As we begin another exciting year, many of us will take the opportunity to consider where we plan to grow and develop in the next 12 months.  I was recently introduced to the leadership intelligences as the areas (over and above traditional intellectual intelligence) each leader needs to strengthen to lead with conviction and confidence.  I want to share my interpretation of the leadership intelligences (Q’s) as a tool.

For many years, the traditional perspective on intelligence that supports quality leadership has been expanding.  Initially, EQ (Emotional Intelligence, led by Daniel Goleman) was recognised as the additional intelligence that is needed to be a good leader.  Recently though, the key intelligences needed to achieve sustainable leadership success have expanded.  Although the list of intelligences varies across different experts, I have summarised the intelligences to:

  1. Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  2. Social Intelligence (SQ)
  3. Adaptive Intelligence (AQ)
  4. Strategic Intelligence (StQ)
  5. Digital Intelligence (DQ)
  6. Ethical Intelligence (EthQ)
  7. Spiritual Intelligence (SpQ)
  1. Emotional Intelligence (EQ):

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the ability to empathize with and influence the emotions of others.  EQ is important to leaders as it empowers the leader to be able to self-manage in complex situations.  Leaders with strong EQ can manage their emotional reactions, self-reflect, and take ownership when opportunities for improvement are presented or mistakes are made.  They are also able to empathise with staff and colleagues experiencing emotional reactions without taking their response personally. 

Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective communication, conflict resolution, and creating a positive organizational culture. It is also critical for coping in times of change and stress.

  1. Social Intelligence (SQ):

Social Intelligence is the capacity to understand and navigate social networks, including understanding and interpreting social cues, norms, and dynamics. Socially intelligent leaders can build and maintain effective relationships, create a positive team culture, and facilitate teamwork. This intelligence is crucial for networking, negotiation, and understanding the broader social context in which an organization operates.

Intrinsic in Social Intelligence is cultural and collaborative intelligence.  Modern leaders working with culturally diverse people are better able to build social cohesion and mutually respectful environments with common goals and objectives.  Social Intelligence also helps the leader to collaborate with others, embracing their needs and differences to successfully achieve common goals. 

  1. Agility Intelligence (AQ):

Agility Intelligence is the ability to learn quickly, adapt to new situations, and solve problems in dynamic and changing environments.  Leaders with agility intelligence can guide themselves and their teams through uncertainty and change. They are agile in their decision-making, open to innovation, and capable of leading through periods of transformation.  They are also able to recognise where adaptation needs to take place and are willing to lead the team through the change.

Leaders that have agility intelligence recognise change as a necessary and healthy reality of the modern world.  They also recognise the need to lead the change so that the business and the people within the business can enable the changes most constructively.

  1. Strategic Intelligence (StQ):

Strategic Intelligence is the capacity to think strategically, make sound decisions, and align organizational goals with long-term vision. Strategic intelligence is crucial for setting a clear direction, making informed decisions, and allocating resources effectively. Leaders with strategic intelligence can navigate complexity, anticipate challenges, and position their organizations for long-term success.  A key element of strategic intelligence is the ability to communicate the strategic vision in a way that gets buy-in and commitment.  Strategic Intelligence incorporates maintaining the strategic vision when times get tough.

Strategic Intelligence is a sophisticated intelligence that is a lot like walking a tight rope.  The “reading” of the external factors and environment includes a level of fortune telling.  Successful strategically intelligent leaders understand the indicators that helped them to recommend the strategic vision and reflect on these regularly.  When necessary, they have the courage to acknowledge when they read a situation incorrectly and the maturity to be able to correct the course being taken.

  1. Technological Intelligence (DQ):

Technological Intelligence is the ability to leverage evolving technologies, data, and analytics to make informed decisions and drive innovation.  Leaders with technological intelligence keep up to date with technological innovation, harnessing relevant opportunities to improve efficiency, stay ahead of industry trends, and lead digital transformation initiatives. This includes understanding data analytics, cybersecurity, and emerging technologies. 

Although this intelligence seems to naturally form part of strategic Intelligence, the opportunities and risks associated with technological evolution are increasing and impacting on leadership more and more.  Leaders that are not exploring technology and integrating it into their business models due to a fear of change or fear of technology itself, may well face redundancy as their competitors find successful ways to be more profitable, efficient and provide better service to customers.

  1. Ethical Intelligence (EthQ):

Ethical Intelligence is the ability to make decisions from a strong ethical foundation and act with integrity, considering the moral implications of one’s actions. Business has become more and more cutthroat.  Leaders face significant risks when unethical decisions and behaviours are exposed.  And exposed they will be.  The ease with which information can be shared through social media and other digital platforms has elevated the importance and impact of this intelligence. 

Ethical intelligence is crucial for building businesses that clients, staff and suppliers’ trust.  Maintaining a culture that ensures responsible and sustainable ethical leadership calls on each leader to be courageous when mistakes are made and when ethically difficult and controversial decisions and actions need to be taken.  Leaders with ethical intelligence prioritize ethical considerations in decision-making and lead by example

  1. Spiritual Intelligence (SpQ)

Spiritual Intelligence is the ability to be purposeful and have faith in a positive outcome.  Spiritual intelligence is not a religious intelligence, although people with a defined belief system may more readily recognise and accept their spiritual intelligence.   Spiritual intelligence is important to support leaders to remain resilient and hopeful in the face of difficulties and obstacles.  It also assists leaders to make decisions and take actions that are purposeful, even though they are messy and complicated in the short term. 

When I learnt about these intelligences, I took some time to reflect on each of them.  I then rated my current competence level compared with the competence level I believe is needed in each.  I also considered the priority of each intelligence for our business and its future growth and sustainability.  The picture was very revealing. I then considered who I could reach out to and learn from.  I am blessed to have a rich and diverse network of highly skilled and competent people in my life.  They have been willing to share their knowledge so I can make effective decisions about what I need to know and how I would best learn it.  I am also working with my coach to challenge me and hold me accountable to achieve the growth that our business needs. If you believe this kind of support would benefit you, please reach out to RainTree Business Coaching. 

I trust sharing this process can support you to consider where your learning and development journey is going to focus in 2024.  May 2024 be a powerful year filled with learning and success.

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