal development and overall workplace capability. Daniel Goleman wrote his book Emotional Intelligence, where he demonstrated that biology and biochemistry, alongside specifically developed skills, play an enormous part in our reactions to situations and our ability to espouse the characteristics of leadership. Since then, EI has gradually developed to the mainstream position it has in business and personal development. Prior to the term Emotional Intelligence, we often referred to the underlying intrapersonal and interpersonal skills as Soft Skills – a term Anne Taylor returns to in the title of her book, <i>Soft Skills Hard Results A Practical Guide to People Skills for Analytical Leaders.</i>
With the number of personal development and business books I’ve read, it becomes very difficult to read a book without a significant amount of the material being repeated from previous books. This work is understandably no exception but what it does try to achieve is the direct correlation between EI, leadership and business metrics, particularly the bottom-line. Although top-line figures have always been associated with strong soft skills.
I am always fascinated in the neuroscience involved around emotional intelligence because I then know it is rooted in science. The impact of hormones and chemicals released into the body at times of need or stress helps explain a lot to an analytical person like me. The body’s response to hormones and chemicals such as Adrenalin, Cortisol, Dopamine and Oxytocin could be covered a bit better but then another reader may wish to have this section removed – not really an issue.
We can consider four main areas of emotions intelligence which is often illustrated in a four-quadrant grid where one axis is Self and Other and the other axis is Knowing and Doing. This focus enables us to address the understanding and actions of emotions, with regards ourselves or others. Various 2 x 2 models are used throughout the book including the Johari Window useful for self-awareness and understanding relationships. Anne Taylor’s book is also structured in four parts as – Inside, Outside, Between and Beyond. There are ten principles discussed, each with its own chapter and each chapter with a concluding challenge to encourage additional practice.
What I really liked was the detail provided and in one example the reader is requested to email a group but they are provided with a sample email with the wording she feels important and why that format is important. Coaching is an important role and as vividly as possible, Anne Taylor creates a workshop feel to the material where she discusses motivations, worries, styles, language, courage and achieving balance.
The material in this book comes from an experienced business leader with considerable knowledge in coaching and mentoring business executives. It feels like a trusted insight into the area of emotional intelligence and its correlation to results and hard business metrics. I would recommend reading this book and I would like to thank Practical Inspiration Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.