HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing People (with featured article "Leadership That Gets Results," by Daniel Goleman). Daniel Goleman

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Managing People (with featured article

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assume it should never be applied. Our research, however, uncovered a few occasions when it worked masterfully. Take the case of a division president who was brought in to change the direction of a food company that was losing money. His first act was to have the executive conference room demolished. To him, the room—with its long marble table that looked like “the deck of the Starship Enterprise”—symbolized the tradition-bound formality that was paralyzing the company. The destruction of the room, and the subsequent move to a smaller, more informal setting, sent a message no one could miss, and the division’s culture changed quickly in its wake.

      That said, the coercive style should be used only with extreme caution and in the few situations when it is absolutely imperative, such as during a turnaround or when a hostile takeover is looming. In those cases, the coercive style can break failed business habits and shock people into new ways of working. It is always appropriate during a genuine emergency, like in the aftermath of an earthquake or a fire. And it can work with problem employees with whom all else has failed. But if a leader relies solely on this style or continues to use it once the emergency passes, the long-term impact of his insensitivity to the morale and feelings of those he leads will be ruinous.

       The authoritative style

      Tom was the vice president of marketing at a floundering national restaurant chain that specialized in pizza. Needless to say, the company’s poor performance troubled the senior managers, but they were at a loss for what to do. Every Monday, they met to review recent sales, struggling to come up with fixes. To Tom, the approach didn’t make sense. “We were always trying to figure out why our sales were down last week. We had the whole company looking backward instead of figuring out what we had to do tomorrow.”

      Emotional Intelligence: A Primer

      Emotional intelligence—the ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively—consists of four fundamental capabilities: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and social skill. Each capability, in turn, is composed of specific sets of competencies. Below is a list of the capabilities and their corresponding traits.


      • Emotional self-awareness: the ability to read and understand your emotions as well as recognize their impact on work performance, relationships, and the like.

      • Accurate self-assessment: a realistic evaluation of your strengths and limitations.

      • Self-confidence: a strong and positive sense of self-worth.


      • Self-control: the ability to keep disruptive emotions and impulses under control.

      • Trustworthiness: a consistent display of honesty and integrity.

      • Conscientiousness: the ability to manage yourself and your responsibilities.

      • Adaptability: skill at adjusting to changing situations and overcoming obstacles.

      • Achievement orientation: the drive to meet an internal standard of excellence.

      • Initiative: a readiness to seize opportunities.

       Social Awareness

      • Empathy: skill at sensing other people’s emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking an active interest in their concerns.

      • Organizational awareness: the ability to read the currents of organizational life, build decision networks, and navigate politics.

      • Service orientation: the ability to recognize and meet customers’ needs.

       Social Skill

      • Visionary leadership: the ability to take charge and inspire with a compelling vision.

      • Influence: the ability to wield a range of persuasive tactics.

      • Developing others: the propensity to bolster the abilities of others through feedback and guidance.

      • Communication: skill at listening and at sending clear, convincing, and well-tuned messages.

      • Change catalyst: proficiency in initiating new ideas and leading people in a new direction.

      • Conflict management: the ability to de-escalate disagreements and orchestrate resolutions.

      • Building bonds: proficiency at cultivating and maintaining a web of relationships.

      • Teamwork and collaboration: competence at promoting cooperation and building teams.

      Tom saw an opportunity to change people’s way of thinking at an off-site strategy meeting. There, the conversation began with stale truisms: the company had to drive up shareholder wealth and increase return on assets. Tom believed those concepts didn’t have the power to inspire a restaurant manager to be innovative or to do better than a good-enough job.

      So Tom made a bold move. In the middle of a meeting, he made an impassioned plea for his colleagues to think from the customer’s perspective. Customers want convenience, he said. The company was not in the restaurant business, it was in the business of distributing high-quality, convenient-to-get pizza. That notion—and nothing else—should drive everything the company did.

      Our research investigated how each leadership style affected the six drivers of climate, or working atmosphere. The figures below show the correlation between each leadership style and each aspect of climate. So, for instance, if we look at the climate driver of flexibility, we see that the coercive style has a –.28 correlation while the democratic style has a .28 correlation, equally strong in the opposite direction. Focusing on the authoritative leadership style, we find that it has a .54 correlation with rewards—strongly positive—and a .21 correlation with responsibility—positive, but not as strong. In other words, the style’s correlation with rewards was more than twice that with responsibility.

      According to the data, the authoritative leadership style has the most positive effect on climate, but three others—affiliative, democratic, and coaching—follow close behind. That said, the research indicates that no style should be relied on exclusively, and all have at least short-term uses.

      With his vibrant enthusiasm and clear vision—the hallmarks of the authoritative style—Tom filled a leadership vacuum at the company. Indeed, his concept became the core of the new mission statement. But this conceptual breakthrough was just the beginning. Tom made sure that the mission statement was built into the company’s strategic planning process as the designated driver of growth. And he ensured that the vision was articulated so that local restaurant managers understood they were the key to the company’s success and were free to find new ways to distribute pizza.

      Changes came quickly. Within weeks, many local managers started guaranteeing fast, new delivery times. Even better, they started to act like entrepreneurs, finding ingenious locations to open new branches: kiosks on busy street corners and in bus and train stations, even from carts in airports and hotel lobbies.

      Tom’s success was no fluke. Our research indicates that of the six leadership styles, the authoritative one is most effective, driving up every aspect of climate. Take clarity. The authoritative leader is a visionary; he motivates people by making clear to them how their work fits into a larger vision for the organization. People who work for such leaders understand that what they do matters and why. Authoritative leadership also maximizes commitment to the organization’s goals and strategy. By framing the individual tasks within a grand vision, the authoritative leader defines standards that revolve around that vision. When he gives performance

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