Resonant Leadership by David Boyatzis and Annie McKee (Harvard Business School Press, 2005). Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D. December 2010
The bottom line of this book is found in its subtitle: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope and Compassion. This might well be one of the most important leadership books I’ve read. Boyatzis and McKee—well respected researchers, professors and authors—use the physics concept of “resonance” (being in tune) to explain a simple biologic principle that rules our lives: We’re creatures whose behaviors and motivations are fueled by our emotions and stimulated by our leaders. And if those leaders are negative in thought, word or deed, they will produce a negative climate and culture, with a negative impact on employee performance. On the other hand, if they approach leadership with a positive vision, they create a culture of employees who succeed and who are renewed, creative, hopeful and compassionate. The authors describe The Sacrifice Syndrome that produces negative attractors and eventually a default state of dissonance. They also describe how such dissonant, even depressed, workers can learn how to climb out of such a negative syndrome by learning and employing The Cycle of Renewal that produces positive attractors—and makes people want to be around you, as a person and as a leader. This week I will be reviewing this book in some detail. I might add that I now recommend it without reservation to every executive client—it’s that big a deal.