Leadership Qualities: Beyond Intelligence to Emotional Intelligence.


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Photos courtesy of Evan Smogor, Bobby Burch, Enrapture Captivating Media and Lance Asper on Unsplash.

Effective leaders not only show that they are intelligent by having knowledge and skills in their field; but they demonstrate emotional intelligence through discerning an employee’s skill level and readiness to assume increasing responsibilities.

Katherine Souka, a successful real estate broker, wanted to learn how to sail.  What should have been a lesson from her boyfriend, eventually turned into a death defying experience as he raced the sail boat in 26 knot  winds almost entirely on one side.  So, she felt like she was riding a motor bike at high speed in a very long curve.  However, she was not deterred from her mission to learn how to sail.  She simply had to find the right teacher.  

She found Womanship, whose slogan is “designed by women for women.”  Womanship had established their reputation having taught more than 35, 000 women from all over the world including their headquarters in Maryland, New England, southern California, Vancouver, the British Virgin Islands, the Florida Keys, Greece and New Zealand.  As they went out for the first sail, the ship eventually ran into some heavy winds.  Seeing the fear of her students, Captain Kathy said, “I want to show you how not to feel afraid.”  She had them adjust the sails, reducing the exposure to the wind and eventually slowing the boat’s speed.  That simple revelation that she could control the speed of the boat caused Katherine to lose any fear that she had of sailing.  In fact, she felt so confident after enjoying it so much that she went shopping for her own sailboat.  Now, she sails as the captain of her ship.

 For Womanship, teaching women “how to sail, take responsibility, work as a team, and lead are outcomes that emerge from the sailing school experience.  Problem solving and decision making are important in sailing and managing and leading assets in an organization” (Womanship in Goodwin, 2013, p. 347).

Intelligence is considered a critical quality in leading organizations.  It describes “The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/intelligence).  However, many team members will tell you that it is moving beyond intelligence to emotional intelligence (EI) that distinguishes their leader.  First described by two psychologists, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, and later popularized by Dan Goleman, EI is the ability to “Recognize, understand and manage our own emotion; and, recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others” (https://www.ihhp.com/meaning-of-emotional-intelligence).  Citing research from the Harvard Business Review,  Daniel Goleman (1998) shows us why EI counts twice as much as IQ and technical skills in determining success in Working with Emotional Intelligence.   

One of the most effective leadership theories has at its core emotional intelligence.  It is the Hersey Blanchard Situational Leadership Model (Anthony, 2019; Graeff, 1983).  The theory defines leadership as determined by the situational context, and primarily by the team member’s skill level.  So, the leader must keep adapting his/her leadership style to meet the needs of others in the organization based on the situation.  There are four main styles:

  1. Telling And Directing
  2. Selling And Coaching
  3. Participating And Supporting
  4. Delegating to Employees.

 Based on the matrix below, leaders can easily determine the leadership style needed by the employee based on their development level.

Hershey Blanchard Leadership Model

Image courtesy of http://www.free-management-ebooks.com/faqld/leadtheory-06.htm   

Additional research using Likert theory supports the preeminence of employee-centered leadership. Interviews and surveys were conducted among formal leaders and followers in public utilities, banks, hospitals, manufacturing, food, and government agencies.  Both employee-centered and job-centered leadership styles resulted in improved production.  However, “after a brief period of time, the job-centered style creates pressure that is resisted through absenteeism, turnover, grievance, and poor attitudes (Goodwin, 2013, p. 338).

In reviewing essential leadership qualities this month, we have covered integrity, competence, and emotional intelligence.  See how the foundation for these qualities in adulthood are established by habits cultivated in adolescence in Dear Little Sister and Dear Little Brother at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/KeishaAMitchellPhD  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfPWaPCJ0vE  .

chris-karidis-312767-unsplashPhoto by Chris Karidis on Unsplash.

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