Leadership Intelligence

Going 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.

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