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
From Publishers Weekly
"The fundamental task of leaders... is to prime good feeling in those they lead. That occurs when a leader creates resonance a reservoir of positivity that unleashes the best in people. At its root, then, the primal job of leadership is emotional." So argue Goleman (Emotional Intelligence) and EI (emotional intelligence) experts Boyatzis and McKee. They use the word "primal" not only in its original sense, but also to stress that making employees feel good (i.e., inspired and empowered) is the job a leader should do first. To prove that the need to lead and to respond to leadership is innate, the authors cite numerous biological studies of how people learn and react to situations (e.g., an executive's use of innate self-awareness helps her to be open to criticism). And to demonstrate the importance of emotion to leadership, they note countless examples of different types of leaders in similar situations, and point out that the ones who get their employees emotionally engaged accomplish far more. Perhaps most intriguing is the brief appendix, where the authors compare the importance of IQ and EI in determining a leader's effectiveness. Their conclusion that EI is more important isn't surprising, but their reasoning is. Since one has to be fairly smart to be a senior manager, IQ among top managers doesn't vary widely. However, EI does. Thus, the authors argue, those managers with higher EI will be more successful. (Mar. 11)Forecast: Goleman already has a legion of fans from his early books on EI. His publisher is banking on his fame; the house has planned a $250,000 campaign and a 100,000 first printing.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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