Over the past several months I have been exploring five principles for leading leaders. They are:
Principle #1: If you are going to grow something beyond the number of people who will be directly connected to you, then you must learn to lead leaders.
Principle #2: The paradigm of leading leaders is different from the paradigm of leading followers.
Principle #3: Leaders are difficult. If you are going to lead leaders you are going to lead difficult people.
Principle #4: The most important factor in leading leaders is to have a high “EQ.”
Principle #5: For leaders the decision is not whether they can lead or not it is always a question of weather they will lead or not.
To read the first three articles click on the "2007 newsletters" icon on the right.
This month I address Principle #4:If you want to lead leaders you must first have a high degree EQ – Emotional Intelligence.
Daniel Goleman coined the term emotional intelligence in his groundbreaking book of the same name. Through his research Goleman found that the most important determinate of a person’s future success – particularly in terms of leadership – was a person’s degree of emotional intelligence, even outpacing their intellectual intelligence.
In his more recent book, “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” Goleman defines EQ this way; “Emotional Intelligence refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” He goes on to note five basic emotional and social competencies: 1) Self-awareness, 2) Self-regulation, 3) Motivation, 4) Empathy, and 5) Social skills, which he uses to determine a person’s EQ.
EQ is the most important key for leaders of leaders because leaders are difficult (principle #3), and constantly challenge those who lead them. Leaders of leaders must have a level of personal security that goes beyond their intellect – a sense of self- awareness that comes from a deep understanding of who they are and how they interact with those around them. They must possess a deep security in who they are that is not threatened when they engage other strong leaders. Those who possess high levels of these qualities are able to lead the type of leaders needed to move their organization to the next level.
Goleman’s list can be summed up by the following phrase: know who you are and be it.
The better you know who you are, and the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the greater your influence will be on other leaders.
Shortly after Ronald Reagan became president, he invited a group of Democrat congressmen to the Oval Office to talk about his economic package. Some, who had been in congress for over ten years – under fellow Democrat Jimmy Carter – told Reagan that they had never been to the “room without corners.”
On another occasion President Reagan attended a performance of the Harlem Ballet at the Kennedy Center. After the show, he went back stage to meet the performers, something no other president had ever done.
In both instances Reagan didn’t calculate the political effectiveness of such moves. He acted out of who he was as a person and a leader. He was comfortable in his own skin. He didn’t have to ask a consultant what he should think or if he should engage people. He knew who he was and he was secure enough to be it.
He engaged people –in the oval office and at the ballet – because it was who he was. His high level of Emotional Intelligence made him a great leader, and it was his high level of EQ that enabled him to lead other leaders.
Very few leaders are committed to developing other leaders. They don’t’ have the money, the time or the energy to invest in other leaders. Sometimes those are legitimate reasons; sometimes they’re not.
I was at a conference recently where I had the privilege of talking to a twenty-five year old rising star in the organization. This kid is very gifted and a tremendous leader. Any of you would hire him in a heartbeat. A couple of weeks after meeting him I spoke with his boss who told me how difficult this young man was. Fortunately, this supervisor is a leader of leaders. As the supervisor and I talked, I pointed out the redeeming qualities of this young star, and reminded the supervisor why he had hired this kid in the first place. Rather than look at him as a problem, the supervisor was secure enough in who he was – his EQ is high enough – that he engaged in coaching his young star and making him one of his key employees. I saw the kid recently. He is energized, growing, leading and beginning to live up to his great potential.
The most important yardstick of great leadership – the most important measure of a great leader – is the other leaders he or she has developed around him or her.
The question is, do you know who you are well enough to be able to lead the top-notch leaders – especially the difficult ones? Do you know who you are, and are you being it?
In the Vision For Your Life process the first step is to identify your “Core Motivator.” Your “Core Motivator” is your “motivational DNA,” and it defines “why you do what you do the way you do it.” Understanding your “Core Motivator” is the first step in developing your Emotional Intelligence.
If you want to lead the difficult leaders you must be secure in your own Core Motivator and be able to lead out of who your are.
Know who you are and be it!