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Great leaders understand the importance of people skills. They know that leadership encompasses over and above aptitude and technicalities. People skills include communication, coaching, giving and receiving feedback, resolving conflict, and self-management. Research has shown that people with high Emotional Intelligence (EQ) are more successful in business and life. EQ “involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” (Goleman, 1995). Great leaders put their EQ to work through building their people skills that contribute to the success of each mission they pursue (Johnson, 2005).

What do leaders oil to fuel greatness?

They challenge the status quo.

Businesses often go through ambiguity and changes, and there is no roadmap on what to do. Leaders often take risks that can lead to innovation and process improvement. They trust themselves to follow their intuition at times when pressure is high and it is with trust that team members will turn to the leader for. They are also able to forecast and design their vision by seizing opportunities. This serves as inspiration to their team in seeing the importance of succeeding the vision.

They earn their respect through self-management.

Leaders must be open to changing opportunities and challenges and nimble enough to pivot at the right moment. Being inflexible is no longer desirable to most organizations. Instead, humility and the willingness to adapt mark a great leader. Leaders with high self-awareness show just this. They know who they are and understand their strengths and weaknesses. What this does is help leaders accept and overcome career-limiting traits in order to lead by example. If you want to become a better leader, work on modelling the qualities that you would like to see in your team members (Johnson, 2005).

They are effective communicators.

A vision is achievable when both the leader and his or her team members work together. Great leaders hone the ability to communicate and describe what they want done clearly and succinctly so that everyone is working towards the same goal. They are observed to create a productive work environment by making themselves available for discussions, whether that comes from an open door policy or getting the team involved in decisions (Kerr, Heaton & Boyle, 2006). Leaders know that listening is the foundation of good relationships and they listen for feedbacks and ideas. The result is that team members feel less hesitant to work hard and they trust their leaders.

They help you grow – from “I to We”.

A hallmark to being a great leader is transforming team member’s motivation to be as one as the vision of the company. The key is to not just give inspiring speeches, but to make individuals feel valued and included. Leaders push for team members to express their creativity by encouraging wrong answers. In return, team members’ stretch their personal limits when a challenge arises.  Great leaders learn to recognise the talents of individual members of the team and appreciate all the hard work done. All these contribute to team members’ motivation in succeeding for themselves, and also feeling invested in the company’s success and vision.

Leaders must have a solid grasp of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them. The better a leader relates to and works with others, the more successful he or she will be. So take the time to work on your self-regulation, motivation, social skills and knowing your vision. These improvements will help you excel in the future!


Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ for character, health and lifelong Achievement. New York, Bantam Books.

Johnson, V. (2005). Emotional intelligence: Are successful leaders born or made? The Business Review, Cambridge, 3(2), 21-26.

Kerr, R., Garvin, J., Heaton, N. and Boyle, E. (2006). Emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 27(4), 265-279.

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