Daniel Goleman: Your Company's Environmental Impact Isn't as Bad as You Think

Join Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris at Harvard’s SHINE Summit June 4 and 5. 

A Force for Good print/ebook and audiobook for will be available June 23, 2015. Sign up here to learn more about the Join a Force for Good initiative. Register for Dr. Goleman’s talk about A Force for Good on June 25 in Washington DC here.


The VP of a worldwide coffee company was telling me about all the good changes they have made throughout their supply chain and manufacturing practices.          

There was only one thing that made the company’s sustainability practices look bad in the public eye: the little cups in which their machines brewed the coffee are made of plastic – a plastic that can’t be recycled.»

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Daniel Goleman: The Real Reasons Happiness Has Nothing to Do With Money

To break a long journey by car, the Dalai Lama had been invited for lunch by a wealthy family. Using their bathroom, he noticed that the medicine cabinet over the sink was open.

He couldn’t help but notice the cabinet was full of pain killers, sleeping pills and tranquilizers.

The Dalai Lama told me this tale when I interviewed him for my new book A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama’s Vision for our World, adding,

“Many people feel money is the source of a happy life. Money is necessary, useful—but more and more money does not bring happiness.”

Indeed, if people have enough income to handle life’s necessities (about $70,000 per year for the average family), studies find that additional money accounts for about one percent of their life satisfaction.»

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Daniel Goleman: What Makes For a Happy, Productive Workplace?

Think about your current work environment, or one from the past. Is the team upbeat and helpful? How do you feel about going to work, and about the work you do? Are you productive and motivated?

Now what if your co-workers are more aggressive and argumentative? How do you feel about going to work? Are you satisfied with your output? Do you give it 100% or phone it in?

Most organizations have a mix of these characteristics. But what tips the scales one way or the other? Can one person make a difference if he’s warm and friendly in a hostile culture?»

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Daniel Goleman: How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

I just heard from the Harvard Business Review that three of my articles will be in the new “Ten Must Reads” they are publishing – one on emotional intelligence. (Just between us, though, all of my HBR articles are available already in a single volume, What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters.)

As the HBR editors recognize, emotional intelligence is an active ingredient in great leadership.

But how do you know your level of emotional intelligence?

First of all, you should understand that, unlike IQ, no one can summarize your EQ in a single number. Know someone with great self-confidence, but zero empathy, for example?»

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Daniel Goleman: Are You a Great Multitasker?

Probably not. CNN recently posted an interesting video of Dr. Sanjay Gupta explaining what happens to the brain while multitasking. Gupta argues that we’re not actually doing two tasks at once; we’re diverting our attention from one task to work on another, and giving each just partial attention.

He references a study done on multitasking while driving. It showed that listening to sentences while driving decreased the driver’s attention to operating the car by 37%. So rather than listening and driving simultaneously, you’re offering each activity your reduced attention, resulting in substandard performance.

Now think of how often this happens at work.»

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Daniel Goleman: The Secret to Time Management

Do you wish there were more hours in a day? Does it seem like you have more tasks than time? I think we’ve all felt time-starved at some point, and unfortunately many of us experience this on a daily basis. I recently had an interesting conversation about this problem with my colleague, Elad Levinson, instructor for the upcoming Praxis You course, Thriving on Change.

Elad asked me, “Is there someplace where leaders should not focus their attention? You’ve talked about some of the ways in which leaders should focus. But are there places where the attention of leaders shouldn’t go, because it just doesn’t help?”

It got me thinking how leaders today are saddled with back-to-back meetings, conversations, phone calls, emails, texts… and it’s all happening at once!»

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Daniel Goleman: Find Strength in Admitting Your Weakness

The willingness to admit your weaknesses and your vulnerabilities is actually very powerful. You can gain strength by admitting your faults to yourself and your peers. When you admit it, you make it a part of what we share as information about ourselves. It makes it okay for me to bring it up, which is crucial for working through conflict. You can even joke about it to ease tension. “You’re doing that thing again.”

But if you keep it to yourself or worse, are unaware of your own faults, then people don’t know what to do. You become the elephant in the room.»

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Daniel Goleman: Thinking and Feeling Go Hand in Hand in the Classroom

Cognitive empathy means understanding people’s perspective the world. It goes hand in hand with emotional empathy, which is “feeling with”. In a discussion I had with Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I wanted to know how feelings and emotions were addressed in systems education. Here’s what he had to say.

SEL and Systems Thinking

Educators who have been leading this systems revolution encourage students to really inquire into the social systems they find themselves in. I would say that the accelerating confluence of the social and emotional learning and systems thinking gives educators a repertoire of pedagogical strategies.»

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Daniel Goleman: The One Reason Why People Don't Want to Work For You

The higher up the ranks you climb in an organization, the less honest feedback you receive from peers. And one common bit of advice many leaders could benefit from is, ironically, how to effectively deliver feedback to their team. I spoke with Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic, for my Leadership: A Master Class about authentic leadership. Below is a snapshot of our conversation around cultivating a motivational culture versus a fear-inducing workplace.

Daniel Goleman: Many executives and managers are fixated on the idea that feedback only means negative feedback. You have to give people bad news. Tell them how they screwed up.»

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Daniel Goleman: Not All Leaders Are Created Equal

I’ve always been interested in self-awareness as a leader’s capacity to take stock, to reflect, and to look at things defining a bigger perspective. But after I spoke with Claudio Fernández-Aráoz for my video series Leadership: A Master Class, I learned another reason why self-awareness is crucial for effective leadership. Here’s what Claudio had to say.

“We often think about self-awareness as the basis for developing our self-control, self-regulation, and social awareness. Our relationship management is based on those three clusters.

But self-awareness is also crucial for job allocation. Some people are outstanding for some jobs, and they are lousy for others.»

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