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Lead the Professional Pack: How to be an Effective Business Leader

by Blog Author ‎12-07-2017 01:09 PM - edited ‎17-07-2017 10:44 AM

Leadership starts on a personal level, and is first and foremost about relationships before title, status, or function. To be an effective contributor to a business, leaders need to develop the skills required for personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

Although there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, in recent years authors and researchers have identified characteristics that make for a balanced and highly effective leader.


  1.     The EQ leader

Harvard professor and leadership guru, Warren Bennis, claims that in every case of leadership failure that he has encountered, character and judgment have led to the problem. Character and judgment are the result of something known as emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is the ability to recognise and regulate emotions in ourselves and others through four key elements:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social awareness (or empathy)
  4. Relationship management

An emotionally intelligent leader can recognise and regulate these areas, which in turn help improve interactions and relationships.


  •       Self-awareness

The basis of emotional intelligence is awareness of our own emotions, what causes them, and how we react to them. Leaders who are more aware are able to develop skills that will help them to manage their own emotions, allowing them to respond more effectively to situations that arise.

Leaders with emotional intelligence are self-aware and able to recognise emotions as they occur. This is a vital skill for leaders, as it helps them perceive emotions as they arise in response to an action or situation. Then, instead of reacting to their emotions, they are able to engage their thinking to come up with better solutions. As a result, they are able to address problems and can handle any future complications.


  1. The SQ leader

The intelligent quotient is said to be responsible for our thinking, while the emotional quotient helps us build relationships. There is another quotient that has been identified as the spiritual quotient, which allows us to do both these things during times of rapid change. Spiritual intelligence provides the linkage during chaotic times, which most often happens in the business environment.

Leaders with a high spiritual intelligence have the ability to question, think creatively, change the rules, work effectively in changing situations by playing with the boundaries, break through obstacles and be innovative. Outstanding performers have high IQ, high EQ and high SQ. This makes them alive, dynamic, sociable and innovative.


There are 12 principles of SQ leadership that form its basis:

  1. Self-awareness: Beliefs, values and motivations of the leader
  2. Vision and value led: Acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living according to theses
  3. Positive use of adversity: Learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks and suffering
  4. Holistic: Seeing larger patterns, relationships and connections and having a sense of belonging
  5. Compassion: Deep sense of empathy for others
  6. Celebration of diversity: Regarding other people for their differences
  7. Field-independent: Standing against the crowd and having own convictions
  8. Ask fundamental ‘Why’ questions: A strong need to understand things in depth
  9. Ability to reframe: Standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture
  10.  Spontaneity: Living in and being responsive to the moment
  11.  Sense of vocation: Feeling called upon to serve or give back
  12.  Humility: Having the sense that they are part of a team that is working towards a larger joint goal.
  •  The servant leader

Servant leaders focus on the growth and well-being of their employees and the community that they belong to. While traditional leadership is hierarchical in its structure, with the most powerful person at the top of the pyramid, servant leadership shares power and puts the needs of others first to help in their development.


  •       Listening

Servant leadership cultivates a culture of trust by listening intently to others.  Servant leaders seek to identify and clarify what their employees have to say, while reflecting on these when growing the business.


  •       Empathy and support

This type of leadership pays specific attention to the skills and offering that employees can bring to the business.  They empathically listen to their staff and identify what they can offer for the growth of the business. These leaders are actively engaged in developing their employees and assisting them to achieve their work goals.


  •       Persuasion

Another characteristic of servant leaders is a primary reliance on persuasion rather than positional authority in making business decisions. The servant leader seeks to convince others rather than coerce or compel compliance. The servant-leader aims to build consensus within groups, rather than dictating the next course of action.

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