Primal Leadership

Acting As A Leader In A Way That Primes Positive Emotions In People


What Is Primal Leadership?

Primal leadership is the business application of "Emotional Intelligence".

It is the capacity of the leader to rouse and focus strong positive emotions in their followers and focus that energy on a specific direction.

A modern example of this was the speech given by Col. Tim Collins' speech to 1 Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment, on 19 March 2003, immediately prior to the invasion of Iraq.


This is the emotional dimension of leadership. It is about the leader’s ability to frame and deliver a message that resonates with their followers’ emotional reality and sense of purpose, and it motivates them to take action in a specific direction.

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKee in 2002, introduced the concept in a book of that name which was updated in 2013: Primal Leadership, With a New Preface by the Authors: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence






The Importance Of Primal Leadership

In an article in the Dec 2001 edition of the Harvard Business Review, Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance Daniel Goleman introduces the concept and outlines research that he and his team conducted in a study of 3,871 executives and their direct reports and it shows that HOW a leader leads in terms of the emotional resonance they do or don’t generate matters for 2 reasons:

(1) A big part of the culture and “general feel” or “emotional tone” of what it is like to work in an organisation is determined to a very large extent by the leader.

(2) The leader’s style determines about 70% of the emotional climate which in turns drives 20-30% of business performance.

In the current climate of uncertainty people need leadership that offers a measure of re-assurance and certainty of conviction about the direction in which they are being led.

This is important because people cannot work effectively if they are experiencing emotional turbulence. Their ability to get work done depends on their emotions being under control. A leader has to address those often unconscious and unexpressed fears along the way in order to help people keep them under control.

As Goleman said:

"In the modern organization, this primordial emotional task—though by now largely invisible—remains foremost among the many jobs of leadership: driving the collective emotions in a positive direction and clearing the smog, created by toxic emotions. This task applies to leadership everywhere, from the boardroom to the shop floor."







How The Leaders Emotions Infect The Organisation – The Importance Of Resonance

The central finding of EI research is that emotions are essentially contagious, and thus a leader's attitude and energy can "infect" a workplace either for better or for worse

With this in mind the authors stress the importance of resonance, which is the ability of leaders to perceive and influence the flow of emotions (including motivational states) between themselves and others they work with.

One of the keys to achieving resonance is empathic listening.
[See “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey]


Emotions are contagious - from the top down

In an interview [with Stephen Bernhut in "Leaders Edge", Ivey Business Journal May/June 2002] Daniel Goleman said:

"First, you have to reach within yourself to find out your own truth, because you can’t be resonant if you’re clueless, if you’re pretending, or if you’re just trying to manipulate people.

You have to speak from your heart, and you have to do it in a way that speaks to other people’s hearts. So it takes authenticity. And if you can articulate a positive goal, that is, stay optimistic, enthusiastic and motivated in delivering that message, then what you’re doing is spreading that message and those moods and predisposition to the people you’re talking to.



    "Emotions are contagious, and they are most contagious from the top down, from leader to followers."



Self awareness and the 4 building blocks of primal leadership

The 4 building blocks of primal leadership are:

(1) Self-awareness

(2) Self-mastery [or self-management of emotion]

(3) Empathy or social awareness

(4) Relationship management






How Does Primal Leadership Align With The Themes Of This Site?

Here are a number of touch points








Organisational Change -Return to: Define Leadership

Personal Change - Return to: Managing Personal Change








Chinese (Traditional)EnglishFrenchGermanItalianRussianSpanishVietnamese


Custom Site Search


3 Keys Solutions

Action -> Think = Change


LATEST ARTICLES

  1. Marcus Aurelius - You Have Power Over Your Mind, Not Outside Events

    Feb 26, 21 08:29 AM

    Trained in Stoic philosophy, Marcus Aurelius dedicated time almost every night to practicing a series of Stoic spiritual exercise which are reminders intended to help him train himself to humble, pati…

    Read More

  2. The Stoics - Focus On Things You Can Control, Ignore The Rest

    Feb 24, 21 12:06 PM

    Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are in your control. And some things are not.

    Read More

  3. Naval Ravikant: Investor - Philosopher

    Feb 22, 21 02:56 PM

    Angel Investor / Practical Philospher. When self-improvement fails work on finding the truth. Reference "The Almanac Of Naval Ravikant". Incomparable wisdom and insights on life the universe and nearl…

    Read More

  4. Massimo Pigliucci - How To Be A Stoic

    Feb 21, 21 05:14 AM

    My interest in Massimo Pigliucci is as a philosopher specifically as an pro-active exponent of Stoicism. He poses this question: "Are you making a difference in your own and other people’s lives? If t…

    Read More

  5. Julia Galef - Applied Rationality

    Feb 21, 21 05:10 AM

    Julia Galef is a writer and public speaker on the topics of rationality, science, technology, and design. Applied rationality is her speciality and she asks the question: “Do you have the scout mindse…

    Read More

  6. Stanford Prison Experiment - A Masterclass In Self Deception

    Feb 20, 21 06:19 AM

    "The military told me they used the SPE tapes to train people not to behave like our guards. I used to quote that as a good outcome of the research. Now I know they also used it to train interrogators…

    Read More

  7. Philip Zimbardo - How Good People Are Transformed into Perpetrators Of Evil

    Feb 18, 21 06:30 AM

    Philip Zimbardo has contributed greatly to our understanding of the situationist perspective as to why people can change and choose to exercise bad/evil behaviour in response to the pressures and dema…

    Read More

  8. Deep Work - Producing At Your Peak Level With Full Concentration

    Feb 05, 21 08:06 AM

    Reframing the discipline of applied concentration for the millenial digitally distracted age

    Summary - DEEP WORK by Cal Newport



    Read More

  9. Elon Musk - “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”

    Feb 04, 21 12:00 AM

    SpaceX launched the Starship SN9 prototype to an altitude of about 10 kilometers on its first test flight last Monday night. It was destroyed during its landing attempt.

    We have an incredibly skewed vi…

    Read More

  10. Elon Musk: "I Think It Is Possible For Ordinary People To Choose To Be Extraordinary"

    Feb 03, 21 09:49 AM

    Elon Musk is an extraordinary man. He has founded, co-founded, and leads a cross-section of the world's most technically innovative companies. One of the most interesting things about Elon Musk is the…

    Read More




Support This Site





Email Address:

Expert Author Alerts