Leadership and Intelligence
Being a leader: is this a step-by step process?
The scope of this paper is to understand the connection existing between Intelligence and leadership and, in particular, the different intelligence required among leaders and managers.
We shall demonstrate that managers with different intelligent characteristics can be naturally good leaders. Before driving into the academic analysis I would like to share my experience with you. I’ve met and worked several individuals, “organically” different from each other and with different experiences and background. There is no doubt that some of them have something more than the average of us. Some of them have a natural instinct and predisposition to do things better than others. They have ability to run process faster, to think faster, to act correctly in stressful situations. They are naturally leaders.
While this process can be partly explained by Howard Gardner in Frame of Minds (2), it is very clear to me that the DNA and the family upbringing are providing a high percentage in the natural ability to be a leader. The experience and education are refining the process and provide this natural leader with a more efficient weapon to consolidate their power and positions.
As we have learnt, Leadership is a an influence process, it is the use of Power effectively and responsibly in order to understanding and Inspire People, in addition to developing a climate to arousing Motivation. Addressing effectively human aspects is not something we learn at the school. On the other hand, a person that is able to approach issues in a constructive way, restate ideas and feelings, supplying essential facts, ask good questions to stimulate the group behavior is a person with a good managerial skill, is a person able to work effectively on organizational tasks. Then we can start to spot the initial connection between leaders and managers. We have learnt from Halpin (1966) that effective leaders are able to address both the tasks and human aspects of their organizations. But, more concretely Bennis & Nanus (1985, p. 21) are defining the differences: "Managers are people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing"
To me this statement look astonishing true and, I would personally add: right things and things rights can be done by the same person IF involved in different situations. In this case, that person shall have different developed form of intelligences, as we know from Howard Gardner (2): EQ for controlling emotions / SQ for helping other people’s emotions and CQ for spotting and supporting the change in the process. That person shall have the ability of modify different parameters of his/ her intelligence and act accordingly.There are studies that have investigated on individual traits such as intelligence, birth order, socioeconomic status, and child-rearing practices (Bass, 1960; Bird, 1940; Stogdill, 1948, 1974). Specifically Stogdill (1974) has identified six categories of personal factors associated with leadership: capacity, achievement, responsibility, participation, status, and situation. If we then pose our attention to the last of the personal factors, Situation, we should be able to understand why an individual can be either a Leader or a Manager. Situation is basically changing the environment where the individual is called to operate with his intelligence factors and social skills.
“Situation” is the environment where an individual has to operate either to work effectively on organizational tasks or able to create a compelling vision, with the ability to translate that vision into reality” The first will operate at managerial level while the second will lead changes.
I have deliberately introduced the term Managers into the equation because the title is suggesting us to look at the connection between leadership and intelligence. A manager is somehow a leader, even though has limited...
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