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Emotional Intelligence means more to your leadership potential than anything else

What makes a leader? D. Goleman

‘Emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership, without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader’. p94

But do I have any desire to lead any more? When producing or directing is this not what I did? Much of this rings true and identifies both strengths and issues I have struggled with all my life: I take on too much, at times my decisions are made impulsively with short term emotional needs to satisfy or run away from. My wife went through the paper marking in red the points that apply to me; do I get others to do something similar? This is where the MBA takes activities off the page or out of your head and puts them into your work place.

Cf working with emotional intelligence (Bantam, 1998)

‘Intellect and cognitive skills matter, but at all job levels ’emotional intelligence’ proved to be twice as important as the others’. p94

Goleman did this research over a couple of years interviewing hundreds of managers. Of course those blessed with a good brain, education and emotional intelligence have, from my over group, gone to the top of politics, the media and business.

N.B. The Five Components of Emotional Intelligence at work.

p95 ‘Research is also demonstrating that people can, if they take the right approach, develop their emotional intelligence’. See ‘Can emotional intelligence be learned’.


p96 ‘people with strong self-awareness are neither overly critical nor unrealistically hopeful’.

I can be both to an pernickety or unrealistic about the steps I have to take to achieve greatness (if that was my quest). Perhaps, whatever my opinion of him, my Housemaster was right to think that I had too many interests ( it should have been something that my long divorced parents took an interest in of course).

They stuck to their values and goals.

‘People with high self awareness are able to speak accurately and openly – although not necessarily effusively or confessionally about their emotions and the impact they have on their work’. p96

N.B. Being labelled as a child as someone who made ‘value judgements’ made this a self-fulfilling behaviour, that and ‘money burns a hole in your pocket’. Children become the label they are given, especially if they aren’t shown the correct behaviour or encouraged to get it right.

p96 ‘Self-aware people know – and are comfortable talking about their limitations and strengths, and they often demonstrate a thirst for constructive criticism. By contrast, people with low self-awareness interpret the message that they need to improve as a threat or a sign of failure’.

The tips from Goleman are:

Don’t over stress
Don’t overdo on assignments
Won’t ask for or take up a challenge they can’t handle alone.

‘Can emotional intelligence in born largely in born neurotransmitters of the brain’s limbo system, which governs feelings, impulses, and desires. Research indicates that the limbic system learns best through motivation, extended practice and feedback’.

NB Breaking old behavioural habits and establishing new ones.

NB ‘Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm’. Ralph Waldo Emersen.


‘Self-regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation, is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoners if our feelings.’ p98


Driven to achieve beyond expectations
Motivated by a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement.
They are forever raising the performance bar, and they like to keep score.
People who are driven also want a way of tracking their progress – their own, their team’s, and their company’s.


Thoughtfully considering employee’s feelings.
Working in teams
Retaining talent
‘when good pele leave they take the company’s knowledge with them’.

Social skill P101

Friendliness with a purpose
Moving people in the direction you desire.

‘Emotional intelligence can be learned. The process is not easy. It takes time, and most of all, commitment’. p102

Here’s a goal.


  1. The Ed Buzz says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s been awhile since I last saw anything on EQ, but i always enjoy the refresher. i couldn’t agree more that EQ is a great predictor of how someone will function as a leader and I often get pulled into the process of finding a great leader for a school rather than process outcomes. You nice summary has made me think a bit about that – so thanks

  2. Andrew Zahn says:

    I like this ‘People with high self awareness are able to speak accurately and openly …’

    Self-awareness, if unchecked, can become debilitating if it is ultra-self awareness resulting in fixation with self-alone. Thus nullifying emotional intelligence completely.

    Always seeking to strike a balance right?

    Good stuff.

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