Primal Leadership Book Review

Here’s a detailed review of the book “Primal Leadership: Realising the Power of Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. This book was first published in 2002 and focuses on the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and how it can significantly impact organizational performance and employee well-being. Here’s a breakdown of the book:


“Primal Leadership” emphasizes the role of emotional intelligence (EI) in effective leadership. The authors argue that successful leaders not only possess high intellectual intelligence (IQ) but also have developed emotional intelligence, which involves understanding and managing one’s emotions and the emotions of others.


The book is divided into several sections, starting with an introduction that sets the stage for the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership. The authors then delve into different aspects of EI and its impact on leadership effectiveness, organizational climate, and overall performance. It also provides practical guidance on how to develop and enhance EI skills.

The Six Leadership Styles

The authors introduce six distinct leadership styles that leaders can use depending on the situation and the emotional needs of their team members. These styles are:

  • Visionary: Inspiring and mobilizing the team towards a shared vision.
  • Coaching: Fostering individual development and growth in team members.
  • Affiliative: Building strong emotional bonds and harmony among team members.
  • Democratic: Encouraging participative decision-making and valuing team member input.
  • Commanding: Providing clear direction and expecting immediate compliance.
  • Pacesetting: Leading by example and setting high-performance standards.

Impact of Emotional Intelligence

The book presents compelling research on the impact of emotional intelligence on leadership and organizations. It highlights that leaders with higher EI tend to have more engaged and productive teams, lower employee turnover, and higher overall performance. Conversely, leaders with poor emotional intelligence can negatively affect team morale and organizational outcomes.

Emotional Intelligence Framework

The authors introduce a practical model for understanding and developing emotional intelligence in leadership. It consists of four key domains:

  • Self-awareness: Understanding one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, and their impact on others.
  • Self-management: Effectively managing one’s emotions and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Social awareness: Being attuned to the emotions of others and empathizing with their feelings and perspectives.

Relationship management

Building and maintaining positive relationships, resolving conflicts, and influencing others positively.

Leadership Resonance

The concept of “leadership resonance” is central to the book. Resonant leaders create positive emotional climates, energize their teams, and inspire them to perform at their best. In contrast, “dissonant” leaders create negative emotions and dampen team enthusiasm and productivity.

Developing Emotional Intelligence

The authors provide practical advice and exercises to help leaders develop their emotional intelligence. They emphasize the importance of self-awareness and self-management as foundational skills for improving leadership capabilities.


While “Primal Leadership” has received widespread acclaim for its insights into emotional intelligence and leadership, some critics argue that the book lacks concrete, actionable steps for developing emotional intelligence. The emphasis on the importance of emotional intelligence may also overshadow other crucial aspects of leadership, such as strategic thinking and decision-making.

Target Audience

This book is primarily targeted at leaders, managers, and anyone aspiring to improve their leadership skills. It is also relevant for HR professionals and organizational development practitioners interested in understanding the impact of emotional intelligence on workplace dynamics.

In conclusion, “Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence” is a well-researched and thought-provoking book that highlights the significance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership. It provides valuable insights into the impact of emotions on organizational performance and offers practical advice for leaders looking to develop their emotional intelligence skills. However, readers might find it beneficial to supplement this book with other leadership resources to gain a more comprehensive understanding of leadership development.

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Shush Arya
Shush Arya

Shush is a top International expert in Network Marketing. Over his 16 plus years in the industry his achievements include being nominated in 2012 as UK DSA (Direct Selling Association) Direct Seller of the Year, joint no.1 International income earner with his current company 2011 till current, fastest International Diamond distributor for VM Direct (4 months) in 2007 and no.2 income earner in Tiscali Network 2005 til 2009. Shush has helped thousands of people all over the world create success in the the home business industry.

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