This month, Goleman has a great book out called Primal Leadership. In it, he notes ways in which our emotions are contagious. He concludes that the heart of day-to-day leadership is driving emotions in the right direction to have positive impacts, to "prime good feeling in those they lead".
The book's single biggest concept is resonance. At first described as "a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people", resonance gets fleshed out here:
Consider, for example, a pivotal moment in a news division at the BBC. The division had been set up as an experiment, and while its 200 or so journalists and editors felt they had given their best, management had decided the division would have to close.
An executive visited the staff. He spoke from his heart about the crucial importance of journalism to the vibrancy of a society, and of the calling that had drawn them all to the field in the first place. He reminded them that no one goes into journalism to get rich -- as a profession its finances have always been marginal, with job security ebbing and flowing with larger economic tides. And he invoked the passion, even the dedication, the journalists had for the service they offered. Finally, he wished them all well in getting on with their careers.
He was attuned to people's feelings and moved them in a positive emotional direction. Speaking authentically from his own values and resonating with the emotions of those around him, he hit just the right chords with his message, leaving people feeling uplifted and inspired even in a difficult moment. When a leader triggers resonance, you can read it in people's eyes: They're engaged and they light up.
One sign of resonant leadership is a group of followers who vibrate with the leader's upbeat and enthusiastic energy. A primal leadership dictum is that resonance amplifies and prolongs the emotional impact of leadership. The more resonant people are with each other, the less static in their interactions. Resonance minimizes the noise in the system. The glue that holds people together as a team, and that commits people to an organization, is the emotions they feel.