True Leaders Exhibit Emotional Intelligence

November 18, 2010

True leaders realize that it’s not just what they do, but how they do it, that determines how effective they will be as a leader. True leaders are emotionally intelligent leaders—and as a result they are self-aware, know their strengths and weaknesses, and connect with their people. They are also able to maintain a flexible and optimistic leadership style, show an active interest in others’ perspectives and emotions, and guide and inspire others with a clear and compelling vision. In addition, they easily develop and maintain the cross-organizational bonds that are so critical to the success of a broader mission.

The ability of an emotionally intelligent leader to sense what others feel and to understand their perspectives allows them to develop and communicate a truly inspiring vision. Under the guidance of an emotionally intelligent leader, people feel appreciated, they are willing to share ideas, they enjoy learning from each other, they make decisions collaboratively, and they just plain get things done. They feel their work is more meaningful because they understand that their efforts contribute to the broader good of the team and the overall benefit of the organization—an organization they respect and are proud to be a part of.

True leaders create a type of resonance, a resonance the causes a passion and enthusiasm to resound throughout the group.  Whenever major concerns crop up, these emotionally intelligent leaders use empathy to attune to the emotions of the people they lead, and they use that awareness to help move the team in a positive emotional direction.

Leaders who lack emotional intelligence are not true leaders, as their lack of awareness of and concern for the feelings of others creates a level of dissonance that often becomes the group’s preoccupation and deflects their attention from the mission at hand.

In Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, published in 2002 by Harvard Business School Press, Daniel Goleman (author of the international bestseller Emotional Intelligence) teamed with renowned emotional intelligence researchers Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee to explore the role of emotional intelligence in leadership. In their own words, “If a leader resonates energy and enthusiasm, an organization thrives; if a leader spreads negativity and dissonance, it flounders.”

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area


True Leaders Have a Passion for the Business, and for Their People

January 11, 2010

True leaders are passionate people, and the best leaders have both a passion for the business AND a passion for their people.

It’s not all about them, but about the success of the organizations they lead, and in turn, the success of people who join them on the journey. Their enthusiasm and pride in their work, and their desire to see each individual reach their full potential, inspires others to follow them and put forth their best efforts. People follow them because they know their efforts will be recognized and rewarded.

Great leaders realize that their organization’s best customers will be treated no better than how they treat their employeesand with that in mind they ensure employees are treated as the valuable assets they are.

When Eastern Airlines was purchased by Texas Air, led by Frank Lorenzo, in 1986—new policies and practices caused a severe decline in employee morale, and these declines were readily apparent to Eastern Airlines’ customers. I know, because I flew on Eastern Airlines at the time employee morale plummeted, and their low morale caused me (as well as many others) to not want to fly Eastern again. Interestingly enough, Lorenzo was named by Time Magazine as one of the ten worst bosses of the century, and vilified in a Time article titled “Bosses from Hell.”

In Leading at a Higher Level, Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, suggests that leadership needs to be grounded in humility, and that it is essential to focus on the greater good of people and the organization. I agree with Blanchard when he says, that leadership is, “the capacity to influence others by unleashing the power and potential of people and organizations for the greater good [emphasis mine].

Allen Stalvey
Director of Operations / Program Director
Dallas / Fort Worth Area