A Conversation with Author Jen Shirkani

Jen Shirkani, founder and CEO of the Penumbra Group, has more than 20 years of experience as a learning and development specialist and executive coach.

Photo Jen ShirkaniJen Shirkani, founder and CEO of the Penumbra Group, has more than 20 years of experience as a learning and development specialist and executive coach. As a sought-after speaker, she provides insight into human dynamics in a humorous and engaging way. Here, she discusses her influence and inspiration for her new book, EGO vs EQ — released today!

What inspired you to write EGO vs EQ?

I have been working with business people for over twenty years to help them improve their leadership effectiveness. I have read several research studies that confirmed the importance and correlation between executive success and emotional intelligence. But, as I observed in my coaching practice, along with hearing anecdotal examples, there seemed to be a constant pull on executives away from the EQ skills. I set out to identify what it was. Patterns emerged. I felt the information was important enough to write about and share, especially because all of them were in a leader’s direct control.

What is the most exciting part about having a book published?

The sense of accomplishment. I have always felt I am a better talker than a writer, so being able to put my thoughts in writing was a big challenge for me!

Photo EGO vs EQWho do you hope reads your book? What do you want them to get from it?

I hope that every reader finds even one way to do something different in their business lives. Emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened and the benefits of it are powerful. When one leader improves, it typically benefits many others. The path to remarkable leadership (and ultimately remarkable organizations) is completely in our control. I am a business junkie and love to see companies win big via dynamic employees.

Who was the #1 influencer for your work?

Stephen Covey. His The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is filled with so many practical life and leadership lessons. I always wanted to write a book as easy to follow as his.

What is your favorite book and what are you reading right now?

In addition to 7 Habits, I have so many favorites! I really like Quiet by Susan Cain, Drive by Daniel Pink and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. I am just finishing Daring Greatly by Brené Brown which is fantastic, and I next plan to read Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser.

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