Stories of leadership success vary in detail, but generally convince that to be a leader, you should be born one. Such belief is nurtured by the variability of the leaders’ personalities and behaviors that suit different occasions where a powerful hand is needed. But, differ as they might, emotional intelligence is a trait that all good leaders share.
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Today, the majority of global-scale establishments select their promotion candidates relying on competence models. Such models usually regard IQ level as one of the major factors; however, as research has showed, emotional intelligence proves a more powerful determinant of a successful leader and performer. This trait can be observed from whether leaders are aware and in full control of themselves, whether they are motivated, able to empathize and generally get on with people.
Self-awareness in a leader means the acknowledgement of the impact of their feelings on themselves, the others, and the business. A self-aware leader understands their business goals and the ways of achieving them. The goals are realistic, derived from an honest estimation of a person’s own capacities and ability to self-criticize. Because self-awareness means a full understanding of a person’s strengths and weaknesses, such people are self-confident and able to assess their business’ opportunities adequately.
Self-control is the ability to regulate one’s feelings and make use of them. Leaders in control of themselves are able to hear the voice of reason in the harshest of situations. Also, a leader that thinks and reacts reasonably inspires their employees to think and act the same. It is also useful when competing with other businesses and building an atmosphere of reciprocal trust within the organization.
Empathy is, perhaps, the most recognizable trait of all, albeit the non-businesslike nature of it. Leaders able to empathize are respected in teams, efficient in reaching a consensus in a globalized cross-cultural dialog, and valued by talented employees. The latter are more eager to stay within a company where they feel cared for, meaning that their knowledge and skill stays within as well.
Social skill does not solely consist in being friendly. Rather, it is an ability to befriend and maintain long-term relationships beneficial for all parties and is highly valued as a component of emotional intelligence.
Thus, having a high IQ does not necessarily make a good leader. A leader’s goal is to get the job done, which is what only emotionally intelligent people can achieve.