Summary of the content
The book ‘Primal leadership’ is written to portray how emotional leaders can use their strategies to increase productivity of their employees rather than autocratic and dictatorship leadership. It depicts the manner in which successful leaders respond on emotional grounds to the desires of their employees, while at the same time it shows how dissonant leaders can be disadvantaged in propelling the success of a company.
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The authors of the book go on to explain how it can be very difficult to cope with a miserable leader, and at the same time explains how it can be easy for an emotional intelligent leader to come out of problems.
According to Goleman, D., etal, “dissonant leaders lack either one of the domains of emotional intelligence; social or personal domain” (p.14). In order to come out of this crisis the authors propose that, “dissonant leaders can improve their personal competence through self awareness and self management, while they can improve their social competence through social awareness and relationship management.”
The theme of the book is to educate leaders to use flexible leadership skills that are intended to motivate employees using approachable skills that include training, democracy and involvement.
The book has been structured in three sections that present the processes of developing primal leadership in the first part, then the process of making a leader in section two and the final part talks about building an emotionally intelligent environment in an organization. In the first chapter, subjective scenarios and theories of leadership have been discussed.
The second part discusses the process of making leaders by processes that start with self assessment and the desire for self learning. Goleman, D., etal, describe three steps through which primal leadership can be achieved that include, “realizing their bad habits, using better techniques and rehearsing for any opportunities that come their way”.
This implies that, “True leaders are made and not born.” The last chapter is a discussion of emotionally intelligent organizations. They describe the difference in leadership in organizations headed by dissonant leaders and emotionally intelligent leaders.
Why the content of the book is important for leaders
This is an important book for leaders though the facts discussed have not yet been practically proven to work in an organization. It educates leaders to use emotional approaches when dealing with their subjects. By reading this book, the reader would be able to distinguish between tried and right management, benefits of motivation in an organization and leadership theories in a different perspective.
For instance, the book states that leadership starts with a vision that enables one to have shared goals and those leaders should provide coaching in a democratic manner. Dominant leaders can learn from the 360 feedback model and rehearsal of necessary behaviors needed for different opportunities.
The book states that the past leaders who were successful earned it because they were emotionally attached to their employees. This is an approach that current leaders should use to understand their employees. Managers will learn to drive their emotions positively so as to satisfy the desires of every person in the organization.
They also get to understand that if they use their emotions negatively, they would be exerting dissonance thereby suppressing emotional basis that allow people to excel. Furthermore, managers would learn that practicing primal leadership drive the emotions of employees in the right direction.
According the Authors, “Affective Events Theory provides a conceptual basis for understanding emotions at work. It proposes that effective events create moods or emotions that mediate job attitudes and behaviors.” This theory helps leaders to understand the importance of reading moods of employees so that they can predict behaviors of employees.
Important emotional component of leadership
The authors of the book propose that the following aspects ought to be integrated so as to have a good leader; leading from the heart, feelings and thought. Leaders need to be intelligent so as to handle tasks and shortcomings in the job.
But, being intelligent alone is not enough for a leader; he or she should be able to motivate, counsel, respond and listen. The manner in which we act is dependent on the design of the brain and can be related as follows.
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‘Our brains are like an open loop.’ Our interactions with other people enable us develop emotional stability. In the open loop system, signals from an individual can trigger hormonal reactions and immunity of another person. This implies that other people can change our emotions. The continuous interaction of open loops among members of a group brings on experiences of several people.
Influence of negative emotions makes people to be disrupted in the work place drawing away attention from work. Positive emotions on the other side enable people to be motivated and work to achieve maximum work output. A good feeling is like a lubricant to the brain that makes it understand complex information.
In a case study of sixty two chief executives, it was found out that a positive mood of the management team led to cooperation and team playing which translated to better results. A company that is led by leaders with negative moods performed poorly.
Importance of reading emotions
The definitions of dissonance in music imply a non rhythmic or harsh sound. One characteristic of dissonant leadership is that it produces employees who are emotionally unstable. They often abuse employees and use manipulative techniques even though they are not aware they are doing it. This behavior is destructive to organizations because it would lead to failure in accomplishing their mission.
This is opposite with resonant leaders who are attached to their people’s feelings and drive them in a positive way. According to the authors, resonance is acquired naturally by intelligent leaders. Their emotional being is felt by the people they lead. A good example is when something bad happens that people are not happy about; these leaders would express emotions for the group.
People would be left with a feeling that they are taken care for and understood. People in the organization feel some comfort in their minds, exchange ideas, make collective decisions and implement actions promptly. This connection in emotional way makes more sense as it makes people work for a common goal hence, success of an organization.
Dimensions of emotional intelligence
The authors of the book describe four domains of emotional intelligence and eighteen competencies that are unique with them. Although they propose that leaders should possess these competencies for primal leadership, an outstanding leader does not have all of them.
The first domain is self awareness. Under this domain, the competence of emotional self evaluation is addressed. This is where an individual evaluates himself and adjusts his behaviors to make sensible decisions.
Other competencies under this domain are self confidence and precise self evaluation. Self management is another domain which comprise the following competencies; flexibility, emotions personal control, transparency and being optimistic. The other domains proposed by the authors are social awareness and relationship management.
The best performing leaders act according to some distinct leadership styles. The leadership styles proposed in the book include the following: Visionary leadership, where a leader is to tell a group where they are going, but not how they would get there. Leaders should give people an opportunity to propose means by which they can achieve their goals.
Coaching is another style leaders should adopt. Coaching is the art of teaching or training people in new areas. Through coaching people can understand their weaknesses and strengths and it helps people improve their career expectations. Leaders can also adopt a democratic style of leadership to be successful. In this type of leadership, leaders are ready to listen and involve their subjects in decision making.
Leadership by affiliation is another style through which leaders use friendly interactions to promote harmony in the work place. In addition pacesetting leadership demands that the leader sets excellent examples to be followed by employees.
This style of leadership can only be applied in places that they can suit and not all situations. Finally, commanding as a style of leadership demands that the subjects obey commands from the leader.
Developing emotionally intelligent leaders
The authors of the book argue that, the motive to learn depends on individuals’ brain. They add that for one to adopt good leadership skills, has to practice and repeat continuously good leadership traits. This is because neurons that are used become used to them and become stronger with time. For development of emotional leadership, two approaches are proposed in the book.
First, is self directed learning in which an individual is to nurture the behavior that they have or desire to be, which requires that one to identify who he are before proceeding. The main theme of self directional learning is to use change required for emotionally intelligent leaders.
Motivation to change
Change begins when one discovers who they are. By connecting with your own desires about life guides an individual to know who they are in life. If you were to imagine what you would want to be in twenty years from now and list your strategies for accomplishing it, you would find guiding principles for your life.
By asking yourself what you want to become and accomplish before you die will help you explore new opportunities in life. Look at the ideal person that you desire to be then compare it with your real life.
After a close examination of the later, create a practical plan that will help you acquire leadership skills. After planning, implement your strategies and seek support from trustworthy relationships. People are very helpful for leadership development.
Building emotionally intelligence in organizations
As discussed above, change in a leader is necessary, but for the whole organization too. There is need to initiate parallel transformations in organizations that people work. In cases where there is no harmony, groups of people start changing when they realize their nature of work. They have to understand each other’s individual differences then define their vision.
The book states that group decision making plays an important role in the success of an organization. When leaders ignore decisions of groups, they do it at a great risk. Group intelligence therefore displays the traits of emotional intelligence in an organization.
Goleman, D., etal, (2002) Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Harvard: Harvard Business School.