When thinking about the concept of being a good leader, I don’t know about you but “corporate” seems to be one of my first associations. But Kip Tindell, Chairman and CEO of The Container Store, offered a gem of information about leadership that made me realize that the important qualities of leadership apply to a broad base of people – well, in fact, to human beings in general.
See if you agree after reading the following quote from Tindell, which was in the October 2014 edition of the Southwest Airlines magazine:
“While I certainly value intellectual intelligence, a capable leader must also possess emotional intelligence. I think that’s the key to being really successful. These individuals keep their egos in check and remain sensitive to the needs of others. Instead of being driven by deep-seated insecurities, emotionally intelligent leaders are comfortable surrounding themselves with people who are better than they are in certain areas, and they rank high on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs where self-esteem, awareness, honesty and objectivity are concerned. Business is not a zero-sum game. In other words, someone else doesn’t have to lose in order for you to win. The best leaders both understand and embrace that type of thinking.”
Now, re-read this quote, replacing the word “leader” with “human being” and the word “business” with “life.” Wow! Sit back and think on that for a while.
It doesn’t matter who you are – a corporate CEO or an elementary school teacher, a retail manager or shift supervisor, a parent caring for children or virtually anyone who oversees or cares for others (each of us cares for someone at some point) – the qualities that embody emotional intelligence can and should be cultivated. We owe it to ourselves, to others and to our species.