But exactly what is an “excellent” leader? The real definition is not dependent on a title and in fact, many of the best leaders never actually have a formally defined role. Instead, they are recognized as leaders because they are influencers. And everyone has the ability to influence others! It is how that influence is used that distinguishes the truly great leaders.
Unfortunately identifying effective leaders remains one of the greatest challenges for all organizations of any size across any industry sector. One reason that companies face obstacles when finding and developing leaders may be the absence of emotional intelligence. In the book by that name, author Dan Goleman suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) is twice as important as IQ and that those with EI are more likely to demonstrate key characteristics such as responsibility, sociability, honesty, generosity, integrity, self- confidence and cultural intelligence. Having these advanced interpersonal skills clearly are the basis for good leaders, indicating their empathy for others and their ability to inspire and motivate others, managing conflict in a win-win manner and drawing on their skills to drive strategic growth, building the consensus and engagement that leads to successful businesses.
Management consultants have a long list of leadership styles, from democratic to authoritative to transformational to charismatic, but whether you would describe yourself as a servant leader meeting the needs of your team or you are a visionary who wants to direct the journey, each quality is useful under different circumstances. Each style, despite their disparity, adds value under specific situations.
Given that strong leadership is essential for all organizations, it is important to not only recognize the skills that are required but to also find ways to grow those skills. With that in mind, here is a list of behaviors that contribute to highly effective leaders:
• Coaching others to be their best
• Providing timely and relevant feedback
• Empowering others
• Encouraging risk-taking
• Establishing trust through transparency
• Having the courage to make tough calls
• Being insightful
• Asking great questions and listening to the responses
• Adopting a flexible approach
When using their influence purposefully, great leaders who are armed with emotional intelligence have the power to create a nurturing, positive environment, increasing loyalty, satisfaction, productivity and raising morale while avoiding confusion, disruption, frustration, and conflict.