Monthly Archives: March 2013

Leadership Intelligence

DSC_0108Going over the plethora of books and articles on leadership, one can’t but notice the repetition of certain leadership traits that most authors concur, such as being authentic, trustworthy, visionary, inspirational, and so on.  However, the term that recently caught my attention is “Leadership Intelligence”.  The more that I read and think about leadership intelligence, the more it makes sense.

The scholar literature discusses quite few intelligence spectrums, such as cognitive intelligence, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, cultural intelligence and ecological intelligence.  I believe that Leadership Intelligence is a term that encapsulates all these “intelligences”.  To be leadership intelligent you need to exhibit and practice a good level of cognitive intelligence and a better level of emotional and social intelligence, while being acutely aware of cultural matters as well as ecological information.  In other words, if you are a good leader, it means that you are good (or better) at many other intelligence levels.  And vice versa.  If you demonstrate a good mix of different intelligences, chances are you’re a good leader, even if you don’t realise it.

This brings us to another important characteristic of leadership intelligence: many people don’t realise that they have it and that they do practice it.  They are unaware of it because they practice leadership actions as a matter of habit, rather than intentionally.  They make a difference in the lives of other people without noticing what they are really doing.  This is beautifully portrayed as a lollypop moment in the short and inspiring talk of Drew Dudley: Everyday leadership (http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_dudley_everyday_leadership.html).

Those who grant lollypop moments to others (make a difference in their lives), particularly that they are not aware of what they are really doing, do indeed have a high level of leadership intelligence.

Reflect on your actions and think of what the people around you have done.  I am sure that you will find a lot of lollypop moments.  Be proud of those moments that you gave to others, and be grateful for those moments that you received.

What to read

What to read?

DSC_0140A friend of mine told me, a long time ago, about an advice he got from his father: “If you see a paper on the road, pick it up and read it”.  I was quite impressed with this advice and since then, I try to fill any spare moment I have with reading.

Just to let you know before we go on, I am not a “focused reader”.  In other words, I don’t read books from cover to cover.  I tend to read few pages or chapters from one book and jump to a journal article, then to a magazine, and back to another book, passing by my daughter’s text books – for fun and nostalgia…

Back to the question: What to read?  This question came to me when a young friend recently tweeted “Knowing too much isn’t good.  Maybe I should stop reading.  Reading is a destructive weapon”.  I have to say that this tweet made me jump, literally.  Knowing too much is never bad.  Believing everything is bad.  And in order to differentiate and judge what to believe and what not to believe, you have to read more.

The question metamorphoses now to “What to believe?”, and that IS a difficult question.  My first answer is: You don’t have to believe or disbelieve what you are reading.  You don’t have to judge.  Read to be aware, read to know, read to enjoy.  You don’t have to always judge what you read.  When you listen to your favourite song and enjoy it, do you “believe” every word in the song?

But if you have to make a judgment about what you are reading, then my second answer to the question “What to believe” is: “follow your guts”.  Why?  Well, haven’t you ever got into a situation where you met someone for the first time and you said to yourself: “I don’t know why, but I don’t like this person”.  Later on, you discovered that your initial feelings were right, and that person turned out to be not worthy of befriending.  This is your gut feeling and it is seldom wrong.  And guess what, your gut feelings are nothing but a collection of your readings, experiences and encounters in life.  This means that the more you read, the better your gut feelings become.

So, my advice to you, my young friend: Read everything and anything.  Go on, read books, journals, newspapaer, magazines.  Read restaurant menus and advertisement weeklies.  Read store names and car number plates.  Read bulletin boards on the road and building names.  Read everything and don’t say: should I believe this or not.  Say, now I read this and understood it.  Next.