Great Leadership - Are We Born With It Or Can We Develop It?

Posted in : HR Updates on 30 January 2013
Paul Fieldhouse
Hyperion Growth
Issues covered:

Paul Fieldhouse writes:

It’s certainly true that there are many examples of great leaders who show a natural aptitude for the key behaviours associated with leadership qualities. For the rest of us we may need to develop these skills and behaviours so over the coming months I will author a series of articles through which we will look in detail at the theory of Emotional Capital, the behaviours associated with great leaders and share actions and strategies which we can implement to improve and grow, not just as leaders but as human beings living in our community.

It's true though that in any aspect of our lives we will be in situations where leadership will manifest itself, perhaps in the family, work, sport or business. Let's take the example of Elliott, a corporate Leader in the USA, a very successful individual, a leader in business, a loving husband and devoted father, a leader in the community. He was very intelligent, having an above average IQ.

Elliott began suffering from headaches which eventually resulted in diagnosis of a malignant tumour about the size of a small orange at the frontal lobe of the brain just above the eyes.

He underwent a successful operation to remove the tumour and in a matter of a few years following this operation his life had fallen apart, his family had left him, he lost his job, he was drinking and living on welfare.

After a number of assessments it was confirmed that Elliott still had the same level of intelligence and memory for detail but what had happened?

Eventually he met with Dr Antonio Damasio, a neurologist who identified that during the operation to remove the tumour the brain tissue surrounding it had been damaged. The area of the brain damaged was that part of the brain that is responsible for our Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

So what is EQ? Well today we’re working with a new balance sheet. Knowledge, or intellectual capital has been and is the highly valued stock in most businesses. It’s what businesses know and use to create products or solve problems and ultimately create wealth. Yet knowledge is only the first of two important assets in business. The second is emotional capital – the feelings, beliefs, perceptions and values that people hold when they engage with any business. It’s the emotional assets in your organisation that determine whether or not people will work well for you, buy from you, employ you and enter into business with you.

This emotional intelligence is the database we build up over time that teaches us the effect our communication has on those we are communicating with. So Elliott maintained his intelligence but had no ability to understand his feelings or how his communication had an effect on those around him.

So no matter how high our IQ we need well developed EQ in order to interact successfully with those around us. The good news is that while our IQ peaks in our late teens, we can continue to build EQ into our mid to late forties.

In the next article we look at the range of behaviours that make up our emotional intelligence.

The opinions and translation of information are my own while the information contained within this article is collated by Dr Martin Newman of Roche Martin and it is through the Roche Martin ECR 360 tool that I deliver Leadership training.

This article is correct at 04/11/2015

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Paul Fieldhouse
Hyperion Growth

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