an Emotionally Intelligent Leader?
What a good question! After some reflection I'd like to suggest
the following traits, not in any particular order:
Someone who doesn't crave power. Whilst an EI leader needs
to be able to exercise power and be comfortable with it, they
must be free of the 'power for the sake of it' aspect of many
who become leaders.
They must be capable of doing what needs to be done 'for the
greater good'. This follows on from the above: an EI leader
will be willing and able to see the bigger picture, recognise
the true needs of those he or she is leading and act for them
. . . not pursuing some ego desire.
Be prepared to make sacrifices. Again, a necessary corollary
to the above. High EQ in a leader is perhaps demonstrated
by the ability to 'give of themselves'. OK, maybe not go on
hunger strike like Gandhi, but to be prepared to suffer a
few personal hardships and humiliations.
Be willing to admit mistakes; to acknowledge when a change
of direction or approach is needed. This means being willing
to change themselves, to be open to personal growth.
Someone with a 6th sense, an ability to just KNOW what needs
to be done. Such an intuitive ability can be developed by
anyone who is willing to rise above logical argument and emotional
reaction. It's about being deeply connected (some would say
at a soul level) to not just those he or she is leader of,
but to the surrounding energies, moods, needs etc. An EI leader
can put their position into the perspective of global trends,
environmental needs, etc.
6. Be brave and courageous: to be willing to face and work
through their own inner fears. Not only does this give them
the ability to 'go into the lions den' but also to understand
the fear in others . . . and to allow for it. An EI leader
does not use fear as a weapon or tool: they help and encourage
others to look at the underlying issues and to rise above
the fear mentality.
7. Be inspiring to others . . . which probably means to be
inspired. Not just by a particular goal or cause but by life
itself; to have an inner conviction, an infectious zest .
. . for joy and truth, for example. This is something that
comes from being at peace with one-self: so an Emotionally
Intelligent leader needs to be free of (or at least aware
of) their own 'issues' . . . and to not take themselves too
That's probably enough for starters! Other than the likes
of Gandhi or Nelson Mandela, I'm not sure we have many leaders
of present or recent past who display more than one or two
of these traits. But that doesn't mean we can't aspire to
them. Those of us in the EQ educators role can do much to
enable these characteristics . . . once we commit to the process
articles by Keith on Emotional Intelligence
EQ and Enlightenment - how it all started for me
EQ - Why it's emotionally UN-intelligent
Artistry of Emotional Intelligence
Heart & Soul of EI - A spiritual perspective
awareness of our Emotional Intelligence - an alternative
to Measuring EQ