The Humm Handbook; Lifting your level of emotional intelligence

by Christopher Golis
ISBN: 978 192 133 2029, Publisher: Wilkinson Publishing, 2007

Reviewed by: Julie Garland McLellan*

This is a practical compendium of simple tools for improving management of diverse personality types. The engineer in me absolutely loved the logical development of the framework, starting from the historical context for character type assessment, building through the simple emotional preferences into stereotypes and then into tools for managing each stereotype effectively.

It is well written which makes it a quick read even though the subject matter is complex and addressed in sufficient detail. The stereotypes, and their placement into work settings, are clearly portrayed and they are the key to unlocking the true wealth the book offers.

The riches in this book are the tools and techniques for recognising character types: I have spent half my executive life wishing people would tell me their Belbin and Myers Briggs labels instead of their job titles when introducing themselves. This book gave me a simple checklist that identified types quite accurately (even though I have the interpersonal skills of the average sledgehammer) and then allowed me to manage my own preferred reactions to engender a better outcome.

The book compliments and extends the work of Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence but does so in a workmanlike style that leads immediately to the practicalities rather than remaining in ‘navel-gaze mode’ as so many books on emotions and their mastery are wont to do.

This book won’t turn you into someone you are not (heaven forbid!) but will help you to deal with people who aren’t like you.

As the book covers techniques that must be honed with practice it cries out for practical exercises. Instead the book applies the techniques to well known stories. Working out just how to handle Hamlet, assess Antigone, baffle Brutus, counter Cassius, using the summarised stories and techniques from the handbook is easy. Picking the types from the original narratives, or in the workplace, is a lot more difficult as the additional data tends to be complex and contradictory. A lot of practice is required for these techniques to optimise your instinctive response to stimuli.

I should declare a conflict of interest. On 18 September 2008 Chris Golis bought me a glass of champagne. I drank it with pleasure. I don’t think it influenced my appreciation of this book. Do you?

*Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive director and an AICD NSW Councillor. She is the author of “All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector” and numerous articles on corporate strategy and governance.

Julie Garland McLellan to judge 2011 Global eBook Awards