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

Posted in : HR Updates on 11 November 2015
Paul Fieldhouse
Hyperion Growth
Issues covered:

It’s certainly true that there are many examples of great leaders who show a natural aptitude for the key leadership behaviours associated with leadership qualities. For the rest of us, we may need to develop these skills and behaviours. Over the coming months 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 that in any aspect of our lives we may find ourselves 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.  Elliot could be described as a very successful individual, a leader in business, a loving husband and devoted father, a leader in the community, with an above average IQ.

Elliott's Story

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

Elliot underwent a successful operation to remove the tumour. However, 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 something had altered. Eventually he met with Dr Antonio Damasio, a neurologist who identified that during the operation to remove the tumour, the surrounding brain tissue had been damaged. The part of the brain that was damaged was the area responsible for 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 most 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.

Emotional intelligence is like a database we build up over time that teaches us the affect that our communication skills have on those with whom we are communicating. So Elliott maintained his intelligence but had no ability to understand his feelings or the effect his communication skills had on those around him.

So no matter how high our IQ levels, 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.

This article is correct at 15/12/2015

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Paul Fieldhouse
Hyperion Growth

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