Decoding leadership: What really matters – it is IQ+EQ.

Google “Leadership” and you get some 500 million hits including some blogs by yours truly:

Why leaders need eagle eyes and Leaders are readers: What books should leaders read? However there was recent article in the McKinsey Quarterly Decoding leadership: What really matters that I thought was exceptional.

The article reported a study done by McKinsey where the writers composed a list of 20 distinct leadership traits and then surveyed 189,000 people in 81 diverse organisations. The numbers alone make this study compelling as most academic researchers are lucky if they can get 50 participants. The list contains all the usual suspects, vision, collaboration, change management, etc. However according to McKinsey four traits stood out.

  • Solve problems effectively.

  • Operate with a strong results orientation. Leadership is about not only developing and communicating a vision and setting objectives but also following through to achieve results.

  • Seek different perspectives. Leaders who do well on this dimension typically base their decisions on sound analysis and avoid the many biases to which decisions are prone.

  • Be Supportive. Leaders who are supportive understand and sense how other people feel.

The first two traits you rarely see in leadership lists and are really determined by your IQ. You either have it or you don’t. If you are not smart enough, yet become a leader, your decisions generally lead to your own down fall. In Australia the saying is sandshoes to sandshoes in three generations but nearly every culture has some equivalent. My favourite is the Italian: Barn Stalls to Barn Stalls in three generations.

The third and fourth traits are determined by your emotional intelligence particularly if it is fortified by a profiling system such as the 7MTF/Humm-Wadsworth. Great leaders know the first big mistake generally made by poor leaders is to only hire people with the same personality traits as themselves. If you know what are your strong and weak components you can recruit team members to compensate your own defects.

Also to be supportive you first need empathy and a profiling system is a terrific aid in helping you understand how other people feel. Any tool is better than none but I still consider the Humm-Wadsworth the most practical for leaders to use. If you want to read a comparison of the various profiling systems, download my free white paper, A Practical Tool to Lift Your Emotional Intelligence: The Humm-Wadsworth model of Temperament.


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Chris Golis - Author


"Put in a sales perspective, I loved your presentation! I got a lot from what you talked about and I will read your book."

Peter Morris, Executive Officer, Lomax Financial Group

Your presentation on 'Lifting your Level of Emotional Intelligence" to 10 CEOs scored an average 8.9 out of 10 for the topic and 8.5 for the presentation which is great. A couple of the attendees gave you a 10 out of 10, and the comments were:

- Great presentation. Very informative.

- Excellent presentation.

- made me think.

Christi Spring CEO Institute. - web