As I sit here, building my reading list for 2015, I stair at three giant columns of books on Leadership and Team development that have over run my desk. They occupy a good portion of my brain power for developing a business platform on leadership and team performance for 2015, to deliver to individuals, teams and organizations. Yet, the question still remains, after reading all these great books...what makes a real leader in 2015 and beyond?
When asked to define the ideal leader, many books still emphasize traits as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision...the qualities still associated with leadership. But as Daniel Goleman points out in the Havard Business Review, What Makes a Good Leader?, such skills and smarts are not necessary and are really very insufficient qualities for the real leader of today.
Qualities that often do not make the list are softer, more personal qualities that are so essential in leading a healthy team or organization. Studies are shown to indicate, that emotional intelligence may be the KEY attribute that distinguishes outstanding performers from those that are merely adequate.
Daniel brought "emotional intelligence" to life with his book of the same name in 1995. In his research of over 200 large global companies, he found that truly effect leaders are distinguished by a very high degree of emotional intelligence. Without it, a person can have a first class education, a incisive mind and an endless supply of good ideas, but will never be a great leader.
The outstanding components of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill...all those "fuzzy, cotton ball" type words can sound very unbusinesslike, yet Daniel found direct links between emotional intelligence and significant measurable business results. It would be foolish for any of us to think that IQ, talent and technical ability are not important ingredients in strong outcomes driven leadership. But the whole real secret sauce of the recipe is emotional intelligence used to construct healthy teams and deliver consistent organizational results. The days of dismissing the "fuzzy cotton ball" qualities are over, for the long term success of any leader in today's results driven world these skills and traits are "need to have" ingredients.
Back to working on my list...Happy New Year!