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17. What Makes a Leader by Daniel Goleman , Rutgers University, USA

Updated: Aug 29, 2020

When we ask ourselves what a good leader is, most of us will immediately think of someone with highly intellectual capacities, technically proficient, and somewhat charismatic. In his research, American psychologist and Professor, Daniel Goleman, discovered that although, a high IQ and technical capabilities do matter, these are far from being sufficient. After carrying out his study in nearly 200 large companies, he found out that what really counts is emotional intelligence. Goleman reveals his thought in the article published in the

The term ‘emotional intelligence’ was first popularized by Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book published in 1995. But it was only in 1998 that the psychologist applied this conceptual phrase to business in the HBR review. Even if the notion seemed associated with a “soft skills” category, Goleman established a direct link between measurable business skills and emotional intelligence. According to his research, the most competent leaders all present a high degree of emotional intelligence. But what exactly comprises emotional intelligence? It basically includes the following five components: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and finally, social skill. A brief presentation on each one of those.

  • Self-awareness - may be summed in Socrates’ precept, “nosce te ipsum” meaning know thyself. Having self-awareness means to understand one’s feelings, emotions and effects upon others.

  • Self-regulation - According to Goleman, this component is the one that, “frees us from being prisoners of our feelings.” It represents our ability to handle and control impulses and moods.

  • Motivation - Motivation, in this case, is tied with achievement rather than driven by external rewards such as money or status.

  • Empathy - A leader full of empathy does not mean to please each of the company’s employees, but only signifies that she/he will carefully take into consideration the employees’ feelings in order to make any decision.

  • Social skill - The ability to establish and maintain healthy relationships, and build functional networks.

For those who read these lines thinking they are lacking of some of the attributes described above, there is no need to worry. Emotional intelligence can be learned. As genetics together with nurture do play an intertwined role, it remains possible to acquire emotional intelligence. First of all, time helps. People gain emotional intelligence with age. Yet, even with maturity, and for those in a hurry, only true persistence and desire combined with effective efforts can truly enhance emotional intelligence.

Daniel Goleman further underscored that a person can be incredibly intelligent, showing high-proficiency in analytic reasoning and holding impressive technical skills, but that without emotional intelligence, he or she will never be a great leader.

For the record, Daniel is an internationally recognized American psychologist. ‘Emotional Intelligence’ was printed in 40 different languages. It also has been recognized as one of the 25 “most influential business management books” by Time Magazine. Goleman also worked as a science journalist for The New-York Times where he reported on psychology and brain sciences.

Further views on this topics can be obtained from the below video of Daniel Goleman :


Technical Skills or High Intelligent Quotients are very important to resolve the problems at lower level and mid levels of Management.

Whereas at the Top Management, Emotional Intelligence is the prerequisite to glue together diverse Individuals and aligning their Individual Business Verticals or SBU's Objectives with Group Objectives of the Organisation.

So, Emotional Intelligence is the need of the hour at the Top of the Pyramid of Hierarchy.

MM Rao


Sources :

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