From Harvard Business Review
IQ and technical skills are important, but emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership
It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term "emotional intelligence" to a wide audience with his 1995 book of
that name, and it was Goleman who first applied the concept to business with his 1998 HBR article, reprinted here. In
his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated
with leadership - such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision - are required for success, they are
insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes
self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
These qualities may sound "soft" and unbusinesslike, but Goleman found direct ties between emotional intelligence
and measurable business results. While emotional intelligence's relevance to business has continued to spark debate
over the past six years, Goleman's article remains the definitive reference on the subject, with a description of each
component of emotional intelligence and a detailed discussion of how to recognize it in potential leaders, how and
why it connects to performance, and how it can be learned.
Every businessperson knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled executive who was promoted into a
leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid - but not extraordinary
- intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared.
Such anecdotes support the widespread belief that identifying individuals with the "right stuff" to be leaders is more
art than science. After all, the personal styles of superb leaders vary: Some leaders are subdued and analytical;
others shout their manifestos from the mountaintops. And just as important, different situations call for different types
of leadership. Most mergers need a sensitive negotiator at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more
I have found, however, that 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's not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do
matter, but mainly as "threshold capabilities"; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But
my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence :is the sine qua non of