Ask the Author: Daniel Goleman

“Ask me a question about my new book What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. ” Daniel Goleman

Answered Questions (8)

Sort By:
Loading big
An error occurred while sorting questions for author Daniel Goleman.
Daniel Goleman A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama's Vision for Our World.
Daniel Goleman My next book is a collaboration with Peter Senge. It's called The Triple Focus: A New Approach to Education. We argue for the need to incorporate focus-related skill sets in the classroom to help students navigate a fast-paced world of increasing distraction, and better understand the interconnections between people, ideas, and the planet. The book also offers case studies of model educational programs that include these competencies in their curriculum, and shares best practices for introducing these concepts in schools. The book will be available on August 5 from More Than Sound. You can pre-order The Triple Focus here >
Daniel Goleman Emotional intelligence competencies are learned – and can be improved at any point in life. But first you have to be motivated – ask yourself if you really care. Then you need a well-structured learning situation where, for instance, you have a clear picture of what you want to improve, and can practice specific behaviors that will help you enhance the targeted competence. I recommend working with a coach.

Also, I worked with American Management Association on a course to help people develop emotional intelligence:

Daniel Goleman Saloni, here's the long answer.

I received a scholarship for leadership from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to attend Amherst College, a place I had never seen in faraway New England. In part due to culture shock (and taking advantage of the then-new Amherst Independent Scholar program), I transferred to the University of California at Berkeley for my junior year and part of my senior year, returning to Amherst to graduate. At Berkeley, where I was an anthropology major, I was lucky enough to have several remarkable professors, including a graduate seminar with the brilliant sociologist Erving Goffman on rituals of social interaction. When I returned to Amherst, I wrote my honors paper on mental health in historical, anthropological and social perspectives, graduating magna cum laude—a miracle given my disastrous academic performance there my freshman year.

The Ford Foundation was generous enough to give me a scholarship to Harvard, where I enrolled in the program in clinical psychology in what was then the Department of Social Relations. I was drawn to the idea of studying the human mind from an interdisciplinary perspective; the department included anthropology and sociology together with psychology. My main mentor there was David C. McClelland, best-known for his theory of the drive to achieve. Just at this time McClelland was developing and championing methods for assessing the competencies that distinguished star performers from average—a body of research I was to return to later in my career.

With McClelland’s help and a Harvard pre-doctoral traveling fellowship, I was able to study in India, where my focus was on the ancient systems of psychology and accompanying meditation practices of Asian religions. I had been a meditator since my junior year in Berkeley, and was intrigued by finding theories of the mind and its development that were still in active use after two thousand years or more (and which had never been mentioned in any psychology course I had taken). When I returned to Harvard, my doctoral research was on meditation as an intervention in stress arousal.

I then received a post-doctoral grant from the Social Science Research Council to return to Asia and continue my studies of these ancient psychologies, spending time both in India and Sri Lanka. I wrote what became my first book, now called The Meditative Mind, summarizing my research on meditation.

I returned to Harvard as a visiting lecturer, teaching a course on the psychology of consciousness—a topic of intense interest back then in the 1970s. Because it was so heavily enrolled, the class was moved from a small room to one of the largest lecture halls on campus.

Then, on McClelland’s recommendation, I was offered a job at Psychology Today, then a major magazine, by T. George Harris, the editor. This was an unexpected jog in my career path—I had always thought I would be a college professor like my parents. But writing appealed to me, and at the magazine I went through a tutorial in journalism that was to set the course of the rest of my career.

Recruited by the New York Times to cover psychology and related fields, in 1984 I began a twelve-year sojourn. I learned much about science journalism from my editors and colleagues, a talented crew on the science desk, and the Times offered remarkable access and visibility. But I found that my urge to write about ideas with impact sent me in directions that did not always fit what the Times saw as news. This was especially so with the rich trove of research on emotions and the brain, which I had covered in small bits and pieces over the years for the times. I felt the topic deserved to be a book, and so Emotional Intelligence came to be. To my surprise, the book ended up being hugely successful. I got so many requests to lecture that I had less and less time for writing in the Times. I finally left the paper to devote my efforts to the message of the book.
Daniel Goleman Katie:

Work cultures with low emotional intelligence is evident in any industry. However, EI tends to take a back seat in organizations that value high IQ. But this trend is changing. Look at Google's Search Inside Yourself program. Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s earliest engineers and personal growth pioneer, was instrumental with the launch of SIY - a course to help Google employees develop attention training, self-knowledge and self-mastery, and useful mental habits. Here's an article I wrote on ways to introduce emotional intelligence into organizations that don't yet understand the value to their business.
Daniel Goleman Those sectors, like health care, where personal relations obviously matter, tend to be more attentive to emotional intelligence. But in general it varies greatly company to company across all sectors.

This article might be of interest to you - The Emotional Intelligence Skills Employers Want Now:

Daniel Goleman Thank you for your question. This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Give children regular sessions of focusing time, the mental equivalent of workouts in the gym. Here's one approach that works wonders. I visited a classroom where a teacher organized a daily "breathing buddy" session. Each child lies on the floor, puts a small stuffed animal on their belly, and watches how it rises as they breath in, and falls as they breath out. They count one-two-three on the in breath and out breath. After just a few minutes of the exercise get up feeling calm and focused. For older children, they can use their hand instead of a stuffed animal. I also put together guided audio exercises for parents and teachers to use with kids and teens. Focus for Kids: Enhancing Concentration, Caring and Calm is available from I also have a Focus for Teens CD, too.
Daniel Goleman Cynthia,

Good question. I explore the six leadership styles in my latest compilation What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters. To best answer your question, I’ll provide a quick overview of each style.

AUTHORITATIVE - Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision. By framing the individual tasks within a grand vision, the authoritative leader defines standards that revolve around that vision. The standards for success are clear to all, as are the rewards.

COACHING - A coaching leader helps employees identify their unique strengths and weaknesses, and ties them to their personal and career aspirations.

AFFILIATIVE - The affiliative leader strives to keep employees happy and to create harmony among them. They offer ample positive feedback, providing a sense of recognition and reward for work well done.

DEMOCRATIC - Spending time to achieve people’s buy-in allows a democratic leader to build trust, respect, and commitment. And because they have a say in setting their goals, people operating in a democratic system tend to be very realistic about what can and cannot be accomplished.

PACESETTING - Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and self-direction. This is a style that should be used sparingly; many employees feel overwhelmed by the pacesetter’s demands for excellence, and their morale drops. Work becomes too task-focused.

COERCIVE - Coercive leaders demand blind obedience, which can be damaging. Most high performing workers seek the satisfaction of work well done, and the coercive style erodes such pride.

Research has shown that the more styles a leader exhibits, the better. Leaders who have mastered four or more – especially the authoritative, democratic, affiliative, and coaching styles – garner the very best results. And the most effective leaders switch flexibly among the leadership styles as needed.

Which style resembles your approach to leadership?


About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more