Part 4: The “People” Skills of Leadership
“What distinguishes great leaders from merely good ones? It is not IQ or technical skills; it is emotional intelligence” (Goleman, 1996, p. 3). Emotional intelligence is a group of five skills that enable the best leaders to maximize their own and their followers’ performance (Goleman, 1996). The five skills of emotional intelligence are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill. These skills of emotional intelligence influence the leader’s ability to move an organization forward through productive group formation and collaboration (Goleman, 1996).
Authentic leaders who have self-awareness are very honest with themselves and with others. Self-awareness is the first component of emotional intelligence which means a deeper understanding and recognition of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives, as well as their effect on others (Goleman, 1996, p. 7). Self-aware leaders possess the ability to be certain about their own competencies and skills (Northouse, 2013, p. 24). For example, Joseph in the Old Testament in the Bible was a self-aware authentic leader. He was always on time in his assignments towards Pharaoh and communicated easily with his followers due to better understanding of his own emotions and drives as well as others’. While self-awareness is important to know one’s self, self-regulation is important to control one’s self.
Self-regulation is the second component of emotional intelligence that frees leaders from being prisoners of their feelings (Goleman, 1996, p. 11). It is not only important to control one’s self, but also to control different situations in the organization with a logical way of thinking. Therefore, as mentioned by Goleman (1996), self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. It is the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting. Accordingly, as mentioned by Maxwell (1993), leaders who are in control of their feelings and emotions are able to create trustable environments full of fairness. Not only this, but they can easily adapt themselves to any change in the organization. For example, suppose that in a church organization, some changes occurred in the policy of the diocese concerning the administrative rules of the priests in each church. If the priest has self-regulation, the reaction to the changes will be very calm and adaptable to the new policy and situation. Moreover, he will handle these changes smoothly, creating an environment of trust and fairness in the church organization. Otherwise, if the priest has no self-regulation, there will be less acceptance of the new policy by the congregation, which may lead to increased tension between church members and more distraction from the church. As self-regulation is an important component of emotional intelligence to control one’s feelings, motivation is another essential skill to motivate one’s self and all other followers.
Motivation is one of the most powerful characteristics of great leaders, not only to motivate themselves but others as well; it is the “oxygen to the soul” (Maxwell, 1993, p. 119). The most important quality of a good leader is the ability to motivate others to accomplish group tasks (Wren, 1995, p. 327). As mentioned by Goleman (1996), motivation by achievement is much more powerful than motivation by external factors; plenty of people are motivated by external factors, such as a big salary or the status that comes from having an impressive title or being part of a prestigious company. By contrast, those with leadership potential are motivated by a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement (p. 14). Such leaders encourage their followers to be innovative and creative. They encourage new ideas from their followers. For example, the priest in the church encourages the Sunday school teachers to develop new ideas in the presentation of the Bible stories for the kids. As a result, the kids will be more attracted toward the Word of God. Although this kind of motivation to one’s self and others is the key for successful leaders, empathy, as one of the skills of emotional intelligence, has an important role in successful organizations by motivating the followers through considering their feelings in the decisions of the organization.
Empathy means thoughtfully considering employees’ feelings-along with other factors-in the process of making intelligent decisions (Goleman, 1996, p. 16). As mentioned by Maxwell (1993), “Empathy is the key to value people” (p. 117). It is an important component of emotional intelligence. Additionally, social skill is very much needed to communicate with followers.
As mentioned by Northouse (2013), sociability is an essential skill of emotional intelligence through which leaders can have good relationships with their followers. Leaders who show sociability are friendly, outgoing, courteous, tactful, and diplomatic (Northouse, 2013, p. 26). Therefore, leaders who have good social skills can communicate easily with everyone in the organization. For example, Jesus Christ was very sociable with people which helped him to teach more values to them. It was clear in the Bible that he had hundreds of followers through his social skills and preaching. Authentic leaders’ proficiency in the five aspects of emotional intelligence influences their ability to move an organization forward through productive group formation and collaboration.
Leadership Theory Paper
Fr. Tadros Hirmina
St. Peter Seal of the Martyrs, Coptic Orthodox Church, West Palm Beach, Florida.
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Professor Anthony G. Allen
Continued in December 2016…
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George, B., Sims, P., Mclean, A.N., & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership. In HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Leadership (pp. 163-177). USA: Harvard Business Press.
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Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lencioni, P. (2006). Silos, Politics and Turf Wars. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Maxwell, J. C. (1993). Developing the Leader Within You. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
Maxwell, J. C. (1998). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership Theory and Practice (6th ed.). New Delhi, India: SAGE.
Wren, J. T. (1995). Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages. New York: The Free Press.
Leadership and Teamwork
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up! Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
The primary goal in the education of children is to teach, and to give the example of, a virtuous life.
– Saint John Chrysostom –
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