Literary Analysis Essay on Leadership that Gets Results by Daniel Goleman

7 pages
1876 words
George Washington University
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Literature review
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Leadership refers to the art of leading or guiding a group of people in an organization. It is a widely researched area as it is the cornerstone of an organization, and determines the success in achieving the set goals and objectives. Literature works about leadership have identified different traits, styles, behaviors, charisma, and intelligence of leaders, among other aspects. Additionally, various theories of leadership have been brought forward and their appropriateness in different contexts. Accordingly, several authors in the business field have taken up the challenge and written books that explain various aspects of leadership. This paper analyzes the work of Daniel Goleman in his book, Leadership that Gets Results. The author is a psychologist by profession and with an interest in leadership and management.

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The Main Subject of the Book

The primary subject of the book under review is how to make leaders more effective in their areas of jurisdiction by identifying the best styles in their particular situations. As part of the introduction, the author indicates that most managers usually take the style of leadership as a matter of personality rather than strategy. He also outlines competencies such as self-regulation, social skills, empathy, motivation, and self-awareness as critical in running an organization efficiently. Leaders should identify styles that are best suited for the particular firms they are working for, and not that which is best for their temperament. To illustrate these ideas, the book identifies the six styles of leadership that can be used to run a firm. Good leaders use the key aspects of emotional intelligence in each of the styles in various combinations to achieve the objectives. Additionally, the author indicates that to produce the best leadership, it dictates that the responsible leaders be in the practice of several styles according to the situation at hand.

Goleman attempts to further explain the subject of his literary work by arguing that there is no conclusive information on how leaders should behave to produce the best performance. It is for this reason that experts in leadership have found a lucrative career of educating and coaching business leaders to achieve strategic, organizational, and financial success. Also, until recently, there has been no quantitative research study identifying a particular leadership style or behavior that leads to improved performance. Therefore, these experts offer their advice by their personal instincts, experiences, and conclusions. Such kind of information, however, could not be helpful in some circumstances.

Leadership That Gets Results by Daniel Goleman: Summary

In this book, the writer identifies a research study carried out recently by Hay/Mcber, a consulting firm. The study uses a random sample of three thousand and eight hundred people gotten from a database of more than twenty thousand executives across the world in an attempt to elaborate on effective leadership. The result was the identification of six different styles of leadership drawn from the various aspects of emotional intelligence. Each of these styles, if applied individually, has different effects on the working atmosphere of the organization, and in turn their financial performance. Additionally, the research found out that best leaders, in the context of these styles, combine several of them at particular instances depending on emerging situations. The writer illustrates this art by using the analogy of a pro-golfer who carries different clubs in his golf bag and selects one according to the shot demands. Although he is required to ponder over his choice of the club, in most cases, it is automatic depending on the spot in which the golf ball lies. The player considers the challenge ahead and accordingly selects the best club to work on. Likewise, a good leader applies the different types of identified leadership styles depending on what the situation calls for.

Before the writer covers the leadership styles in detail, he explains the aspects of emotional intelligence on which they are based. For instance, self-awareness, which could be emotional, accurate, or self-confidence refers to the ability to evaluate emotions, strength, weaknesses, and a positive sense of worth and their effect on performance. On the other hand, self-management entails self-control, adaptability, initiative, achievement orientation, conscientiousness, and trustworthiness. It refers to the ability to control one's impulses and disruptive emotions and to display integrity and honesty consistently. Also, it is the virtue responsible for managing oneself and their responsibilities, adjusting to emerging situations and overcoming challenges, and the drive to utilize opportunities and maintain standard excellence. Social awareness, another aspect of emotional intelligence, encompasses empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation. Empathy refers to the ability to sense the emotions of other people, understand their perspective, and accordingly consider their concerns. Organizational awareness is the capacity to build corporate networks and sail through politics while service orientation is the drive to meet the demands of the clients.

The writer goes ahead to elaborate on the social skills that are parcel and part of the given leadership styles. It incorporates visionary leadership which enables leaders to take charge of the organization and their goals to be a source of inspiration to the followers. The leaders also need to have an influence by wielding persuasive tactics to the employees. Other key social skills include developing other people through effective guidance and displaying excellent communication skills by listening and sending messages that are clear and convincing. The competencies also include leaders being catalysts of change by initiating new ideas, building bonds among the stakeholders, effective conflict management skills, and promotion of teamwork and collaboration between various teams. The author explains these aspects to enable readers to have a better understanding as to why a leadership that gets results is based on a variety of social competencies. It is from these that the leadership styles, to be explained later, are derived.

Another aspect of leadership that gets results is the need to evaluate the impact of a leader and their skills. In the recent past, there has not been any research study linking the aspects mentioned above of emotional intelligence to results in business. Daniel identifies the contribution of the late David McClelland, a renowned psychologist. He revealed from his studies that leaders exhibiting the six competencies of emotional intelligence were far much better than those who didn't. To prove his hypotheses, he observed the performance of managers for various departments in international food and beverage firm. The results were that of the leaders with a range of these competencies, about eighty-seven percent of them were in the top three categories of receiving bonuses based on how they had performed. Additionally, their departments overachieved their annual revenue targets by up to twenty percent. On the other hand, the executives who did not display emotional intelligence skills rarely received accolades for good performance, and in most cases, they under-achieved their targets by up to twenty percent.

The book explains that further research was set to get into more details on the relationship between emotional intelligence competencies and leadership, and the influence on performance and working climate. Also, the research aimed to identify the particular emotional intelligence skill that drives each of the six styles of leadership. In effect, it was found out all the styles of leadership have a measurable impact on the climate of the organization. In this case, climate refers to the factors that have an influence on the working environment of an organization. They include flexibility, commitment to a common purpose, sense of responsibility, the level of standards set, sense of accuracy in performing duties, and clarity on the company's values and mission. Further, there was a direct correlation between the organization's climate and the financial returns, profitability, and growth in revenues. A positive change in the climate, brought about by the use of these styles, led to a better financial outcome when compared to others. However, the author notes that although not only the climate of the organization affects the revenue of business but also the economic conditions, it contributes by up to thirty percent.

Six Styles of Leadership From Goleman’s Leadership That Gets Results

The author goes further to explain the objectives of his literary work by analyzing the leadership styles in detail. The scholars have identified six styles, but only four of them bring a positive change to an organization. The author also explains the instances in which this style could be used either in isolation or a combination.

The coercive leadership style involves reigning on terror on other employees by giving out orders that have to be executed, even if they are unpopular. Goleman indicates that it is best suited for organizations that are in crisis and need revival. To illustrate its use, he gives an example of a computer company whose revenues and sales were falling while it was losing its value rapidly. A new manager with a history of efficient turn-around was brought in by the board. He came in and went on to sell or close down some departments, laid off some employees, and gave strict orders to salvage the company. The CEO was so demeaning to other executives, bullied junior employees, and had his orders executed without questioning. In a few months, there was restoration, at least in the short term. However, the board also fired him after the company stabilized. This style has a negative effect on the climate of the organization. Particularly, the hardest hit component is flexibility as the stakeholders are not allowed to contribute to decision making. Additionally, this kind of style erodes the pride of high performance among the employees, yet it is a source of motivation to workers. However, despite the damaging effects, it is applicable to businesses that are falling. According to Goleman, it should be very cautiously only in imperative situations. Additionally, it is very effective in the management of the aftermath of a catastrophe such as a fire or an earthquake. However, the author calls for the cessation of this style as soon as the emergency is solved.

Another type of style, as outlined in Goleman’s book, is the authoritative style. Just like the previous leadership style discussed, the writer starts by giving an instance in which it can be used. It is to emphasize that these styles are only useful in particular contexts. The leadership style involves the leader dictating procedures, policies, setting goals, and being in full control of all activities without giving a chance for the subordinate staff to participate. The example given is a marketing manager for a food distribution company. When their revenue and sales started dwindling, the senior managers would have weekly meetings to attempt to solve the stalemate but the marketing manager felt that it was in vain. He, therefore, brought up the idea of customer satisfaction as the way forward. He was vibrantly enthusiastic and had a clear vision, characteristics of an authoritative leader, which occupied the leadership vacuum that was becoming imminent in this company. Additionally, his idea was incorporated into the company’s mission statement, as well as in the strategic plan. He also ensured that it was well articulated and made the local managers aware that it was up to them to come up with ways of improving their customer services. The company was able to re-establish itself and even grew more.

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