By Cindy Wigglesworth
Research is finally validating what many of
us knew all along – that there is more to great leaders than
brains. What research is now validating is that great leaders
need to use their hearts and souls, as well as their minds!
But let’s begin at the beginning…
In 1905 Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon
developed the first modern intelligence test. Since that time
we have been debating what "intelligence" is, where
it comes from, and how to develop it.
Our "Intelligence Quotient" or
"IQ" is generally thought of as our linear,
analytical intelligence. Initially it was expected that IQ
would be a strong predictor of success in careers. In fact it
has turned out to be a weak predictor of success. IQ appears
to be related to minimum standards to enter a given a
profession. But once you have chosen your career, what
actually leads to success is far more complicated.
Daniel Goleman popularized the phrase
"Emotional Intelligence" with the publication of his
book by the same title in 1995. In his book, Goleman cites
research at Bell Labs that examined star performers, and tried
to determine what distinguished them from more average
performers. It appeared that star performers had stronger
relationship skills than average performers. Harvard Business
Review published the results of the Bell Labs study in 1993.
Business interest in the study of "Emotional
Intelligence" or "EQ" began in earnest.
EQ is actually a large collection of
skills. Goleman has recently grouped these skills into 4
quadrants as shown below1.
1. SELF AWARENESS
2. OTHER AWARENESS
3. SELF MANAGEMENT
4. SOCIAL SKILLS
Teamwork & Collaboration
There is a fascinating relationship among
these quadrants. Research is showing that EQ begins in the
Self Awareness quadrant. The degree to which we are self-aware
literally limits our ability to be aware of others, or to
manage ourselves. The last skills to develop are our Social
Skills, being dependent on the other 3 quadrants.
Self-awareness is dependent on listening to feedback. So a
willingness to truly hear others is a prerequisite for high
It is interesting that Socrates gave the
advice "Know Thyself" approximately 2400 years ago.
The historical Buddha (roughly 2500 years ago) made the study
of the mind (profound self-knowledge) such an elevated
practice that it became a major world religion.
So what is the link to Spiritual
Intelligence? Dana Zohar, a quantum physicist, gave a lecture
at the Science and Consciousness conference in Albuquerque,
New Mexico in April 2001. She was working on a new book on
Spiritual Intelligence (or "SQ"), and at that time
listed 9 characteristics of SQ. The first of Zohar’s points
directly echoes the first quadrant of EQ – Self Awareness
but goes beyond it to a sense of connection to the universe.
Spiritual Intelligence, according to Zohar,
1. Self-Awareness … you know
who you really are and you know that you are connected
with the whole universe.
2. Vision & Values Led –
or Idealism. Children naturally want to serve, and so do
we. Vision and values led is definitive of our humanity.
3. The Capacity to Face and USE
Adversity…owning our mistakes and adversity and
using pain and tragedy to learn
4. To be Holistic: seeing the
connections between things. Being open to and interested
5. Diversity…thriving in and
celebrating diversity. I look at you and see what is
different in you and I say "Thank God for that!"
6. Field Independence (Courage)…a
term from psychology that means the courage not to adapt,
to be independent.
7. The Tendency to Ask WHY?
Questions are infinite. In Quantum Physics questions
8. The Ability to Re-Frame…put
things into a larger context of meaning.
9. Spontaneity. This is NOT
acting on a whim…it comes from the same Latin roots as
RESPONSE and RESPONSIBILITY. It is not conditioned by
fear. It is appropriately "responsive to" the
Jim Collins became famous in the world of
business with the publication of his first book, "Built
to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies"
(HarperCollins, 1994) co-authored with James Porras. In it
they described their in-depth research and their conclusions
regarding 18 companies that were unique in their reputation in
their industry, their resilience through hard times and their
financial success over 50+ years. The central conclusion:
truly great companies are Visionary and Values driven. This
directly echoes Dr. Zohar’s 2nd characteristic of
In his latest book, "Good to Great:
Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t,"
(HarperCollins 2001) Jim Collins researched 11 companies who
made the transition from being good companies to being
"great" companies on par with the companies in
"Built to Last". A key finding was that each company
had what he calls "Level 5 Leadership" (see www.jimcollins.com
for more information). As I read about Level 5 leaders I
realized that they seemed to demonstrate most or all of the
characteristics described as "SQ" by Zohar. In
addition, they showed a profound personal humility and a
powerful faith that they and their company would prevail in
the end, regardless of the difficulties.
Self-awareness and cultivating inner
strength (or faith) has a solid grounding in all of the major
spiritual traditions. Jesus went into the wilderness to
meditate and to hear the voice of the infinite creator, as did
Abraham, Moses and Mohammed. Buddhists and Hindus practice
meditation for these purposes as well.
The implications for leadership are clear.
High IQ doesn’t guarantee a good leader. High EQ has been
correlated with success. But does it alone create greatness?
Sustained and recognized greatness, even in the tough world of
Corporate America, is obtained by something deeper. If a
corporate leader is willing to deeply know herself and her
place in the universe, she can reach the graduate school of
SQ. With SQ comes the ultimate success – obtaining company
success in such a way that customers, employees and society
all benefit. And after creating a great company, the high SQ
person sincerely deflects all praise onto the "wonderful
people of this organization."
What if EQ and SQ skills became part of the
curriculum for all leaders? With solid analysis such as Jim
Collins’ leading the way, perhaps that day will soon come.
Goleman, lecture given at September 1999 Emotional
Intelligence Conference, Chicago, IL
President, Conscious Pursuits, Inc.
"Conscious Pursuits, Inc
has a proprietary Spiritual Intelligence Assessment Instrument
which will be available for public use by January 2004.
Please contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are
interested in being in the pilot test groups or for access to
the completed instrument"