“What Makes a Leader?” by Daniel Goleman in Harvard Business Review; Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the Need Now

The EI skills are Self-awareness—knowing one’s strengths, weakness, drives, values, and goals, and impact on others.

Self-regulation—controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions, impulses, and moods

Motivation—being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement

Empathy—understanding other people’s emotional makeup and considering others’ feelings, especially when making decisions

Social Skill—managing relationships to move people in desired directions

We’re each born with certain levels of EI skills. But we can strengthen these abilities through persistence, practice, and feedback from colleagues or coaches.

For ages, people have debated if leaders are born or made. So too goes the debate about emotional intelligence. Are people born with certain levels of empathy, for example, or do they acquire empathy as a result of life’s experiences? The answer is both. Scientific inquiry strongly suggests that there is a genetic component to emotional intelligence. Psychological and developmental research indicates that nurture plays a role as well. How much of each perhaps will never be known, but research and practice clearly demonstrate that emotional intelligence can be learned.

It is fortunate that emotional intelligence can be learned. The process is not easy. It takes time and, most of all, commitment. But the benefits that come from having a well-developed emotional intelligence, both for the individual and for the organization, make it worth the effort.


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