I’ve got to be honest, I’ve always felt that this EQ (emotional quotent) fed to us by Daniel Goleman and his acolytes was just another way of ripping money out of our pockets. But with the recent events in the ANC, Nick Dennis and the bread fixing debacle and the Glen Aglioti saga, maybe there’s more to this emotional intelligence thing than meets the eye.
Let’s explore why President Thabo Mbeki grip on power is slipping.
There’s no doubt that he is firmly in the intellectual, left brained camp. He’s more comfortable in the realm of theory than in the reality on the ground. I’d suspect, like most intellectuals, he has a snobbish, aloof air about him. He’s more likely to be turned on sparring intellectually with Joel Netshittenzhe than having a hot-blooded woman casting her eye on him. He reminds me of a Dr. Niles Crane (of Frasier fame) – prim, proper, paedantic and untouchable.
(Why, just the other day in a training session, I recommended the Dale Carnegie course and the manager who was a Rhodes graduate said that he believed the course was for losers. Of course, he had the emotional acuity of Dr. Spock’s mother.)
That may just be Mbeki’s downfall. Most of the children of this South African soil aren’t intellectuals. They’re earthy, feeling beings that need to be recognised. He’s done a piss-poor job of that, hasn’t he? Ignoring the plight of those suffering of AIDS. What’s the figure now … 1000 dying a day in South Africa. With his intellectual bent you’d think education would be his priority, wouldn’t you? As it turns out our Education Department is churning out the dumbest kids in the world at the moment. And of course, covering up and defeating the ends of justice for his mates, Manto, Jackie and others lurking in the shadows. His unwavering support for Mugabe is not endearing him to the masses either. Did he think he’d get away with it forever? Clearly not. The masses are speaking against him. I’m not sure they’re voting for Jacob Zuma so much as voting against Thabo Mbeki. Why? Mbeki hasn’t got his finger on the pulse of the nation. He hasn’t had it on for a while because he has a cabal of ‘Yes men and women’ who won’t let him see the truth. Or maybe he doesn’t want to hear the truth.
The bottom line is that he doesn’t appear to care for the majority. And they don’t care for him because as the saying goes, "I don’t care how much you know, until I know how much you care".
He is emotionally inept when it comes to the so-called Connection Economy where relationships are the new vital.
I suppose the reality is that most people don’t like people to be too smart … they want to take them down a peg or two, don’t they? Isn’t that why many females ‘dumb-down’ when dealing with males. If they’re ‘too clever’ they’re seen as a threat and get put in their place (this if for another discussion 😉
Recently, Nick Dennis, CEO of Tiger Brands fell on his sword and went into early retirement because his company violated the basic human rights of the majority of this country when they decided to fix the price of bread. He claims he wasn’t aware of this happening. Come on, Nick, after 25-odd years at the company, you should be tuned into the company telegraph system. If he’d been at the millstone and had his ear to the ground, he would’t have been caught offsides.
I suppose the lesson for business leaders is that they have to get out of their ivory tower, forgo the comforts of their fancy Mercedes, Jaguars and Range Rovers and get off the golf greens, put on their Green Cross shoes and walkabout to get a feel of what is happening in reality in their business. Hook into the current climate of your business. Connect!
Glen Aglioti seems to have the emotional intelligence of a Vulcan. Don’t come off a plea bargain saying that you’ve been vindicated. You’ve been saved by a screwed up and totally inept justice system and buddies that are scared you’re going to shop them. But your soul has been measured by the world (if the hatred directed to him on Radio 702 was anything to go by), in the crack houses and by a higher power and you have been found wanting. An emotionally aware being would have apologised for the tragedy his ‘bit playing’ has caused to countless souls in this country and tried to make some kind of restitution. (Read Buddha by Deepak Chopra – there might still be hope for you).
So, I suppose Daniel Goleman is right. The emotionally aware and connected will do ok in the long run.
Jacques de Villiers is a specialist sales trainer and conference speaker