“There is an expectation that leaders have “people skills.” This vague term is an amalgam of communication skills, listening, connecting with others, managing conflict, negotiation, empathy, and the list goes on and on. These typically aren’t skills learned in classes, but rather are learned over time. And these are often hard, painful lessons.

Brett Cooper and Evans Kerrigan, in their book Solving the People Problem: Essential Skills You Need to Lead and Succeed in Today’s Workplace, identify emotional intelligence as the key to developing these skills. Their approach blends an understanding of emotional intelligence and DISC styles to remind us that we must first look at ourselves and understand how we may be the problem. Seeing how we contribute to the situation can ultimately lead to the solution.

The book is an engaging read, with many personal stories from the authors, colleagues, and clients’ experiences. These shared experiences provide a real-life learning lab that allows us to see “people problems” as opportunities. This perspective is the key to developing the skills to succeed in today’s workplace.”

Reid Swanson