At some point in our lives, we’ve all encountered a true leader with the innate ability to alter our perceptions, almost at will, and change the way we do things. Given that most of us are creatures of comfort and habit, this is no small feat, especially when we are under some form of distress.
Looking back, what traits or abilities did this person have that resonated with you and the team to create such an impact? And can it be bottled? Or taught? History has shown that all great leaders were not made the same.
I’ve certainly worked with very effective leaders that had very different approaches, styles, personalities, beliefs, and experiences. Yet, their impact is consistent, effective and measurable. The end results are the same. They produce the results required. It’s something to be emulated. How though?
Is it possible to find the magic formula for true and effective leadership? Is there one element of the formula that is common through all leaders?
The latest research has concluded that there is one common element of effective leaders, regardless of their unique backgrounds, training and career paths chosen. It is now believed that effective leaders all have a high-level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence (or EI) can be defined as …”the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups”* to reach a given set of goals or outcomes.
“EI” certainly forms the basis of many change management theories and methodologies, as this business practice revolves around effective people leadership and management. Perhaps this is one reason behind the growing recognition and acceptance of change management within the business community.
Research on change management has also concluded that effective sponsorship (aka leadership) is one of the most crucial elements of a successful change management plan. Without strong, committed and influential leadership during a transformational and possibly difficult change, the chance of being successful is greatly reduced.
It’s the individual who holds the keys to change.
But, it is the leader who must unlock the potential in that individual and show the way towards reaching the required end state.
Therefore, the team’s ability to produce results is highly dependent on the leadership. A highly effective team tends to have high EI individuals on the team, and is certainly led by one.
So, when selecting the leader to head up key business transformation initiatives, the one trait to look for and rank above any other skill or capability is high emotional intelligence.
*Ref. Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence