Walter Bennis in the introduction of his book On Becoming a Leader lists the Four Essential Competencies of a Leader.
Having a Distinctive Voice is further described as a cluster of traits such as Purpose, Self-Confidence, and a Sense of Self. He then adds “the whole gestalt of abilities that we now call Emotional Intelligence. EI is a concept that has been around a relatively short time and one I am still trying to get my arms around. Look up Emotional Intelligence on Google and as expected you get 8.5 million sites.
One site says “ Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand other people and yourself.”
Another site tells us ” In summary, emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection and influence. The following skills belong to the highly developed emotional intelligence: independence from your own feelings and ability to adjust yourself to them, ability to recognize, name and direct your feelings, discern the nuances of feelings and use them in positive way, and, as a consummation, derive actions from it. Emotional intelligence accompanies our daily life and in many cases as important as the “common” intelligence, especially in our modern society.”
The Four Branches of Emotional Intelligence
Perceiving Emotions: The ability to perceive emotions in oneself and others as well as in objects, art, stories, music, and other stimuli
Facilitating Thought: The ability to generate, use, and feel emotion as necessary to communicate feelings or employ them in other cognitive processes
Understanding Emotions: The ability to understand emotional information, to understand how emotions combine and progress through relationship transitions, and to appreciate such emotional meanings
Managing Emotions: The ability to be open to feelings, and to modulate them in oneself and others so as to promote personal understanding and growth
*From “Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT), by J. D. Mayer, P. Salovey, and D. R. Caruso, 2002, Toronto, Ontario: Multi-Health Systems, Inc.
Our first lesson from this important book of leadership is that authentic leaders are in touch with both their own emotions and feelings as well as the people they serve and lead. Consider that truth, whether you lead a large organization, a small business, a family or yourself. Your ability to recognize how you feel, why you feel, and what to do with your feelings (positive constructive actions or negative destructive reactions) will play a big part in your leadership efficacy.