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Leadership Insights This Week

Further to project management articles and insights, I am happy to present few interesting leadership insights from some of the leadership articles accessed in current weeks.

Leadership Insights This Week

Leadership Insight

Why the Best Leadership Involves Downward Mobility

Rob Asghar In his Forbes article contends why the best leadership trait involves downward mobility. In his experience, most of the leaders are not content with the way they have had carried leadership during their tenure, leaving them somewhat unsatisfied. With the spirit of leading a team or an organization, they take up challenging missions, trying to achieve big things, which at the end leaves them starved and emotionally emaciated.

He argues sometimes leaders start feeling leadership as a burden more than a privilege. Not that every burden is bad but essentially, they cannot escape it. Though some leaders tend to sanitize and romanticize the leadership without any negative, Rob feels such romanticism and sanitization is misleading. Because plenty of times leadership involves trade-offs, actually negative trade-offs.

Rob also believes that addiction is the curse of leadership. The addition stems from the feeling of conceitedness coming from performing as a leader. The flip side is you get habitual and then addicted to it. Rob gives example of ‘Winston Churchill’ to make his point, his political failures after successful stint of leading UK through World War – II.


Rob thinks there is a way out Downward Mobility. For leaders who are not yet whirling in cycle of power-addiction, the way out cannot be found in books or business schools. On the contrary, Rob believes that living out some ancient wisdom, contradicting to traditional power-privilege belief. Rob gives example of believes of Taoism, Christianity have a notion the highest things will move to humble places. Essentially Rob is talking about downward mobility in terms of prestige and power, like Sannyasa, an old Indian way of life where a person let of ego, ambition and worldly belongings. As Rob states ..such renunciation (Sannyasa) is a muscle that needs to be exercised all one’s life.

Personally I found Robs article to take contrarian view about leadership style, which I believe can be considered as one of the leadership styles. What do you think?


Emotional Intelligence is a Key Leadership Skill

In this HBR article, Andrea Ovans recaps various research articles and cites research finding to highlight that emotional intelligence is a key to leadership skills. The term Emotional Intelligence was coined by psychology academicians in a research paper in 1990. Subsequently one of authors of research paper, John Mayer defined emotional intelligence as the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions; to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships; and to manage your own and others’ emotions. It doesn’t necessarily include the qualities (like optimism, initiative, and self-confidence) that some popular definitions ascribe to it.

Later on, another psychologist Daniel Goleman published his findings in What Makes a Leader to establish the importance of emotional intelligence to business leadership. This article/paper points out the most effective leaders all have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Something much more than IQ and technical skills. Emotional intelligence is the prerequisite of leadership. Without emotional intelligence, even if leader has all other skills and traits, but he still won’t make a great leader.

Daniel listed five elements of emotional intelligence that enable a person to understand, connect with and learn from their own and other people’s mental states:

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Motivation (defined as a passion for work that goes beyond money and status)
  • Empathy for others
  • Social skills, such as proficiency in managing relationships and building networks

This article further delves about emotional intelligence and leadership styles, social intelligence, etc. I’d encourage you to read it further.

9 Books That Every Leaders Should Read

Time.com has published a list of books that every leader should read. I have simply provided the list here but I am also keen to explore these books.

1. The Effective Executive By Peter F. Drucker

2. The One Minute Manager By Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson

3. Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel By Scott Adams

4. The Age of Unreason By Charles Handy

5. The Art of War By Sun Tzu

6. Don’t Bring It to Work By Sylvia Lafair

7. The Prince By Niccolo Machiavelli

8. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership By John C. Maxwell

9. How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie


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I am a co-founder of Zilicus Solution and I write about project management, collaboration, productivity, project management software, cloud computing, requirement management and business empowerment.