Saturday, July 26, 2008

Emotional Intelligence and the Leadership Diamond

In the highly acclaimed book Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman, and his co-authors Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, describe the attributes of great leadership. In chapter one, in the first paragraph they say “Great leadership works through the emotions.”
This bold statement moves the discussion of leadership away from formulas and “how-to” manuals into the realm of the mind, and the human side of the workplace. Goleman says
No matter what leaders set out to do … their success depends on how they do it. Even if they get everything else just right, if leaders fail in this primal task of driving emotions in the right direction, nothing they do will work as well as it could or should.

Goleman and the co-authors go on to show how emotional intelligence (EI) includes elements of self-awareness and self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
As you read Goleman’s thoughts about leadership you discover that ethics and empathy play a huge role in defining great leadership. Words such as emotions, self-worth, transparency, honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, flexibility, initiative, optimism, empathy, understanding, the needs of others, inspiration, and cooperation are used to describe the traits of great leaders.

Those of you who are familiar with the leadership diamond may be seeing the connection between the Ethics point of the Leadership Diamond and the characteristics of great leaders described by Goleman.
Goleman goes on to connect the Ethics and Vision points of the diamond by stating:
Of all the EI competencies… empathy matters most to visionary leadership. The ability to sense how others feel and to understand their perspectives means that a leader can articulate a truly inspirational vision.” (Primal Leadership, p. 59)

For those of you interested in how the human side of the Leadership Diamond works, I encourage you to pick up Goleman’s book, Primal Leadership, and give it a quick read. You will learn that great leadership (part of what creates an opportunity to achieve Greatness as defined by the Leadership Diamond) is a key factor in the success of an organization. Using your emotional intelligence, and being able to get in touch with the human side of the organization is an essential part of achieving "greatness". But, it does not take a Super Hero (male or female) to be a great leader. We all have the ability to bring our emotional intelligence to the forefront, and to create opportunities for our greatness within our organizations.
Goleman’s work is a valuable contribution to those trying to become great leaders, and leaders who can successfully apply the Leadership Diamond in their daily life.