Critical Leadership Competencies and Skills Required in the 21st Century
Effective leadership begins with self-leadership. To lead people effectively and organizations successfully, leaders must learn to lead themselves
Effective leadership begins with self-leadership. I believe it because at the center of leadership is the person who, more than anything else, makes the difference. To lead people effectively and organizations successfully, leaders must first learn to lead themselves. Leadership success or failure begins with how leaders approach self-leadership. Ken Blanchard in 3 Ways to be an Effective Self-Leader argues, “You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself, and you can’t lead yourself without the right tools.”
According to Andrew Bryant and Ana Kazan in Self-Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out “Self-leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and behaviors to achieve your objective/s.” Authors add, Self-leadership is having a developed sense of who you are, what you can do, where you are going, coupled with the ability to influence your communication, emotions, and behaviors on the way to getting there.”
According to Ayman Sawaf and Robert Cooper in Executive EQ: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership and Organizations submit that developing self-leadership begins with self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management that are cornerstones of emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman, in his article “What makes a Leader,” states “The most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It is not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still will not make a great leader.”
Simply put, emotional intelligence is understanding our emotions, strengths and weaknesses, and what impact they have on others; disciplining and controlling our disruptive thoughts and emotions and adapting to changing circumstances; understanding others’ point of view and how they feel in certain situations; making deep connections with others; and the ability to communicate effectively.
According to Mark Coleman “Mindfulness is the foundation of emotional intelligence.” It is the capacity to be more aware and to be more attentive. Mindfulness is one of the major tools in the 21st-century leadership toolbox. Many leaders get tangled up in their anxiety and emotions about tomorrow’s challenges and loos the focus to deal with whatever is in front of them. By focusing on their minds and listening to their thoughts and pulling themselves away from the trappings of worry, stress, and anxiety in general, effective leaders gain better understanding of what is going on with people and situations surrounding them.
Goleman suggests, concentration can only be maintained if we put effort into noticing what the mind is up to. In other words—and in no terms we are unfamiliar with—cultivating awareness of the present moment.
Research documents empirical evidence of connection between mindfulness and compassion [empathy], consistently finding that mindfulness increases empathy and compassion for others and for oneself.
Merriam Webster defines empathy as the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions and the ability to share someone else’s feelings. Simply put, empathy is mirroring what other person is feeling, or just feeling stressed when we detect another’s fear or anxiety. Empathy increases prosocial behavior. Effective leaders are good listeners, nonjudgmental, and do not allow their own feelings to affect their own perceptions.
According to Ernest J. Wilson III, empathy is the deep emotional intelligence that is closely connected to cultural competence and enables those who possess it to see the world through others’ eyes and understand their unique perspectives.
Self-leadership, emotional intelligence, mindfulness and empathy are intertwined and critical to effective leadership. Master self-leadership, emotional intelligence, and mindfulness and you will excel at leadership in the 21st century. Michelle Tenzyk in Why Emotional Intelligence Is Not Enough: The Mindfulness Connection writes strengthening emotional intelligence creates better leaders who build stronger relationships, make better decisions, and have the ability to motivate others.
Question: What impact self-awareness has in accurate understanding of how one’s behavior or words have on others?
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