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What Makes a Leader?

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the key ingredient for successful leadership, even more important than technical skills or IQ. While these are necessary baseline qualifications, leaders with high EI are more likely to thrive.

Key points:

  • Traditional leadership qualities have limitations: Stories prove intelligence and skills don’t guarantee success.
  • Different situations require different styles: Effective leaders adapt their approach.
  • EI is the common thread: High EI leaders consistently outperform others.
  • EI components matter most: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill contribute to effective leadership.
  • Further exploration: The article delves deeper into each component of EI and how to identify it in yourself and others.

From Daniel Goleman Artical understanding EI’S Components


  • Self-aware people understand their emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives.
  • They are honest with themselves and others.
  • They can recognize how their feelings affect them, others, and their job performance.
  • Examples of self-awareness include being able to admit mistakes, being comfortable with feedback, and being realistic about one’s capabilities.


  • Self-regulation is the ability to control one’s emotions and impulses.
  • People with good self-regulation can avoid making impulsive decisions or saying things they later regret.
  • They are able to stay calm and collected under pressure.
  • Self-regulation helps leaders create a positive and productive work environment.


  • Motivated people are driven to achieve beyond expectations.
  • They are passionate about their work and enjoy challenges.
  • They are constantly looking for ways to improve and set high standards for themselves and others.
  • Motivated people are optimistic and resilient, even in the face of setbacks.


  • Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
  • Empathetic leaders consider the feelings of their employees when making decisions.
  • They are able to build rapport and trust with others.
  • Empathy is especially important in today’s diverse and global workforce.

Social Skill

  • Social skill is the ability to build and manage relationships with others.
  • Socially skilled people are good communicators, persuaders, and collaborators.
  • They are able to build networks and find common ground with people from different backgrounds.

Social skill is essential for leaders who need to get things done through others.

Overall, the article argues that emotional intelligence is a crucial component of effective leadership. While traditional skills like IQ and technical ability are important, emotional intelligence allows leaders to connect with others, build trust, and inspire them to achieve great things.

EI ComponentDefinition Hallmarks Definition
Self-awarenessKnowing one’s
drives, values,
and goals—and
their impact on
Realistic selfassessment
sense of humor
Thirst for
A manager knows
tight deadlines bring
out the worst in him.
So he plans his time
to get work don
Self-regulationControlling or
emotions and
Comfort with
ambiguity and
When a team botches
a presentation, its
leader resists the urge
to scream. Instead,
she considers possible reasons for the
failure, explains the
consequences to her
team, and explores
solutions with them
MotivationBeing driven to
achieve for the
sake of
A passion for
the work itself
and for new
energy to
Optimism in the
face of failure
A portfolio manager
at an investment
company sees his
fund tumble for three
consecutive quarters.
Major clients defect.
Instead of blaming
external circumstances, she decides
to learn from the
engineers a turnaround.
when making
Expertise in
attracting and
retaining talent
Ability to
develop others
Sensitivity to
An American consultant and her team
pitch a project to a
potential client in
Japan. Her team
interprets the client’s
silence as disapproval, and prepares
to leave. The consultant reads the client’s
body language and
senses interest. She
continues the meeting, and her team
gets the job.
Social SkillManaging
to move people
in desired
Effectiveness in
leading change
Expertise in
building and
leading teams
A manager wants
his company to adopt
a better Internet
strategy. He finds
kindred spirits and
assembles a de facto
team to create a
prototype Web site.
He persuades allies
in other divisions to
fund the company’s
participation in a
relevant convention.
His company forms an
Internet division—and
puts him in charge
of it.

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