For a lot of us, the word “leader” may bring to mind Really Important Leaders, such as political leaders, religious leaders, or military leaders.
The word “leader” in the context of work/business may also conjure workplace managers – whether it’s the supervisor of a department or a CEO.
But in our own lives, there are plenty of places to practice leadership: in our families, our neighborhoods, our local schools, our places of worship, our business and professional associations, our volunteer organizations, or our towns.
Emphasis on “practice”
I used to think that people who are leaders are just born that way. But now I think that while some people are born with a drive for getting things done and a talent, perhaps, for getting along with people, there’s a lot about leadership that can be learned: how to communicate, for instance, as well as how to reassure people, provide a vision, stay calm in tough times – even the nuts and bolts of being able to delegate, speak in front of large groups, or do a performance review.
But good leadership without question calls on business EQ, because in order to lead well, we need to be aware of our emotions and able to perceive and respond (skillfully) to others’ emotions. And just as emotional intelligence is a long-term development process, so too is leadership.