Emotional Intelligence at Work: The Art of Peace Not War

I never thought I’d be writing about the intersection of emotional intelligence and Twitter but…I just checked out a Guy Kawasaki tweet about an article he wrote called The Art of Mea Culpa. Let’s see if I can set this up in a way that makes sense to tweet-savvy and non-tweet-savvy folks alike.

According to Guy, it seems the website Mashable, in reporting about the new Apple iPad, kinda sorta borrowed pictures – not a few but many – from a site called GDGT. Major oops!  Mashable is a huge well-known social media site and kinda shoulda known better then to just take pictures from another site and publish them on their own site without permission or proper credit – but they kinda forgot to ask. And GDGT totally found out.

How Twitter Helped Save the Day

What Guy shares with us is part of the actual Twitter exchange between GDGT’s Ryan Block and Mashable reporter Ben Parr – a great case study in true emotional intelligence at work in the world of business. It’s a short article, so please take a moment and check it out here – especially their tweeted conversation.

Really…it’s well worth reading.  I’ll wait.

Did you see what happened? In just a few short tweets, something that probably would have blown up huge in most if not all the business environments in which I’ve ever worked instead got worked out. Civilized and effective. Cool and respectful. What a concept!

Kawasaki concludes:

How many times have you seen people almost come to blows for ridiculous things like fences, noise, backyard trees, and thought, “This is how wars start”? Clearly, the way to resolve issues is to openly, calmly, and honestly discuss them. Otherwise, as the Chinese proverb goes, “A book tightly shut is but a block of paper.”

Nicely said, Guy.

For many years, Sun Tzu’s The Art of War has been heralded by business warriors as an exemplary take-no-prisoners game plan for playing to win at all cost. (There are also deeper non-warlike lessons to be gleaned from his work.*) But maybe it’s finally time for business to let go of the oh-so limiting war-mentality framework they’ve been relying on and instead look to a more advanced fully-integrated 2.0 model – maybe even one based on lessons learned from Kawasak’s post!

One more thought:

Not that I’m suggesting we all work out our problems on Twitter, but since Twitter limits you to 140 characters per tweet, I think there  might be something about keeping our responses short and tweet (sorry) that helps cut through the crap and makes it easier to stick to simple salient information – while also keeping it real. Might be something worth exploring.

What do you think?

(*Note: As mentioned, there are also other ways to look at Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, including those described here or here.)

Related Posts from Work Coach Cafe:

7 Ways You Can Put Emotional Intelligence to Work

Zen at Work: Some Thoughts About Mindfulness

Zen and the Art of Being a Receptionist (and Other Under-Appreciated Jobs)



About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Hi Ronnie,

    Thx for the food for thought. What is so interesting about this discussion is that business is so behind where the science of human dynamics are.

    The beliefs that most of us live and work by stem from the unchallenged cultural meme that “we will always be at war.” It’s promoted by media, government and the corporate vested interests that profit from conflict and war.

    What the science of the past decade or so demonstrates is that we are, in fact, hard-wired for altruism (which we recently wrote a post about in our blog).

    I think the author Jeremy Rifkin expresses it perfectly in his new book, The Empathic Civilization, ““What if the age old assumptions about human nature are false? In the past 15 years, scientists from a wide range of fields, from evolutionary biology, to neurocognitive research and child development have been making breath taking discoveries that are forcing us to rethink our long held beliefs about human nature. Researchers are discovering mirror-neurons – the so-called empathy neurons – that allow human beings and other species to feel and experience another’s situation as if they were one’s own. We are, as it appears, the most social animals and we seek intimate participation and companionship with our fellows.”

    Now I don’t know how much we can say to each other in 140 characters or less but how about,
    “I am sorry”
    “I apologize”
    “What can I do to help”
    “I’d like to listen to what you have to say”
    and the really radical,
    “I love you.”
    All very tweetable!

  2. The Twitter conversation you referenced is really interesting. I think that the fact that the conversation happened publicly is a big part of the reason that it worked.

  3. Thank you Louise for adding so wonderfully to the conversation. (Louise and her partner George specialize in emotional intelligence for organizations and individuals in their consulting practice.) Nice examples of peace-not-war tweets!

    Hi DC Jobs! Your comment brought a big DOH! smile to my face. Of course…the public nature of this conversation must have had an influence. Still, I naively like to think they may have the emotional smarts to have stayed civil anyway. There are certainly enough examples of completely public discourse that can only be attributed to living brain donors. 😉

    Thanks to you both for such great comments!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

  4. Great post, Ronnie! Love to see examples of how the power of nice really works, even in the digital realm. By expressing a little empathy, not allowing your negative emotions to overwhelm you, and responding rationally and politely, you can effectively resolve, rather than exacerbate disputes.

  5. Thank you so much Linda! I’m honored by your kind words. Love what you said about the “power of nice”. Good luck with your book!

    ~ Ronnie Ann

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