Daniel Goleman is a psychologist and writer on emotional intelligence. His most recent book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence (2011), collects articles from theHarvard Business Review and key excerpts from his books. AMA interviewed him, ahead of a webcast on 30 November.
I’m halfway around the world, in Brisbane, Australia, where, yesterday, I finished an intense two-day strategy session for the top 50 managers of a company determined to take over the world. Maybe not your world, but the world of installing large AC systems.
The firing of Joe Paterno as coach of Penn State has dominated the news this week. A legendary coach with the most wins in the history of major college football, Joe was dismissed for not doing more to stop the alleged sexual abuse of children by former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.
The news came as a shock, because in many ways Joe was considered an outstanding human being. Not only had he coached at Penn State for 61 years, he’d also donated more than $3 million to the university and helped raise more than $13 million for its library.
The world’s second oldest profession must be Change Management Guru.
Change advisors have existed for millennia. Pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus observed, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.” A century later, Diogenes commanded, “Bury me on my face because in a little while everything will be turned upside down.” In the 16th century Machiavelli wrote, “It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out nor more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to handle than to initiate a new order of things.” Eight or more of Aesop’s fables were construed as advice on dealing with change. And in the past four decades alone, thousands of books onchange and management have been published.
Still, with all of the advice to choose from, more than two out of three organizational change efforts fail. Why?
Roman philosopher, Seneca, wrote “Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” Going to work is a high-pressure business! Between the state of economic challenges, your personal issues and family concerns—it’s easy to overlook the value of a forgotten virtue called courage (and its intrinsic value). Most people never even think of this “big” word much less stake it in their daily lives. Every time I present to a group, regardless of size, no one ever raises their hand when I ask, “Did you naturally hear the word being used when you were growing up?” No wonder courageous leadership is a confusing concept.
This piece is the fourth installment in a six-part series on leadership character by Col. Eric Kail.
Perhaps the most pervasive axiom on the topic of leadership is thatleadership is all about people. This simple statement reveals two critical principles of effective leadership. First, leadership is more than accomplishing a goal or mission. Second, seeing as the word “people” is plural, the focus of who benefits from leadership should be on the followers, not the leader.
Quaint as it may sound, successful executives often turn to the insights they gleaned from grandparents to navigate today's business world.
FORTUNE -- Some people turn to a mentor or maybe even a boss for management insights. Others look to Peter Drucker's books for pearls of business wisdom. Atlanta-area attorney A. Wayne Gill counts on the wisdom of his grandmother.