Leadership – Emotional Intelligence

Self Confidence and Locus of Control are the catalysts for Emotional Intelligence. In 1998 Daniel Goleman wrote an article, published in the Harvard Business review, in which he identified common traits associated with management and leadership such as intelligence, toughness, vision and determination. Goleman concluded however that these traits alone are insufficient for modern organisations by proposing the emergence of Emotional Intelligence as the most essential tool in an effective leaders’ repertoire of skillsets. Goleman cited that Emotional Intelligence encompasses five skills, which he specified as motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skills. The significance of these competencies equips leaders and managers to inspire those around them during transformational journeys.

“Great leaders move us. They ignite our passion and inspire the best in us. When we try to explain why they are so effective, we speak of strategy, vision, or powerful ideas. But the reality is much more primal: Great leadership works through the emotions” (Goleman, 2014)

Goleman implies that empathy for example doesn’t mean that an effective leader allows the feelings of others to guide his/her decision making, nor does he suggest that he/she will undertake or become burdened by others problems. On the contrary it is a conscious ability and awareness of the potential impact on followers as a result of their decisions. Likewise, highly developed social skills enable leaders to build rapport with others in order to nurture a collaborative environment all the while moving towards defined goals. It is in essence the ability to inspire while developing and solidifying relationships with others with a keen eye on the purpose at hand.

While continuing controversy surrounds the usefulness of Emotional Intelligence, with some critics claiming it uses known traits and skills and adds no new insights to effective leadership, Goleman does present a compelling argument. Known traits or not Emotional Intelligence is about understanding and dealing with relationships within organisation, management of self under pressure and dealing with crises. The aforementioned trifecta of traits, Emotional Intelligence, Locus of Control and Self Confidence are intimately linked, woven together to form a co-dependent existence, executed with precision by proficient leaders.


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