Perhaps you have already read one or both of Daniel Goleman's previous books, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ for Character, Health, and Lifelong Achievement (1995) and Working with Emotional Intelligence (1998). If not, I presume to suggest that you do so before reading this volume in which Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee develop in much greater depth and with much wider application many of the same core concepts introduced in those earlier works. In fact, as the authors explain in the Preface, this book goes far beyond two articles which appeared even earlier in the Harvard Business Review ("What Makes a Leader" and "Leadership That Gets Results") "to advance a new concept: primal leadership. The fundamental task, we argue, is to prime good feelings in those they lead. That occurs when a leader creates [italics] resonance -- a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people. At its root, then, the primal job of leadership is emotional."
Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee carefully organize their material within Three Parts: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, Making Leaders, and Building Emotional Intelligent Organizations. The insights, strategies, and tactics provided are all based on the authors' several decades of real-world experience with all manner of organizations as well as on insights gained through direct and extensive contact with various leaders. In the final chapter, the authors observe: "In sum, the best leadership programs [ones which focus on the process of talent development] are designed for culture, competencies, and even spirit. They adhere to the principles of self-directed change and use a multifaceted approach to the learning and development process itself that focuses on the individual, team, and organization." I am reminded of what the Mahatma Gandhi once asserted: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." What should be the defining values throughout the inevitably difficult change process?
Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee are absolutely certain that the most effective leaders "are more values-driven, more flexible and informal, and more open and frank than leaders of old. They are more connected to people and to networks. More especially, they exude resonance: They have genuine passion for their mission, and that passion is contagious. Their enthusiasm and excitement spread spontaneously, invigorating those they lead. And resonance is the key to primal leadership." Does all this describe the kind of person you wish to follow? If so, then become the same kind of leader for others to follow.
Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out James O'Toole's The Executive Compass, David Maister's Practice What You Preach, David Whyte's The Heart Aroused, and Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan's Execution: The Discipline of Getting Results.