Leadership That Gets Results - Book Review Essay Sample

Published: 2018-04-20
Leadership That Gets Results - Book Review Essay Sample
Essay type:  Book review
Categories:  Leadership analysis Management Literature
Pages: 13
Wordcount: 3375 words
29 min read

The art of leadership by Daniel Goleman

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 one Daniel Goleman in his book, Leadership that Gets Results. The author is a psychologist by profession and with interest in leadership and management.

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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 situation. 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 practice of several styles according to the situation at hand.

Goleman attempts to further explain the subject of his literature 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.

Six styles of leadership by Goleman book

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 an 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 select 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 details, he explains the aspects of emotional intelligence in which they are based on. For instance, self-awareness, which could be emotional, accurate, or self-confidence refers to the ability to evaluate emotions, strength and weaknesses, and positive sense 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 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 from.

Social skills of a leader

Another aspect of leadership that get 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 the 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 the 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 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 use of these styles, led to the 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.

The leadership styles analyzing by autor

The author goes further to explain his objectives of his literature work by analyzing the leadership styles in details. 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 styles 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 needs 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 on 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 very cautiously only in imperative situations. Additionally, it is very effective in the management of the aftermath of a catastrophe such as fire or 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 Golemant 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 dictates procedures, policies, setting of goals, and is 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 solving the stalemate but the marketing manager fell 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 companyts 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.

From the given an example, it is clear that authoritative leadership helps in driving up all the aspects of a business climate. For instance, clarity of the company's mission and values was enhanced by making it clear to the workers their roles in achieving the company's objectives. It also increases the commitment by the workers to the goals and strategies of the organization. Further, the leader outlines the standards associated with the company's vision and gives constant feedback on the performance towards achieving the goals. Of importance, he also gives the local managers a chance to devise their methods to achieve the goals of better service delivery. The authoritative leaders usually provide opportunities for innovation, experimentation, and taking risks just to ensure the mission is achieved. Despite its multiple advantages, the style may not be appropriate in cases where the workers are more knowledgeable about some affairs as they may find his ideas obsolete. Also, if the leader goes above board, he may undermine the spirit of team working and become coercive.

The Affiliative leadership style, as explained, is more focused on the emotions of the workers rather than the goals to be achieved. Accordingly, the style is based on making the employees contented, in turn hoping for loyalty to the companyts objectives. This style leads to more communication among workers and gives them a chance to share ideas that maybe helpful to the organization. Given that such a leader is not strict on the mode of operations in the spirit of making employees contented, there is an opportunity for frequent innovations and taking of risks. Further, the leader is keen on giving positive feedback to performing employees and rewarding them. The style motivates the employees to have a sense of belonging to work hard so as not to disappoint their leader. The positive impact of this kind of leadership style makes it ideal for several contexts. Its known benefits, according to Goleman, include building unity, motivating workers, improving communication among team members, and improving trust and honesty. However, despite the benefits associated with the Affiliative style, its focus on having workers in contentment may tolerate mediocrity and encourage poor performance. The leader rarely offers solutions or directions when the organization goes through some challenges. Therefore, Daniel indicates that it should be used with caution, preferably with another style, as its use in entirety may lead to a downfall of the organization.

The Democratic style, also known as participative leadership, involves the leader giving their team members a chance to contribute ideas and making decisions. The said leader spends a lot of time with their followers to get their ideas, and as well build respect, commitment, and trust. This style enhances flexibility and the responsibility to perform by engaging the workers in making critical decisions affecting them. Additionally, Goleman indicates that when the leader listens to the concerns of their juniors, they increase their morale and encourage them to perform better. Additionally, given that they take part in setting objectives for the organizations, the employees become realistic in what is achievable. Like other styles, the writer emphasizes that it is only best applicable in particular instances. For example, when the leader is not certain on the best way to go due to limited knowledge, this approach is ideal. Even when the leader has strong goals for the organization it helps them to execute new ideas. However, the author notes that the method is inapplicable in cases where the employees are not knowledgeable enough to give legitimate ideas. Additionally, it presents a challenge in reaching a consensus because, in most cases, people are convinced of their ideas beyond a reasonable doubt. It would be ideal, like the message consistently passed across in this paper if the style is used in combination with another.

The pacesetting style is whereby the leader sets high standards of performance which he exemplifies by himself. The leader focuses on doing things faster and more efficiently and expects everyone around him to follow suit. He can quickly note the people not performing as per his standards and admonishes them and may even replace them if they don't heed. However good this approach appears, Goleman notes that it is destructive to the aspects of the climate. The employees are overwhelmed by the demands of the leader and are therefore less motivated as there is no flexibility. The problem with this style is that the leaders do not offer clear guidelines on how workers should perform but expects them to take after him or her. Additionally, the workers feel that the leader does not trust them to take their initiative or work in their way, thus reducing responsibility and flexibility. Also, there is no appraisal of the performance of the employees. The commitment of the followers towards the organization's vision dwindles because their efforts appear not to play a role in the bigger picture. This approach, however, may be applied in cases where employees are highly competent and self-motivated. An instance is where the group is made up of professionals who need little coordination or direction. However, like other styles, Goleman warns against its use in entirety.

The last leadership style identified in this book is the coaching style. It involves leaders offering support to the employees to identify their capabilities and integrates them to their career aspirations. They help these workers to come up with long-term goals for development and help them establish a plan to attain them. This kind of leaders usually agree with their workers about their roles in implementing the development plan o the organization while they give instructions and feedback. These leaders encourage delegation of responsibilities even when the employee appears not competent enough because their long-term goal is to have them learn. The writer, however, indicates that of the six styles of leadership, it is the least used. Although it markedly improves the climate and performance in the organization, the competitive economy does not favor this type of leadership. It focuses on improving the person rather than achieving the set goals with the hope of long-term benefits to the organization. It improves flexibility, responsibility, and commitment because employees put more efforts to be equally important to the company. It works best when the workers are aware of the areas in which they experience challenges and look forward to improving. However, it fails in instances where the employees are resistant to change, or the leader is not knowledgeable enough to impact positive change.

Leadership is influence on the climate of an organization

The primary message of this book is to assess how best leaders can use their skills and influence to bring a positive change in the environment. The writer links various leadership styles to aspects of emotional intelligence. According to Goleman, how a leader exerts their influence is a key determinant to the results regarding set goals and objectives. The writer identifies six styles of leadership styles identified from a research study and their influence on the climate of an organization. While all these styles can produce results, the author emphasizes that each of them is applicable in a particular context. It depends on the type of employees in a company and the mission. The writer advice leaders to choose the kind of leadership styles dictated by the circumstances or the happenings in an organization. To illustrate his message, the writer gives examples of each of these approaches and the instances in which they apply. For instance, Coercive style of leadership, although appearing inapplicable, an instance of a company on crisis is given and how the approach salvaged the situation. The leaders, therefore, have a responsibility to assess the situation and adjust their skills to execute the best style of leadership for the situation.

Another consistent message passed across this book is that in many cases, leaders should combine several approaches because using on in entirety may not help the company accomplish its mission. Research studies have indicated that those who use several styles and have the ability to switch from one to another depending on the context produce the best results. For instance, a democratic leader may need to be authoritative from time to time to easily reach a consensus in some cases. Additionally, leaders need to be equipped with knowledge about running organizations so that they remain influential even when seeking opinions from their followers. Therefore, Goleman indicates that leaders should invest in growing their emotional intelligence through commitment and practice. The author, in this book, dispels the belief that a single leadership style would be ideal to run an organization. The numerous examples given along the text serves to show the readers the importance of applying emotional intelligence skills to apply different styles of leadership in an organization. By explaining all the six types of leadership styles, their pros and cons, and their influence on the climate of an organization, the writer highlights the importance of a good leader bearing all of these in mind. In conclusion, leadership is a broad subject that requires various inputs to achieve results.


Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review, 80-90.

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