What Makes a Leader

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IQ and technical skills are important, but emotional
intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership.

What Makes a
i

Leader?
BY DANIEL GOLEMAN

E

(VERY BUSINESSPERSON

knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly
skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the joh. And they also know a story about someone with solid-but not
extraordinary-intellectual abilities and technical
skills who was promoted into a similar position
and then soared.
Such anecdotes support the widespread belief
that identifying individuals with the "right stuff"
to be leaders is more art than science. After all, the
personal styles of superb leaders vary: some leaders are subdued and analytical; others shout their manifestos from the mountaintops. And just as
important, different situations call for different
Daniel Goleman is the author of Emotional Intelligence (Bantam, i99s) and Working with Emotional Intelligence (Bantam. 1998}. He is cocbairman of the Consortium for Research on
Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, which is based at Rutgers University's Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology in Piscataway. New Jersey. He can be reached at
Goleman@iavanet.com.

ARTWORK BY CRAIG FRAZIER

93

W HAT MAKES A LEADER?

abilities like analytical reasoning; and competencies demonstrating emotional intelligence such as the ahility to work with others and effectiveness in
leading change.
To create some of the competency models, psychologists asked senior managers at the companies to identify the capabilities that typified the organization's most outstanding leaders. To create other models, the psychologists used objective criteria

such as a division's profitability to differentiate the
star performers at senior levels within their organizations from the average ones. Those individuals were then extensively interviewed
and tested, and their capabilities
were compared. This process resulted in the creation of lists of ingredients for highly effective
leaders. The lists ranged in length
from 7 to 15 items and included
such ingredients as initiative and
strategic vision.
When I analyzed all this data,
I found dramatic results. To be
sure, intellect was a driver of outstanding performance. Cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long-term vision were particularly important. But when
I calculated the ratio of technical
skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to he twice as important as tbe others for jobs at all levels.
Moreover, my analysis showed that emotional
intelligence played an increasingly important role
at the highest levels of the company, where differences in teehnical skills are of negligible imporEvaluating Emotional Intelligence tance. In other words, the higher the rank of a person considered to be a star performer, the more Most large companies today have employed trained

emotional intelligenee capabilities showed up as
psychologists to develop what are known as "comthe reason for his or her effectiveness. When I competency models" to aid them in identifying, training, and promoting likely stars in the leadership pared star performers with average ones in senior leadership positions, nearly 90% of the difference

firmament. The psychologists have also developed
such models for lower-level positions. And in re- in their profiles was attributahle to emotional intelligence factors rather than cognitive abilities. cent years, I have analyzed competency models

from r88 companies, most of which were large and
Other researchers have confirmed that emotional
global and included the likes of Lucent Technolointelligenee not only distinguishes outstanding gies, British Airways, and Credit Suisse.
leaders but can also be linked to strong perforIn carrying out this work, my objective was to mance. The findings of the late David McClelland, determine which personal...
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