Having greater emotional intelligence can help you in almost any interpersonal situation where it’s important to read others and plan your actions accordingly.
A creative leader is self-aware and not weighed down with insecurities, constantly worrying about how they are perceived by their employees and peers. Their egos reflect the reality of their personality and circumstance. They are not selfless and without ego; they have a healthy sense of self that doesn’t respond to threats. From this emotional vantage point, they are able to effectively lead their organizations. Leaders who cultivate humility don’t trade on hubris, nor are they guilty of denigrating their colleagues or competitors to aggrandize themselves. Quietly confident, they inspire others to tap their talents and to seek achievement, all in service to the organization and its mission.
Leadership poses a host of challenges. They come in three categories: external (from people and situations); internal (from within the leader herself); and stemming from the circumstance of being a leader. They often arise in periods of instability or change, such when a program or period of work is beginning or ending, or when a group or organization is in transition. Some are concrete and limited - dealing with a particular situation, for instance - but many are more abstract and ongoing, such as keeping your group focused on its vision over the long term.
In addition to its responsibilities, leadership brings such challenges as motivating people - often without seeming to do so - and keeping them from stagnating when they're doing well. Leaders also have to motivate themselves, and not just to seem, but actually to be, enthusiastic about what they're doing.
How can you know that unless you’ve taken counsel with yourself in solitude? I started by noting that solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership. The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.
In business, a leadership style called "transformational leadership" is often the most effective approach to use. Transformational leaders have integrity, they inspire people with a shared vision of the future, they set clear goals and motivate people towards them, they manage delivery, and they communicate well with their teams.
From Mahatma Gandhi and Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs, there can seem to be as many ways to lead people as there are leaders.
The more complex story reinforces that everyone on a team can be a leader. The most successful teams create chain reactions of leadership. An adaptation triggers long chains of further adaptations that ultimately solve seemingly impossible problems.
Leadership is adaptive, meaning that the leader makes adjustments. A leader who fails to adjust to the territory will lose their way. Only fools willingly follow someone who is lost.
Leadership and aptitude, leadership and achievement, leadership and even excellence have to be different things, otherwise the concept of leadership has no meaning.