Jim Collins in his book Good to Great characterized the top leaders as those who possessed Professional Resolve and Personal Humility. During the course of his research into what were the foundational pillars behind truly successful organizations, he found this absolute consistency throughout all the various leaders. But in real terms what does this resolve and humility translate to in terms of skills and behavior. The answer lies in Coaching and Emotionally Intelligence.
Coaching can be divided into two sets of skills. The Inner Skills are characterized by connecting with other people through listening, questioning, acknowledging, validating, empathizing, etc. It is truly about the other person and making them the key focus; this is consistent with Personal Humility. The Outer Skills focus very much on goals, actions, solution finding, accountability, etc., all with a drive towards a positive outcome. Possessing a determination towards achieving results at work aligns with Professional Resolve.
Emotional Intelligence in very simple terms focuses who how you behave and are subsequently perceived in the execution of these skills. It’s really about how you walk your talk. Through heightened awareness and management of self and others, through how you appropriately control and express yourself and, finally through thoughtful decision making, leaders develop the ability to create an environment where people want to be led.
The key point is that all great leaders need to be Emotionally Intelligent Coaches. Together with technical capacity and experience (a given), by internalizing what these skills and behaviors entail, and applying them to their daily work, good leaders can become great leaders.