Although anyone can be a leader, it is important to understand that leadership is rare. While most people wait for something to happen, leaders make things happen. In fact, true leaders cannot stand to sit on the sidelines when the team’s game, business, or purpose is on the line.Indeed, what makes leaders different is the unceasing desire to improve and then to share what they learned with others. One of the things we hear from the very beginning of our development in life is the importance of “IQ”, while it does have value in our development I believe we must pay much closer attention on EQ.
Emotional intelligence (having a healthy soul or “EQ”) impacts two areas of life: how you manage yourself and how you manage relationships. The first priority of emotional intelligence addresses how you manage yourself. This must precede how you manage relationships. Your ability to ascend to the top of your field in life is largely dependent upon your “people skills” along the way. Whether you are selling, training, servicing, or directly ministering, you are in the business of connecting with people, and there is an art to that. While technical hard skills are typically learned during one’s formal education and supplemented with on-the-job training, soft skills, in contrast, are rarely taught in school or at work. Therefore, a potential leader must take personal responsibility for learning and applying the relational soft skills in his daily interactions with others. However, to do this properly, one must first understand the difference between a hard skill and a soft skill.
Perhaps the simplest method for differentiating between the two types of skills is to consider hard skills as science and soft skills as art. Whereas science focuses on objective numerical outcomes that can be measured, art focuses on subjective aesthetic outcomes that must be experienced. Hard skills (like typing speed, IQ level, or computer programming skills) can be measured objectively, while soft skills (like teamwork, patience, and persistence) can only be measured subjectively. In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote, “15 percent of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85 percent is due to skill in human engineering (EQ)—to personality and the ability to lead people.”
To be sure, hard skills (IQ) are vital for professional competence, but if a person desires to climb within his profession, he must not neglect his leadership soft skills. For true leaders combine the science-side hard skills and the art-side soft skills to build leadership cultures of trust and influence. Simply put, leadership is the only sustainable competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.