As an experienced business and life coach, I have cobbled together a list of characteristics that make a great leader. Throughout my journey, one common attribute of great leaders always comes to the fore. That is the attribute of emotional intelligence. It distinguishes great leaders from less effective and constantly contributes to an increase in business performance. Emotional Intelligence can be defined as;
“the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.”
Emotional Intelligence first appeared in a 1964, but didn’t gain traction until 1995 by author and science journalist Daniel Goleman. It has been criticized within certain scientific circles, but nevertheless retains a strong influence in the business and life coaching milieu.
My extensive research and experience has shown that emotional intelligence is made up of five key building blocks. These are the attributes necessary to build emotional intelligence in a great leader.
- Self-awareness – a foundational component for constructing emotional intelligence, this is attribute can be described as an “understanding of oneself” and how you affect others. It is the awareness of your strengths as well as your weaknesses and how you navigate business challenges
- Self-regulation – this component is characterized by consideration and thoughtfulness. Self-regulation allows a person to control urges and impulses and allows the leader to possess a calm and clear mind in challenging business environments. It is the act of controlling ones psychic id and not manifesting irrational behavior.
- Motivation – we all certainly want to exceed expectations, but some lack the motivation to do so. Motivation can be seen as the psychological engine to get things done. Motivation is infectious and certainly a cornerstone of the great leader. Motivation is an intangible that filters down from the great leader to managers and team.
- Empathy – allows the great leader to understand and assimilate diverse complex management dynamics. This component enables the team to trust the leader and in turn fellow employees. Communication is opened up and employees become more receptive.
- Social skill – is defined by as the ability to assess and react to varying business environments and to persuade and build solid management teams. Social skill is the art of collaborating with team members under stressful situations without losing ones cool.
In summary, a great leader possesses all of these qualities and is control at all times.