I’m often asked “what does it take to be a good leader?”

Hi my name is Bernie Heine, and I’d like to talk a little bit about emotional intelligence, and one of the keys to knowing yourself, knowing others, and really improving your leadership style.

Develop Your Leadership Skills

When I ask audiences “what does it mean to be a good leader?” and people say “well, it’s communication skills, it’s having a vision, it’s motivating people”, all kinds of great stuff comes out. One of the key things that comes out over and over again is credibility. People want to know that their leader is a credible individual, so how do we improve that? What we do to improve our credibility?

Well, a lot of it has to do with our level of emotional intelligence. We all have an IQ, which is a fixed thing about our intelligence that we can’t really do much about – you either have a good one or you don’t have a good one, but we can’t really do much about the level of our intellectual quota. But our emotional intelligence is one that we can get better at all the time. It turns out that our emotional intelligence is the one that is most highly correlated with success in life, no matter how you measure success.

Building Credibility and Emotional Intelligence

There are four steps we can go through to build our credibility and our emotional intelligence.

The first one is that I have to know myself. So I have to know what is it about me that makes me unique, versus where everybody else is. And then I have to be able to control myself. One of the things I learned in this process, when I first started doing this kind of work, was that I talk too much. I have to recognize points in time when I have to slow down and listen to other people not be the one filling the room with words all the time. So, knowing myself then controlling myself.

The next key step is that I have to know others. How can I look around the room or be in a one-on-one dialogue with an employee, with a prospect, with a client, size them up and then do the fourth part, which is meet their needs. So I have to know how to adjust my style so I can meet their needs.

The New Golden Rule – a.k.a the “Platinum Rule”

Most people are familiar with the golden rule, which is to treat people as you wish to be treated. The problem with the golden rule is, not everyone wants to be treated like me. And if I were to treat the rest of the world just as I’d like to be treated, I would alienate about three quarters of the population. So I aspire to the platinum rule, which is to treat others as they wish to be treated.

So now you ask “how do I know how to do that?” One of the simple tools that we have, which is very effective for this process, is a disk analysis. This is where we divide people into four categories, and at this rudimentary level we can understand where people are, and then adjust our styles into their category.

Understanding People Based on Disk Analysis

The basic way to understand that is we all recognize that some people are more extroverted and some people are more introverted; we have people who are more people-oriented, they care a lot about who they’re working with and who’s around them, and we have some people are more task-oriented, who care more about the job they’re working on and less so about the people they have to work with.

So when we mix these two simple questions – am I introverted or extroverted; am I more task-oriented or people-oriented – I can divide into different categories and use this tool in understanding people at a very simple level. I can then know how to adjust my style in order to be more effective with them. Really effective leaders connect with their people. They’re connecting with them because they are using their emotional intelligence to know where they’re coming from, and then speaking in a language that they can receive.

Work on your leadership skills, improve your emotional intelligence, and that’s really the key to success in life.