Today’s Book of the Day is Primal Leadership, Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence written by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee in 2016 and published by Harvard Business Review Press.

Daniel Goleman is a world-famous writer, psychologist, and science journalist, author of many publications and books about Emotional Intelligence, a term he immensely contributed to gain popularity since 1995. He earned his Ph.D. in psychology at Harvard. He was a science reporter for the New York Times, was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and received the American Psychological Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his media writing.

Richard Boyatzis is a Professor in the Department of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at Case Western Reserve University. He earned his BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and an MS and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard University. Using his Intentional Change Theory (ICT), he studies sustained, desired change at all levels of human endeavor from individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and countries.

Annie McKee is Annie McKee is co-founder of the Teleos Leadership Institute and teaches at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee

I have chosen this book because it’s the cornerstone of all the amazing job done about emotional intelligence in the workplace and, specifically, in leading a business or a team. It’s the second time I read this book, the first one was in 2016 when this updated edition was published.

Before starting my review I must confess that Daniel Goleman is one of my favorite authors. His work has had a huge impact on both my personal life and my professional career.

This is the book that established the concept of emotional intelligence in business environments, demonstrating that it represents a necessary skill for leaders.

Primal Leadership is a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their leadership skills, whatever the dimension of the team they lead. The authors dive deep into the exceptional importance of emotional intelligence in business, also providing concrete examples and practical tips for how to develop these skills.

Having worked within many different organizations, businesses, startups, and even governments, I encountered any possible sort of complexity, from extremely hierarchic environments to flat ones, from managing and leading hundreds of people to supporting the founders of small businesses.

Emotional intelligence is the skill. It is not a soft skill, a people skill, or a desirable skill. It is what allows a person to live, and work, with other people by understanding those around you and being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses. This builds meaningful relationships and creates resourceful networks made up of trust and respect.

When we are able to use our EI, we can create environments where there is a deep interest in fostering and nurturing everyone’s true ability and character, thus promoting a healthier relationship and a better workplace.

The book covers six key leadership styles and how they can be used to create a positive and productive work environment. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, self-awareness, and the ability to manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

The six styles are:

  • Authoritative (or Visionary)
  • Coaching
  • Affiliative
  • Democratic
  • Pacesetting
  • Coercive (or Commanding)

Each style has a different effect on the emotions of the people that one leads. All these leadership styles could (and sometimes should) be used in a business environment when they are most appropriate. Of course, the pacesetting and coercive leadership styles should be used rarely, in specific circumstances, and for a short time, while the other four, so visionary, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles can be used regularly, on almost every project or situation, and for a longer time.

Goleman and Boyatzis argue that the most effective leaders are those who are able to understand and connect with their team members on an emotional level, and they offer a wealth of insights and strategies for doing so.

In conclusion, “Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their leadership skills.

The authors offer a compelling case for the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and provide a wealth of insights and strategies for developing these skills.
Whether you are a manager, executive, or aspiring leader, this book is sure to offer valuable insights and inspiration for how to be more effective in what you do.


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