Leadership today is about influence, not control; relationships, not hierarchy; and collaboration, not dictatorial pronouncement.
Today we talk about “servant leadership,” with definitions that include words such as flexibility, alignment, empathy, listening, and relationship.
And we also have a greater appreciation for the ways in which everyone is a leader, regardless of their role within an organization (or within their life).
Today’s leader must understand why people do the things they do, and learn how to influence their colleagues and employees to work more effectively, creatively, and productively. They must realize that as the business world becomes more and more globally dispersed, with teams that may never meet face-to-face and endless struggles with time zones and cultural differences, people crave a sense of community, belonging, and true relationship.
The 21st-century leader knows how to create an experience of community, and knows that everyone – regardless of their relative position within the organizational hierarchy – is a colleague with whom they want to develop a strong relationship.
In short, as multiple studies over the last decade have shown, the primary skillset for a 21st-century leader is emotional intelligence, and organizations that recognize this and focus on developing emotional intelligence within their senior and mid-level managers are organizations that are poised for greater success.
Recommended Training Resource: Our video Emotional Intelligence provides learners with a foundational understanding of key aspects of emotional intelligence, as well as outlining simple, effective ways to increase their own levels of awareness.
Additional resources: A list of scholarly articles and studies can be found at http://goo.gl/OCaUuj. And an article from the Center for Creative Leadership entitled “Leadership Skills & Emotional Intelligence” is available at http://www.ccl.org/leadership/pdf/assessments/skills_intelligence.pdf.