Primal Leadership

Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis and Annie McKee.
Harvard: Harvard Business School Press, 2004
Open Library eBook

The partnership between Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee works well with Goleman’s brand of emotional intelligence being fused with McKee and Boyatzis’ research on resonant leadership and self-directed learning. “A fundamental task of leaders, “ they argue,” is to prime good feelings in those they lead.. the primal root is emotional”.

At the heart of Goleman’s interpretation of Emotional Intelligence set out in his influential book of the same name, is the core issue of self-direction and choice. At the opening of Emotional intelligence he quotes from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics “Anyone can be angry – that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way – this is not easy.” Emotional intelligence, for Goleman, is not about suppressing emotions, it is about intentionalising them.

Cue primal leadership – if you resonant that emotional intentionality through every aspect of your leadership style and approach you begin to connect with people in a more meaningful and empathetic way. Dissonant leaders don’t do this – they use old-fashioned command/control behaviours to pace others and get things done, but they also leave a trail of destruction, bad feeling, demotivation and a talent exodus from the organisation.

Resonant leadership, primed by emotional intelligence, is self-learnt (through developing such things as self-awareness and relationship building) and sustains motivation, commitment and performance throughout the organisation.