Book by Marcy Levy Shankman and Scott J. Allen
Review by: Audra J. Frick
Academic Advisor, College of Education and Public Service
Saint Louis University

Defining just what makes a good leader has been discussed in dozens of leadership books. Discussing what makes an emotionally intelligent student leader is carefully and thoughtfully outlined in this text. Many college students are heavily involved on campus, and often take on leadership roles. Authors Shankman and Allen (2008) note this and challenge the student reader to think through a three-part evaluation of different types of consciousness: of context, of self, and of others. These three pieces, along with over twenty different leadership qualities are reviewed.  

Through current, relevant analogy and strong reference to other leadership publications, the authors take the reader through various scenarios examining personal well-being and healthy self esteem to ideas surrounding taking initiative and inspiring others. The book is designed to be a quick read with each chapter following a similar format. First, the details of each chapter are defined, e.g., emotional self-perception, group-savvy, emotional self control. Next, a particular characteristic is tied back to the idea of leadership and, finally, an offering of student perspectives is provided. Each chapter closes with a unique set of reflection questions designed to prompt the reader to examine and identify a set of attributes in themselves and in others.  

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership is meant to be read as a progressive knowledge builder but the chapters alone serve as good quick reads. The academic advisor who sees a student struggling with a particular quality can recommend this book, placing special emphasis on chapters where the student could best benefit. The authors make it easy for readers to place themselves in the examples provided and the reflection questions gently force readers to respond. The final chapter does a superb job of placing the responsibility of emotionally intelligent leadership development into the hands of the readers. 

While this book is not a necessity for academic advising, it provides a solid framework for advisors who work with student groups e.g., orientation leaders or student activity groups. In addition, advisors may note the parallels between this text and Chickering’s (1993) seven vectors of student identity development theory – a nice surprise for student development theory junkies!

This neatly compiled book packs a lot of valuable information into a small volume, offering opinions from authors, experts and students. This book would make a companion for professionals who seek to help students identify leadership skills and development opportunities. 

Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and identity (2nd ed.).  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership A Guide for College Students, (2008). Book by Marcy Levy Shankman and Scott J. Allen. Review by: Audra J. Frick. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 160 pp. Price $25. ISBN: 978-0-470-27713-3
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