September 16, 2002, Category: Book Reviews

Primal Leadership

PrimalI want to work for an organization which follows the ideals of this book…cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork! A company where people walk around with a spark in their soul, not just dollar signs over their eyeballs. We don’t have to focus our eyes, efforts, and attention entirely on driving to reach a profit. We can be kind, conscientious, and empathetic individuals yet still realize financial success.The work environment has been changing over the past years. Organizations are realizing that it pays to encourage your employees to be more than drones. Employees should be human, capable of feeling and emotion. But there are still too many corporations out there who prefer workers to be nothing more than a robotic machine whose sole purpose is to drive profits.

On one level, it can sound tempting to a manager to have an employee who eats and breaths for the company’s bottom line. As this book illustrates, there are major drawbacks to having employees with this mindset. Although I can state numerous reasons (and I hope you can too), a critical one is that a robot cannot empathize with co-workers or customers. Empathy, it turns out, may be the most critical skill of leaders and managers.

When financial success is alone as the top priority, people (and I use that term loosely) have tunnel vision. When we make hard-nosed, business savvy, money-hungry workers we destroy the human being inside. Is this the kind of person you want for a boss, neighbor, friend, spouse, parent, or child? Now before you answer, think about it. We all seem to make choices every day that suggest that perhaps we’d rather have the lunatic with the cash than the human with a soul.

This book discusses why a company is is actually better off financially by addressing these issues. The social and environmental issues are all just a nice side benefit. It was cool to read examples of many CEO’s and upper management teams who are participating in programs to enhance emotional intelligence in the workplace. Imagine the leader of a large million dollar organization being told to volunteer at a local shelter to learn empathy (as part of a management training program) and then actually doing it! Well, it’s happening, and it’s damn cool. It’s exciting what The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations is doing.

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