According to Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall (in this amazing virtual group called Free Thinkers Coalition), leadership is not a thing or a list of traits, but instead is follower-ship. The criteria to leadership is having followers. That's it! Brilliant.
Indeed, when one becomes a manager, often this title is confused with also being a leader. However, this may not always be true and this can come as a shock to the individual who made the assumption that these roles are interchangeable. Why is no one following me? Why is no one inspired by me? I'm the manager - goddammit!
Becoming a manager is confirmation of your IQ - you have the knowledge, skills, and aptitude to perform the responsibilities of a manager. To the fault of standard interview and recruitment methods, it is mistaken that this includes leading people. But fear not, there is a happy ending, since developing your emotional quotient and emotional intelligence skill set, will improve your abilities to lead people!
Leaders, however, already possess the emotional quotient and emotional intelligence skill set that followers need to be inspired and trusting. This is even in spite of IQ; following is forgiving of the short comings as related to knowledge and skill. Why? How?
Emotional Intelligence allows you to show up authentically, to know yourself deeply, to connect with other people, to know what other people desire, and this is comforting to others. The authenticity of the self is likely the #1 trait of a leader.
How do you spot your leaders in your midst (workplace)? Here are a few things you can look for:
- the 'center' of the circle; people rally to and around them
- gain agreeance naturally and easily
- influence change and are often at the front of change, encouraging others along the way
- able to sub-due or put others at ease
- able to persuade others
- able to inspire others
- sees around the corner and is able to communicate/articulate what that looks like
- portrays confidence in the future
- turns anxiety into passion and enthusiasm
What does your organization need? Managers? Leaders?
Do you need someone with the IQ to manage a department and team?
Do you need someone with the EQ to lead a department and team?
Do you need someone with both, to manage and lead?
Decide what your organization needs in order to flourish, and promote or hire appropriately. Then make sure you train for knowledge, skills for management and you develop emotional intelligence for leadership.