To answer this question I will look at the insights from 3 books. Featuring:

  1. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee
  2. The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
  3. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership

Interesting Ideas

According to the authors emotional intelligence is the key to leadership.

The four domains of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (empathy), and relationship management. For instance self-management involves things like self-control, adaptability, initiative, and optimism.

One of the main jobs of leaders is to generate optimism about the future and cultivate an atmosphere of cooperation and trust.

Leadership is learnable.

Main Idea of Book

Leaders work with emotions and act as an emotional guide. Leaders increase others sense of self determination, heighten positive emotion, and inspire the best in people.

The Truth about Leadership

Interesting Ideas

From the results of tens of thousands of people around the world, the top 4 admired characteristics of leaders are (in order) honest, forward looking, inspiring, and competent. These 4 characteristics are what people look for in leaders.

Data collected from over a million people over the globe shows that people tend to rate their family members as highest in their leader role models.

One thing that I found true was that clarity of values gives you the strength to make tough decisions and to act with determination. Having a strong internal guiding system can guide your decisions.

Leaders are at their best when they 1. Model the Way 2. Inspire a Shared Vision 3. Challenge the Process 4. Enable Others to Act 5. Encourage the Heart

The best leaders make people feel strong and capable.

The primary way leaders build trust is by volunteering information and sharing personal experiences.

Why do people follow leaders? According to the authors, people follow leaders because they elevate people to a higher plane.

The authors wrote in the conclusion that the study of leadership is about challenge and change. This involves things like guiding people through uncertainty, hardship, transition, recovery, new beginnings, and other challenges. It’s also about new possibilities and pursuing opportunities.

In final paragraphs the authors wrote that love is the source of the leader’s courage.

Main Idea of Book

The core of the book shares 10 fundamental basic truths about leadership drawing from three decades of research. The top 3 are that leaders must believe in themselves. The second is that leaders must be credible – people must believe in them. The third is that leaders have to demonstrate strong values.

Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence

Interesting Ideas

When leaders drive emotions in a positive direction it is called resonance.

Four main positive leadership styles include visionary/authoritative, coaching, affiliative, and democratic.

Main Idea of Book

IQ is important but the greatest separating quality of the most effective leaders is emotional intelligence.

Overall Summary

What makes good leaders? Good leaders are emotionally intelligent and inspire the best in others.

Check out The Truth about Leadership: (Amazon link)
Check out Primal Leadership: (Amazon link)
Check out The Power of Emotional Intelligence: (Amazon link)


Goleman, Daniel. Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence. More Than Sound, 2013.

Goleman et al. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2013.

Kouzes, James and Barry Posner. The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010.