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Home > Books > What I’m Reading: Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

What I’m Reading: Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

August 21st, 2009


This is another of my many books turned up by my Amazon Recommendations and then picked up at the local library.

Primal Leadership delves into the basic human aspects and needs of leadership. This is less about knowing about external issues and more about the self-knowledge that allows us to be more effective leaders in all aspects of our lives.

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Amazon.com Review

Business leaders who maintain that emotions are best kept out of the work environment do so at their organization’s peril. Bestselling author Daniel Goleman‘s theories on emotional intelligence (EI) have radically altered common understanding of what “being smart” entails, and in Primal Leadership, he and his coauthors present the case for cultivating emotionally intelligent leaders. Since the actions of the leader apparently account for up to 70 percent of employees’ perception of the climate of their organization, Goleman and his team emphasize the importance of developing what they term “resonant leadership.” Focusing on the four domains of emotional intelligence–self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management–they explore what contributes to and detracts from resonant leadership, and how the development of these four EI competencies spawns different leadership styles. The best leaders maintain a style repertoire, switching easily between “visionary,” “coaching,” “affiliative,” and “democratic,” and making rare use of less effective “pace-setting” and “commanding” styles. The authors’ discussion of these methods is informed by research on the workplace climates engendered by the leadership styles of more than 3,870 executives. Indeed, the experiences of leaders in a wide range of work environments lend real-life examples to much of the advice Goleman et al. offer, from developing the motivation to change and creating an improvement plan based on learning rather than performance outcomes, to experimenting with new behaviors and nurturing supportive relationships that encourage change and growth. The book’s final section takes the personal process of developing resonant leadership and applies it to the entire organizational culture. –S. Ketchum

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