Primal Leadership

This is a collection of short excerpts from the new Goleman book Primal Leadership.

Goleman, Daniel, Boyatzus, Richard and McKee, Annie. (2002). Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence.
Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Publishing. ISBN: 1-57851-486-X (editorial reviews)



"The fundamental task of leaders, we argue, is to prime good feelings in those they lead.  That occurs when a leader creates resonance—a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people.  At its root, then, the primal job of leadership is emotional." page ix

"... the power of emotionally intelligent leadership to inspire, arouse passion and enthusiasm, and keep people motivated and committed." page x

"For too long managers have seen emotions at work as noise cluttering the rational operation of organizations.  But the time for ignoring emotions as irrelevant to business has passed." page xi

Part One: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Chapter 1: Primal Leadership

"If people's emotions are pushed toward the range of enthusiasm,performance can soar;..  Followers also look to a leader for supportive emotional connection - for empathy. ...  When leaders drive emotions positively, ... they bring out everyone's best.  We call this effect resonance." p5

"The reason a leader's manner ... matters so much lies in the design of the human brain: what scientists have begun to call the open-loop nature of the limbic system, our emotional centers. ...  An open-loop system depends largely on external sources to manage itself." p6

"In other words, we rely on connections with other people for our own emotional stability." p6

"Research in intensive care units has shown that the comforting presence of another person not only lowers the patient's blood pressure, but also slows secretion of fatty acids that block arteries." p6

"The open-loop design of the limbic system means that other people can change our very physiology—and so our emotions." p7

"... people in groups at work inevitably 'catch' feelings from one another ..." p7

"cheerfulness and warmth spread most easily ... upbeat moods boost cooperation, fairness, and business performance" p10

"Laughter, in particular, demonstrates the power of open loop in operation. ... Glee spreads so rapidly because our brain includes open-loop circuits, designed specifically for detecting smiles and laughter that make us laugh in response.   The result is a positive emotional hijack." p10

"Similarly, of all emotional signals, smiles are the most contagious. ...   Whereas a false smile might easily slip through our emotional radar, a forced laugh has a hollow ring." p10

"In a neurological sense, laughing represents the shortest distance between two people because it instantly interlocks limbic systems." p10

"the most direct communication possible between people—brain to brain—with our intellect just going along for the ride. ...  No surprise, then, that people who relish each other's company laugh easily and often." p11

:"In any work setting, therefore, the sound of laughter signals the group's emotional temperature. ...  It signals trust, comfort, and a shared sense of the world. ..." p11

"... the more open leaders are—how well they express their own enthusiasm, for example—the more readily others will feel the same contagious passion." p11

"Leaders with that kind of talent are emotional magnets ... ability to exude upbeat feelings." p11

"Not that leaders need to be overly "nice"; the emotional art of leadership includes pressing the reality of work demands without unduly upsetting people." p13

"Distress not only erodes mental abilities, but also makes people less emotionally intelligent." p13

"... emotions people feel while they work, according to new findings on job satisfaction, reflect most directly the true quality of work life." p14

"... research on humor at work reveals that a well-timed joke or playful laugher (sic) can stimulate creativity, open lines of communication, enhance a sense of connection and trust, and, of course, make work more fun." p14

"The ability of a leader to pitch a group into an enthusiastic, cooperative mood can determine its success." p14

"... employees who feel upbeat will likely go the extra mile to please customers and therefore improve the bottom line." p15

"From a business viewpoint, of course, bad moods in people who serve customers are bad news." p16

"... it was the store manager who created the emotional climate that drove salespeople's moods. ...  When the managers themselves were peppy, confident, and optimistic, their moods rubbed off on the staff." p16

"In general, the more emotionally demanding the work, the more empathetic and supportive the leader needs to be." p17

"But now we have results from a range of industries that link leadership to climate and to business performance, making it possible to quantify the hard difference for business performance made by something as soft as the "feel" of a company." p17 - corporate culture

"But our analysis suggests that, overall, the climate—how people feel about working at a company—can account for 20 to 30 percent of business performance." p17

"If climate drives business results, what drives climate? Roughly 50 to 70 percent of how employees perceive their organization's climate can be traced to the actions of one person: the leader.  More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people's ability to work well." p18

Chapter 2: Resonant Leadership

"The root of the word resonance ... to resound ... the reinforcement or prolongation of sound by reflection ... 'by synchronous vibration'.  The human analog of synchronous vibration occurs when two people are on the same wavelength emotionally—when they feel 'in synch'.  And true to the original meaning of resonance, the synchrony 'resound,' prolonging the positive emotional pitch." p20

"... resonance amplifies and prolongs the emotional impact of leadership." p20

"These feelings drive people to do things together that no individual could or would do.  And it is the EI leader who knows how to bring about that kind of bonding." p21

"Just as laughter offers a ready barometer of resonance at work, so rampant anger, fear, apathy, or even sullen silence signals the opposite." p21

"... biological costs of dissonance ... can easily spiral into emotional toxicity." p21

"People who work in toxic environments take the toxicity home.  Stress hormones released during a toxic workday continue to swirl through the body many hours later." p22

"Dissonant leaders sometimes may seem effective in the short run—they may get a coveted promotion, for instance, by focusing on pleasing their boss —but the toxicity they leave behind belies their apparent success.  Wherever they go in an organization, the legacy of their tenure marks a telltale trail of demotivation and apathy, anger and resentment." p23

" Resonant leadership ... invites people to take a leap of faith through a word picture of what's possible, creating a collective aspiration." p24

"EI leaders ... follows the more lasting path to motivation by evoking positive resonance: rallying people around a worthy goal." p25

"... when we began to look at the culture and the leadership practices, we couldn't find much flexibility; tolerance for ambiguity, risk taking, or innovation; or attunement to customers. ...  The sad fact is that business jargon is a smokescreen." p25

"However, intellect alone will not make a leader; leaders execute a vision by motivating, guiding, inspiring, listening,persuading—and most crucially, through creating resonance.  As Albert Einstein cautioned,'We should take care not to make the intellect our god.  It has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.  It cannot lead, only serve." p27

"Despite the great value that business culture often places on an intellect devoid of emotion, our emotions are, in a very real sense, more powerful than our intellect." p27

"As our radar for emotional emergencies, the amygdala can commandeer other parts of the brain, including rational centers in the neocortex, for immediate action if it perceives a threat." p28

"... a neurological superhighway that helps to orchestrate thought and feeling.  The emotional intelligence competencies, so crucial for leadership, hinge on the smooth operation of this prefronotal–limbic circuitry." p29

"... the main tasks of a leader are to generate excitement, optimism, and passion for the job ahead, as well as to cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and trust." p29

"Each of the four domains of emotional intelligence—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relational management—adds a crucial set of skills for resonant leadership." p30

"In short, self-awareness facilitates both empathy and self-management, and these two, in combination, allow effective relationship management  EI leadership, then, builds up from a foundation of self-awareness." p30

"Self-awareness—often overlooked in business settings—is the foundation for the rest." p30

Chapter 3: The Neuroanatomy of Leadership

"One of the most powerful and most direct ways to make that resonant brain-to-brain connection, remember, is through laughter." p33

"The artful use of laughter typifies effective leadership.  That doesn't mean that you should always avoid disagreements or conflicts." p34

"The data linking leadership effectiveness to laughter come from hundreds of actual incidents." p34

"The most effective leaders, then, use humor more freely, even when things are tense, sending positive messages that shift the underlying emotional tone of the interaction." p35

"... a leadership 'competency model' to identify, train, and promote likely stars." p35

"Four competencies of emotional intelligence—but not a single technical or purely cognitive competency—emerged as the unique strengths of the stars: the drive to achieve results, the ability to take initiative, skills in collaboration and teamwork, and the ability to lead teams." p36

"As Max Weber argued a century ago, institutions that endure thrive not because of one leader's charisma, but because they cultivate leadership throughout the system." p36

"The researchers evaluated this talent  pool through the lens of the leadership competencies assessed in the ECI (Emotional Competence Inventory), a 360-degree measure of emotional intelligence in leadership." p37

"These EI competencies are not innate talents, but learned abilities, each of which has a unique contribution to making leaders more resonant, and therefore more effective." p38

Emotional Intelligence Domains and
Associated Competencies
These capabilities determine how manage ourselves.
These capabilities determine how we manage relationships.
  • Emotional self-awareness
    • Reading one's own emotions and recognizing their impact; using "gut sense" to guide decisions
  • Accurate self-assessment
    • Knowing one's strengths and limits
  • Self-confidence
    • A sound sense of one's self-worth and capabilities
 Social Awareness
  • Empathy
    • Sensing other's emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking active interest in their concerns
  • Organizational awareness
    • Reading currents, decision networks, and politics at the organizational level
  • Service
    • Recognizing and meeting follower, client, or customer needs
  • Emotional self-control
    • Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
  • Transparency
    • Displaying honesty and integrity; trustworthiness
  • Adaptability
    • Flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming obstacles
  • Achievement
    • The drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of excellence
  • Initiative
    • Readiness to act and seize opportunities
  • Optimism
    • Seeing the upside in events
 Relationship Management
  • Inspirational leadership
    • Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision
  • Influence
    • Wielding a range of tactics for persuasion
  • Developing others
    • Bolstering others' abilities through feedback and guidance
  • Change Catalyst
    • Initiating, managing, and leading in a new direction
  • Conflict Management
    • Resolving disagreements
  • Teamwork and collaboration
    • Cooperation and team building

"... effective leaders typically demonstrate strengths from at least one competence from each of the four fundamental areas of emotional intelligence." p40

1. Self-Awareness (p40)

"...self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one's emotions, as well as one's strengths and limitations and one's values and motives.  People with strong self-awareness are realistic--neither overly self-critical nor naively hopeful.  Rather, they are honest about themselves." p40

"Perhaps the most telling (though least visible) sign of self-awareness is a propensity for self-reflection and thoughtfulness." p40

"All of these traits of self-aware leaders enable them to act with the conviction and authenticity that resonance requires." p40

"Wherever people gravitate within their work role indicates where their real pleasure lies-- and that pleasure is itself motivating." p42

"Because attuning our feelings, according to neurological research, helps us to find the meaning in data, and so leads to better decisions.  Our emotional memory banks thus enable us to judge information efficiently.  Emotions, science now tells us, are part of rationality, not opposed to it." p42

"As Richard Fairbank, CEO at Capital One, put it, ... 'But at the end of the day, I find that all the data does is push us out farther on the frontier where it's uncertain all over again.'" p42
[Good decision support moves the boundaries.  It does not replace intuition, but it takes us to decision points we could never reach without it.]

"Today, as leaders are called on to build their companies by creating the future rather than investing in the past, vision matters more than ever.  Vision requires what looks to others like a leap of faith: the ability to go beyond the data to make a smart guess." p42

"Intuition works best, it seems, when a gut sense can be used to build on other kinds of data." p43

Weather prediction study: "THough their logical intellect was still stumper, those people had grasped the essence of the solution intuitively.  It just felt right--their intuition told them what to do, based on the lessons learned." p43

"The brain constantly registers decision rules about what works and what doesn't: ... the brain soaks up life's lessons to better prepare us for the next time we face a similar challenge, uncertainty, or decision point." p44

"... leaders need to learn to trust their intuitive sense to access their life wisdom.  The circuitry involved in puzzling decisions, in fact, includes not just the basal ganglia, but also the amygdala, where the brain stores the emotions associated with memories." p44

"...brain automatically extracts the decision rules that underlie one turn of events or another, or the operating cause-and-effect sequences." p44

"Accordingly, the brain won't inform us of these judgments with words; instead, the emotional brain activates circuitry that runs from the limbic centers into the gut, giving us the compelling sense that this feels rightThe amygdala, then, lets us know its conclusions primarily through circuitry extending into the gastrointestinal tract that, literally, creates a gut feeling." p44

"In short, intuition offers EI leaders a direct pipeline to their accumulated life wisdom on a topic.  And it takes the inner attunement of self-awareness to sense that meaning." p45

2. The Leader's Primal Challenge: Self-Management (p45)

"The left side of the prefrontal area, researchers believe, is part of a key circuit that inhibits neurons in the amygdala, and so keeps a person from being captured by distress.  This circuitry helps a lead to calm rocky emotions and maintain a confident, enthusiastic tone." p45

"Self-management, then ... is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being a prisoner of our feelings." p46

"How a leader feels this becomes more than just a private matter; given the reality of emotional leakage, a leader's emotions have public consequences." p46

"When a person with a pronounced left prefrontal tilt--that is, a person who is perennially upbeat--talks with someone known to be confrontational about issues they disagree on, the unflappable person typically ends up calming the irritable one." p46

"Indeed, in one study, the irritable person reported afterward that he just couldn't be confrontational because the other person kept responding with positivity." p47

"Self-management also enables transparency. ...  Transparent--an authentic openness to others about one's feelings, beliefs, and actions--allows integrity, or the sense that a leader can be trusted.  At a primal level, integrity hinges upon impulse control, keeping us from acting in ways that we might regret.  Integrity also means that a leader lives his values. ...  Integrity, therefore, boils down to one question: Is what you're doing in keeping with your own values?" p47

3. Social Awareness and the Limbic Tango (p48)

"After self-awareness and emotional self-management, resonant leadership requires social awareness or, put another way, empathy. ... The ability to empathize ... stems from neurons in extended circuitry connected to, and in, the amygdala that read another person's face and voice for emotion and continually attune us to how someone else feels as we speak with them." p48

"This circuitry also attunes our own biology to the dominant range of feelings of the person we are with, so that our emotional states tend to converge.  One term scientists use for this neural attunement is limbic resonance, ... whereby two people harmonize their emotional state." p48

"At the brain level, such messages emanate upbeat emotions, a range of feeling centered in the circuitry to and from the left prefrontal area.  This zone of the brain also holds the key to motivation; as these positive visions spread, a group catches fire around that common goal." p49

"Empathy--which includes listening and taking other people's perspectives--allows leaders to tune into the emotional channels between people that create resonance.  And staying attuned lets them fine-tune their messages to keep it in synch." p49

"When leaders are able to grasp other people's feelings and perspectives, they access a potent emotional guidance system that keeps what they say and do on track. ... Empathetic people are superb at recognizing and meeting the needs of clients, customers, or subordinates.  They seem approachable, wanting to hear what people have to say.  They listen carefully, picking up on what people are truly concerned about, and they respond on the mark.  Accordingly, empathy is key to retaining talent." p50

4. Relationship Management

"Here we find the most visible tools of leadership--persuasion, conflict management, and collaboration among them." p51

"The art of handling relationships well, then begins with authenticity: acting from one's genuine feelings.  Once leaders have attuned to their own vision and values, steadied in the positive emotional range, and tuned into the emotions of the group, then relationship management skills let them interact in ways that catalyze resonance." p51

"Relationship management is friendliness with a purpose." p51

Chapter 4: The Leadership Repertoire

"Four of these styles--visionary, coaching, affiliative, and democratic--create the kind of resonance that boosts performance." p53

"...leaders with the best results didn't practice just one particular style.  Rather, on any given day or week, they used many of the six distinct styles--seamlessly and in different measures--depending on the business situation." p54

1. The Visionary Leader (p54)

The Leadership Styles in a Nutshell (p55)



Moves people toward shared dreams
  IMPACT ON CLIMATE: Most strongly positive
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: When changes require a new vision, or when a clear direction is needed
  HOW IT BUILDS RESONANCE: Connects what a person wants with the organization's goals
  IMPACT ON CLIMATE: Highly positive
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: To help an employee improve performance by building long-term capabilities
  HOW IT BUILDS RESONANCE: Creates harmony by connecting people to each other
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: To heal rifts in a team, motivate during stressful times, or strengthen connections
  HOW IT BUILDS RESONANCE: Values people's input and gets commitment through participation
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: To build buy-in or consensus, or to get valuable input from employees
  HOW IT BUILDS RESONANCE: Meets challenging and exciting goals
  IMPACT ON CLIMATE: Because too frequently poorly executed, often highly negative
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: To get high-quality results fro a motivated and competent team
  HOW IT BUILDS RESONANCE: Soothes fears by giving clear direction in an emergency
  IMPACT ON CLIMATE: Because so often misused, highly negative
  WHEN APPROPRIATE: In a crisis, to kick-start a turnaround, or with problem employees

Social work agency case study:

"People seemed relieved to have a chance to talk ..." p56

"She got people talking about their hopes for the future ..." p56

"Shawana Leroy, of course, exemplifies the visionary style, which strongly drives emotional climate upward and transforms the spirit of the organization at many levels.  For instance, visionary leaders articulate where a group is going, but how it will get there--setting people free to innovate, experiment, and take calculated risks." p57

"Visionary leaders reap another benefit: retaining their most valued employees.  To the extent that people resonate with a company's values, goals, and mission, that company becomes their preferred employer.  A smart company realizes that it's vision and mission offers its people a unique 'brand,' a way of distinguishing itself as an employer from other companies in the same industry." p57 - corporate culture

"Visionary leaders help people to see how their work fits into the big picture, lending people a clear sense not just that what they do matters, but also why.  Such leadership maximizes buy-in for the organization's overall long-term goals and strategy." p57

"Of the six leadership styles, our research suggests the overall, this visionary approach is most effective.  By continually reminding people of the larger purpose of their work, the visionary leader lends a grand meaning to otherwise workaday, mundane tasks.  Workers understand the shared objectives as being in synch with their own best interests.  The result: inspired work." p58

"Inspirational leadership, of course, is the emotional intelligence competence that most strongly undergirds the visionary style." p58

"Transparency, another EI competence, is crucial too ..." p58

"... visionary leaders understand that distributing knowledge is the secret to success; as a result, they share it openly and in large doses." p59 - openness

2. The Art of the One-on-One: The Coaching Style (p54)

"How did she like her job?  Where did she want to go in her career?" p59

"... coaching style: having a deep conversation with an employee that goes beyond short-term concerns and instead explores the person's life, including dreams, life goals, and career hopes." p60

"Even though coaching focuses on personal development rather than on accomplishing tasks, the style generally predicts an outstandingly positive emotional response and better results, almost irrespective of the other styles a leader employees.  By making sure they have personal conversations with employees, coaching leaders establish rapport and trust." p60

"Coaches help people identify unique strengths and weaknesses. ...  They encourage employees o establish long-term development goals, and help them to conceptualize a plan for reaching those goals." p60

"Coaches are also good at delegating, giving employees challenging assignments that stretch them." p61

"... coaching works best with employees who show initiative and want more professional development. ...  When executed poorly, the coaching approach looks more like micromanaging or excessive control of an employee." p61

"When done well, however, coaching boosts not just employee's capabilities but also their self-confidence, helping them function both more autonomously and a higher performance level." p62

"And empathy means leaders listen first before reacting or giving feedback, which allows the interaction to stay on target." p62

"The tacit message is, "I believe in your, I'm investing in you, and I expect your best efforts." p62

3. Relationship Builders: The Affiliative Style (p63)

"Such open sharing of emotions is one hallmark of the affiliative leadership style ..." p64

'They strive to keep people happy, to create harmony, and--as Torres did so well--to build team resonance." p64

"When does the affiliative style make sense?  Its generally positive impact makes it a good all-weather resonance builder, but leaders should it apply it in particular when trying to heighten team harmony, increase morale, improve communications, or repair broken trust in an organization." p64

"The affiliative style represents the collaborative competence in action." p64

"When leaders are being affiliative, they focus on the emotional needs of employees even over work goals.  This focus makes empathy--the ability to sense the feelings, needs, and perspectives of others--another fundamental competence ere." p65

"When being 'nice' isn't enough
"There's an obvious flaw when a leader relies solely on the affiliative approach: Work takes second place to feelings." p65

"Despite its benefits, the affiliative style should not be used alone.  The style's focus on praise can allow poor performance to go uncorrected." p66

"Perhaps that's why many affiliative leaders--including Joe Torres--use this style in close conjunction with the visionary approach.  Visionary leaders state a mission, set standards, and let people know whether their work is furthering the group goals.  Ally that with the caring approach of the affiliative leader, and you have a potent combination." p66

4. Let's Talk It Over: The Democratic Style (p66)

"Although the final outcome was no different than if Sister Mary had immediately closed the school herself, the process she used made all the difference.  By allowing the school's constituent to reach that decision collectively, Sister Mary received none of the backlash that would have accompanied such a move." p67

"In contrast, Sister Mary's democratic style of getting buy-in from her constituents built feelings of trust and respect--and, in a word, commitment." p67

"A democratic approach works best when, like Sister Mary, the leader is uncertain about what direction to take and needs ideas from able employees." p67

"Even if a leader has a strong vision, the democratic style works well to surface ideas about to implement that vision or to generate fresh ideas for executing it." p68

"... have to keep it safe for everyone to speak up." p68

"Of course, the democratic style can have its drawbacks.  One result when a leader overrelies on this approach is exasperating, endless meetings in which ideas are mulled over, consensus remains elusive, and the only visible outcome is to schedule yet more meetings."  p68

"Similarly, consensus building is wrong-headed in times of crisis, when urgent events demand on-the-spot decisions." p68

"The democratic style builds on a triad of emotional intelligence abilities: teamwork and collaboration, conflict management, and influence.  The best communicators are superb listeners--and listening is the key strength of the democratic leader. ...  They're also true collaborators, working as team members rather than top-down leaders.  And they know how to quell conflict and create a sense of harmony." p69

"The EI competence of empathy also plays a role in democratic leadership, especially when the group is strongly diverse." p69

Chapter 5: The Dissonant Styles - Apply with Caution

"Pacesetting makes sense, in particular, during the entrepreneurial phase of a company's life cycle, when growth is all-important.  Any time that group members are all highly competent, motivated, and need little direction, the style can yield brilliant results." p72

5. Pacesetting: Use Sparingly (p72)

"Our data show that, more often than not, pacesetting poison the climate." p73

"... continued high pressure can be debilitating." p73

"... classic symptoms of the Peter Principle, promoted beyond his competence." p75

6. Do It Because I Say So: Leading by Command (p75)

"... the style undermines a critical tool that all leaders need: the ability to give people the sense that their job fits into a grand, shared mission." p77

"... leaders managing a business crisis such as an urgent turnaround can find the commanding style particularly effective--especially at first--to unfreeze useless business habits and shock people into new ways of doing things." p787

"But his strong tactics worked because he attacked the old culture--not the people.  In fact, he made it clear that he valued their talents and abilities; it was their way  of doing things that he felt needed to change dramatically." p79

"Such an effective execution of the commanding style draws on three emotional intelligence competencies: influence, achievement, and initiative.  And, as with the pacesetting style, self-awareness, emotional self-control, and empathy are crucial to keep the commanding style from going off track." p79

"The most successful CEOs spent more time coaching their senior executives, developing them as collaborators, cultivating personal relationships with them.  Of the abilities conspicuously absent in the SOB-style leader, of course, high on the list are empathy, artful collaboration, and caring about developing the best in people." p82

"The number one reason that people cite for quitting is dissatisfaction with the boss." p83

"... what determines how long employees stay--and how productive they are--is the quality of their relationship with their immediate boss." p83

"Having a larger repertoire of emotional intelligence strengths can make a leader more effective because if means that leader is flexible enough to handle the wide-ranging demands of running an organization." p84

Part Two: Making Leaders

Chapter 6: Becoming a Resonant Leader

"It is fed by the natural instinct to please the boss, resulting in a widespread tendency to give positive feedback and withhold the negative whenever information flows upward." p93

"While most people tend to overestimate their own abilities to some extent, it's the very poorest performers who exaggerate their abilities the most." p94

"... stories such as Mimken's ... demonstrate not only that leaders can be made, but also that emotional intelligence can be learned." p97

"There is a genetic component to emotional intelligence, to be sure, but nurture plays a major role as well." p97

"People learn what they want to learn. ... That may be why one study found that the half-life of knowledge learned in an MBA course was about six weeks." p99

"Great leaders, the research shows, are made as they gradually acquire, in the course of their lives and careers, the competencies that make them so effective.  The competencies can be learned by any leader, at any point." p101

"Anyone who has the will and motivation can get better at leading, once he understands the steps." p101

"The problem is that most training programs for enhancing emotional intelligence abilities, such as leadership, target the neocortex rather than the limbic brain." p102

"The limbic brain, on the other hand, is a much slower learner ..." p103

"Reeducating the emotional brain for leadership learning, therefore, requires a different model from what works for the thinking brain: It needs lots of practice and repetition." p103

"... their brains had shifted toward less activity in the right prefrontal areas (which generate distressing emotions) and more in the left--the brain's center for upbeat, optimistic feelings." p103

"Human brains can create new neural tissue as well as new neural connections and pathways in adulthood." p103

"Clearly, then, the act of learning is the key to stimulating new neural connections." p104

"If people lack the previous experiences that allow them to master a given leadership competence, however, it is still not too late--but it requires motivation." p104

"We have to work harder and longer to change a habit than when we first learned it in the first place." p104

"Because the kind of limbic-brain learning we've just described takes more time and practice, it's also much more likely to be retained." p105

"... once they'd learned how to improve the emotional intelligence abilities that make leaders great, they continued developing new strengths on their own." p107

"The crux of leadership development that works is self-directed learning: intentionally developing or strengthening an aspect of who you are or who you want to be, or both." p109

"... need to develop an agenda for improving your abilities, which is the third discovery. A plan of action needs to be constructed that provides detailed guidance in what new things to try each day, building on your strengths and moving you closer to your ideal." p111

"To summarize the process, people who successfully change in sustainable ways cycle through the following stages:

Chapter 7: The Motivation To Change

"To achieve improved business performance, leaders need to be emotionally engaged in their self-development." p119

Personal philosophies:
"pragmatic philosophy" p122
"intellectual philosophy" p123
"humanistic philosophy" p123

" A personal vision is the deepest expression of what we want in life, and that image becomes both a guide for our decisions and a barometer of our sense of satisfaction in life." p125

"Self-delusion is a powerful trap indeed, skewing our attempts to assess ourselves.  Because of it, we give more weight to what confirms our distorted self-image--and ignore what doesn't." p130

CEO disease "... it makes people uncomfortable to give candid feedback on someone else's behavior. ... But when people confuse being nice with providing others with accurate observations about their behavior or style, their feedback is rendered useless." p131

"... we've found that the most emotionally intelligent leaders actively seek out negative feedback as well as positive.  Those leaders understand that they need a full range of information to perform better--whether or not that information feels good to hear." p132

"They are open to critiques, whether of their ideas of their leadership.  They actively seek out negative feedback, valuing the voice of the devil's advocate." p133

"A person's self-awareness--the realization of this balance between what one wants to keep and at one wants to develop--sparks the readiness to change." p134

"... bosses tended to see building bonds, communications, and influence as key abilities of the managers.  Those are the competencies these leaders used in managing upward.  On the other hand, their subordinates saw these managers as particularly strong in developing others, in teamwork and collaboration, and in empathy--competencies used in leading these followers." p136

"The best leaders use the competencies selectively, displaying some to one group, others to another." p136

"Focusing on only the gaps is not only depressing and demotivating, but also results in a lopsided balance sheet." p137

Chapter 8: Metamorphosis

"... the third discovery in the self-directed learning process: developing a practical plan that would lead to the new leadership strengths he sought." p139

"A learning agenda, however,, focuses on the possibility of change that will eventually lead to better performance at work." p141

"... as people mentally prepare for a task, they activate the prefrontal cortex ...  Thus, the greater the prior activation, the better a person does at the task." p142

"Such mental rehearsal becomes particularly important when we're trying to overcome old leadership habits and replace them with a better way of doing things." p142

Goal setting:

"This is where passion and hope--the motivating brain activity inherent in tapping into your dreams--are again so vital to sustainable learning." p147

"One size does not fill all when it comes to formulating a useful agenda for your future." p148

"Perhaps the greatest mistake that people make hen setting goals is committing themselves to activities that are difficult to do in their current lives and work style.  Your action plan needs to fit into the current structure and rhythm of your life." p148

"Learning plans that lay out concrete, practical steps yield the most powerful improvement." p149

"... integrated her learning into each day, using her work setting as a laboratory for strengthening her leadership skills." p149

"Research has shown that people actually learn best when they use modes that suit them.  The Learning Style Inventory, developed by David Kolb when he was at MIT ..."

Summary of the 'discoveries' so far:

"You have compared your ideal vision with the reality of your style and behavior, and you've used that to identify your strengths and gaps.  Then, with that profile in mind, you've targeted specific leadership abilities in a learning plan, setting a practical course to strengthen them." P152


Part Three: Building Emotionally Intelligent Organizations

Chapter 9: The Emotional Reality of Teams

Chapter 10: Reality and the Ideal Vision

Chapter 11: Creating Sustainable Change

Appendix B

Emotional Intelligence - Leadership Competencies


Return to 4(c) Problem-solving and decision-making - Bibliography

Created: Sunday, February 20, 2000 05:43 PM
Last Modified: Thursday, June 29, 2006 4:41 PM