What Makes a Great Leader?

by Hannah Pool

A Great Leader?

As I was reading Daniel Goleman’s HBR article called “What Makes a Leader?” the first thought that crossed my mind was ‘why didn’t the title say What Makes a Great Leader’? As I let the thought pass and continued to dive into Goleman’s five Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills, I quickly came to realize that you can’t be a leader without those five skills. You may have a title or a position that allows you to manage others but that does not always make you a leader.

The Five EI Skills

Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social Skills. Self-Awareness can be as simply put as knowing yourself. You must know your weaknesses, emotions, drives, strengths, values, and goals and their impact on others. Self-Regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive emotions and impulses. This can often be a difficult task as those impulses are often biological. Motivation is something we are all familiar with, the drive to achieve for the sake of achievement. The fourth skill, Empath, is considering others’ feelings especially when making decisions. If you read the full article you will realize this isn’t always the mushy-gushy stuff that being empathetic can really provide value to a company and to relationships. The final EI skill is Social Skills. Social Skills and Empathy relate to a person’s ability to manage relationships with others, but we can take the idea of Social Skills a step further to include the ability to move people in desired directions.

Becoming Self-Aware

If you are like me, after reading the article you probably took a step back and realized ‘whoa, I have a lot of work to do’. (I guess you can say I took my first step to becoming more self-aware). When I realized there were skills I could improve upon I also realized that I have already shown growth in some of the other skills. That is a great theme of EI, that you can learn these skills through prolonged practice, motivation, and feedback. Although I haven’t been conscious of the growth of these specific skill sets or connected EI with some of the growth I have seen in the past year, I am realizing it now.

My Journey

The GSC Associate Program has provided me with a sense of nurturing in terms of my leadership skills. I not only have experiential learning from my time on projects but I am also provided classroom training on a more technical level where I have learned meeting facilitation techniques which can be a fancy term for Empathy and Social Skills. Another major area of improvement has come from our leadership training which is in the form of reading a leadership book throughout our program and our leadership coach. The book we use takes a very similar approach to leadership as EI in that the skills that you need to be a leader can be learned. So as we have read the book we are introspective and look at how we can apply the teachings to our own leadership. I can mention many other instances in which my EI skills have been developed over the past year because that is the focus of Golden Source Consultants and especially the Associate Program. Golden Source wants to develop you into the best leader you can possibly be and it provides you with support and resources to do that.

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