Emotional intelligence at work and
I Ching for managers.
Did I Ching already describe emotional intelligence at work 2500 years ago?
The concept referred to as emotional intelligence is of all time; the name however, is new. This could create the impression that it is only a matter of old ideas parading as new ones, but there is more to it. The new name means a recognition for a field that used to be considered less relevant. Until recently, intelligence was considered to refer only to the realm of the intellect. Although of course this is in itself not unimportant, it is certainly not the one and only truth. It appears that happiness and success are mainly determined by other properties, such as what you are made of and how you relate to others. This means that when it comes to intelligence, the emphasis has shifted towards the emotional field.

It has appeared from studies that emotional intelligence at work is a major influencing factor for the degree in which people feel happy and are successful. That goes for the workers on the shop floor as well as for the people who determine the company policy. The latter are highly important to the results of the company and in certain cases they are even decisive, they can make the difference between a flourishing company and a languishing company.

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So far emotional intelligence at work, but what is the link with I Ching for managers?
I Ching is known as the book of oracles, the first texts of which were probably recorded around 1000 BC. At a later stage (from about 500 BC), philosophers also started to get involved. It is assumed that Confucius made a substantial contribution. That also gave it its reputation as book of wisdom. Many Chinese writings are based on the I Ching. The most well-known western translations of this "wisdom" approach of I Ching are those by James Legge made at the end of the 1800s and those by Richard Wilhelm from the early 1900s.

Since the end of the 19th century, excavations have been made which yielded objects from the period around 1000 BC. Since then, Sinology with regard to I Ching has been focussing on the original (archaic) texts. Apart from the fact that this has not resulted in a well-defined opinion on the meaning of the original texts, it is also the reason that today you will have to look far for the wisdom which could be found in the later (Confucian) texts.

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Modernists now dispose of the versions by Legge and Wilhelm as Confucian and outdated, also because of the finds. Regardless of how you label these versions, they are certainly worth studying. That is what I have done and the result is my book "I Ching for managers".
This title is not a forced attempt to introduce ambiguous and general texts to the field of management. In many cases the texts themselves appeared to have a bearing on managing, leading, working in groups, recognising and handling emotions in oneself as well as in others. This means the "Confucian" I Ching can be considered as emotional intelligence at work. However, the form is not narrative but geared to unique situations and for that reason it should be regarded as a manual rather than entertaining literature.

For organisations which, convinced by scientific research, have started to realise the impact of emotional intelligence within the organisation, this book could be a useful starting point to make all those involved see the same truth. Then they don't have to reinvent the wheel, but they can use one which has time and again proved its value for the past 2500 years.

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