jack23.jpg                         What makes a leader?

Coleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision – are required for success, they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.

Self-awareness
It is to « know thyself ». Self-awareness means having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. Leaders are honest – with themselves and with others.
How can one recognize self-awareness? People with high self-awareness are able to speak accurately and openly-although not necessarily effusively or confessionally about their emotions and the impact they have on their work.

Self-Regulation
It is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners of our feelings. Why does self-regulation matter so much for leaders? First of all, people who are in control of their feelings and impulses-that is, people who are reasonable – are able to create an environment of trust and fairness.

Motivation
The motivated persons are driven to achieve beyond expectations- their own and everyone else’s. The first sign is a passion for the work itself-such people seek out creative challenges, love to learn, and take great pride in a job well done. Interestingly, people with high motivation remain optimistic even when the score is against them.

Empathy
Empathy is particularly important today as a component of leadership for at least three reasons: the increasing use of teams; the rapid pace of globalization; and the growing need to retain talent. Cross-cultural dialogue can easily lead to miscues and misunderstandings. Empathy is an antidote. People who have it are attuned to subtleties in body language; they can hear the message beneath the words being spoken. Beyond that, they have a deep understanding of both the existence and the importance of cultural and ethnic differences.

Social Skill
Social skill is friendliness with a purpose: moving people in the direction you desire, whether that’s agreement on a new marketing strategy or enthusiasm about a new product. Socially skilled people may at times appear not to be working while at work. They seem to be idly schmoozing-chatting in the hallways with colleagues or joking around with people who are not even connected to their « real » jobs. But in fact, they build bonds widely because they know that in these fluid times, they may need help someday from people they are just getting to know today.

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This post is based on the article What makes a leader? written by Baniel Coleman, published in the HBR of January 2004.