Leaders Have Followers; Managers Have Subordinates


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So… What Makes a Leader?

[1] Goleman stresses the importance of emotional intelligence, in conjunction with technical skills, for top notch leaders in business.

The Five Components of Emotional Intelligence at Work

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He continues by sharing how “it’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions”, and albeit important, “emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership”.  Master these five dimensions of emotional intelligence, coupled with technical skills, and leadership will naturally ensue.

To Create a Successful Team [2]

Now that we’ve identified what it takes to be a great leader, how can we create a successful team?

By showing vulnerability first, and shedding our ego, we are more trustworthy to others. With a culture of trust, playing devil’s advocate and pursuing the truth, we don’t need to play politics. Learning how to play devil’s advocate and how to disagree to pursue truth (or perceived truth) will prove much more effective when working as a team. Ideally, we should “argue as if [we]’re right but listen as if [we]’re wrong”. [3] Even if we do disagree in the end, we understand where the other person is coming from, and still commit to the majority decision. By owning up to mistakes and taking accountability, we show others that it’s safe to do so. After all, we are all human.

This mindset cannot exist without having the mindset of a leader.  Just as IQ was a entry-level requirement for executive level positions, a leader’s mindset is the entry-level requirement to forming and maintaining a wildly successful team.

In closing, Patrick Lencioni summarizes how teams can unlock their potential, boiling down the root cause of dysfunctional teams down to a lack of trust and vulnerability by not shedding one’s ego.

“We need to focus attention on results and the only way we can do that is to hold one another accountable out of love, and the only way to make sure we do that is to make sure we’re committed, and the only way to make sure we’re committed is to disagree passionately, and the only way we can disagree passionately is if we trust each other and are vulnerable.” – Patrick Lencioni

[1] What Makes a Leader – Daniel Goleman HBR 1998

[2] The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/04/opinion/sunday/kids-would-you-please-start-fighting.html