What makes a leader

hbr , emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the crux of leadership. EI is comprised of Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills. This is a summary of Dan Goleman’s What makes a leader. Before we begin, here’s a consulting 2x2 grid:


Self-awareness: Knowing one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and goals—and their impact on others

  • Realistic self-assessment
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-deprecating sense of humor
  • Thirst for constructive criticism

Self-regulation: Controlling or redirecting disruptive emotions and impulses

  • Disciplined
  • Trustworthiness
  • Integrity
  • Comfort with ambiguity and change

Motivation: Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement

  • A passion for the work itself and for new challenges
  • Unflagging energy to improve
  • Resiliance - Optimism in the face of failure

Empathy: Considering others’ feelings, especially when making decisions

  • Expertise in attracting and retaining talent
  • Ability to develop others
  • Sensitivity to cross-cultural differences

Social Skill: Managing relationships to move people in desired directions

  • Effectiveness in leading change
  • Persuasiveness
  • Extensive networking
  • Expertise in building and leading teams


Samantha Potts - Technical Super Star