Fourth Age Communiqué - Leadership for the rest of us

Friday, May 28, 2004

Emotional Intelligence and the Primal Leader

Book Review

Perhaps never before in history has it been more important for leaders to emotionally connect with those they lead. Further, it is critical to any organization’s long term success that a leader not only connect with her followers, but also develop her respective charges into leaders in their own right.

Such is the crux of Daniel Goleman’s thesis in Primal Leadership: In order to succeed, an organization (although he speaks specifically to business, the model can be extended) must achieve measurable results. These are only as “good”, over time, as the teams that produce them, and those teams must, in order to produce at continually high levels, serve within a climate that induces them to continue to succeed.

Climate, Goleman posits, is only as conducive to engendering continued results and high morale as an effective leader imbues it with those qualities. And the leader does it, he argues, through highly attuned levels of Emotional Intelligence.

The model, then, as adopted by such notable organizations as IBM, is this: EI drives leadership styles, which drive climate, which drives behavior, which drives results. The most effective organizations are those that are led by highly EI leaders who can adapt to and influence the environment with their leadership styles.

Dr. Goleman builds on this model with a list of specific leadership styles (which he interchangeably refers to as competencies) that comprise the repertoire of effective EI leadership. Goleman goes on to illustrate how the effective primal leader employs them to bring out the best in every team member.


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