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What Makes a Leader?

It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term “emotional
intelligence” to a wide audience with his 1995 book of that name, and
it was Goleman who first applied the concept to business with his 1998
HBR article, reprinted here. In his research at nearly 200 large, global
companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally
associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness,
determination, and vision—are required for success, they are
insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high
degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-
regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
These qualities may sound “soft” and unbusinesslike, but Goleman
found direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable
business results. While emotional intelligence’s relevance to business
has continued to spark debate over the past six years, Goleman’s
article remains the definitive reference on the subject, with a
description of each component of emotional intelligence and a detailed
discussion of how to recognize it in potential leaders, how and why it
connects to performance, and how it can be learned.
Every businessperson knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly
skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to
fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid—
but not extraordinary—intellectual abilities and technical skills who
was promoted into a similar position and then soared.
Such anecdotes support the widespread belief that identifying
individuals with the “right stuff” to be leaders is more art than science.
After all, the personal styles of superb leaders vary: Some leaders are
subdued and analytical; others shout their manifestos from the
mountaintops. And just as important, different situations call for
different types of leadership. Most mergers need a sensitive negotiator
at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more forceful
I have found, however, that the most effective leaders are alike in one
crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be
known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills
are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”;
that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.
But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that
emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a
person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical
mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a
great leader.
In the course of the past year, my colleagues and I have focused on
how emotional intelligence operates at work. We have examined the
relationship between emotional intelligence and effective performance,
especially in leaders. And we have observed how emotional
intelligence shows itself on the job. How can you tell if someone has
high emotional intelligence, for example, and how can you recognize it
in yourself? In the following pages, we’ll explore these questions,
taking each of the components of emotional intelligence—self-
awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill—in

Evaluating Emotional Intelligence
Most large companies today have employed trained psychologists to
develop what are known as “competency models” to aid them in
identifying, training, and promoting likely stars in the leadership
firmament. The psychologists have also developed such models for
lower-level positions. And in recent years, I have analyzed
competency models from 188 companies, most of which were large
and global and included the likes of Lucent Technologies, British
Airways, and Credit Suisse.
In carrying out this work, my objective was to determine which
personal capabilities drove outstanding performance within these
organizations, and to what degree they did so. I grouped capabilities
into three categories: purely technical skills like accounting and
business planning; cognitive abilities like analytical reasoning; and
competencies demonstrating emotional intelligence, such as the ability
to work with others and effectiveness in leading change.
To create some of the competency models, psychologists asked senior
managers at the companies to identify the capabilities that typified the
organization’s most outstanding leaders. To create other models, the
psychologists used objective criteria, such as a division’s profitability,
to differentiate the star performers at senior levels within their
organizations from the average ones. Those individuals were then
extensively interviewed and tested, and their capabilities were
compared. This process resulted in the creation of lists of ingredients
for highly effective leaders. The lists ranged in length from seven to 15
items and included such ingredients as initiative and strategic vision.
When I analyzed all this data, I found dramatic results. To be
sure, intellect was a driver of outstanding performance.
Cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long-term
vision were particularly important. But when I calculated the
ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as
ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence
proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all
Four Lessons in Adaptive Leadership

The armed services have been in the business of leadership
development much longer than the corporate world has. For more than
two centuries, America has trained its officers to be effective leaders in
combat and beyond—the U.S. Military Academy at West Point dates
to 1802. But warfare has changed, and so has business.
Military leaders need new tools and techniques to face a fast-changing
and unpredictable type of enemy—so the armed services train their
officers in ways that build a culture of readiness and commitment.
Business leaders need just such a culture to survive and succeed, given
that they, too, face unprecedented uncertainty—and new types of
That’s why my colleagues at Wharton and I incorporate military
leadership principles into our MBA and executive MBA programs,
through direct contact with members of the U.S. Army, the U.S.
Marine Corps, and the Department of Defense. Students have the
opportunity to engage with top leaders from the armed services,
participate in military training exercises, and visit historic battlefields.
Most events are brief—one or two days long—but all are intense.
Anchoring learning moments in such experiences, we believe, brings
the leadership precepts to life. In this article, I focus on four of them:
Meet the troops, make decisions, focus on mission, and convey
strategic intent. Most managers understand that these are essential for
leadership. But seeing them embodied, experiencing them personally,
and witnessing where they made a difference is what drives them
Meet the Troops
Creating a personal link is crucial to leading people through
challenging times.
An important facet of our business leadership program entails bringing
military officers to campus. Here’s how one day played out when the
Chairman of the U.S. J oint Chiefs of Staff visited our MBA
It is 10 minutes before class time, and many of the 65 first-year
students are taking their assigned seats in a tiered classroom. The
general strides into the room—four stars on his epaulets and a half-
dozen staffers and security agents close behind. He walks straight to
the first row and introduces himself to the nearest student. He shakes
hands, exchanges a few personal words, and then moves on to the next
student. He’s working the room, and after several minutes he reaches a
student from Moscow in the third row.

“What do great leaders know that good leaders don’t?”
The secret is that leadership is actually an activity, not a position. It is
something that we do.
Great leadership is all about knowing how to:
• Lead in times of crisis and chaos
• Lead when you don’t completely understand the problem (let alone
the solution!)
• Lead change when faced with uncertainty and resistance
• Lead even without the title or ‘authority’
• Face challenges when there are no obvious answers
The good news is: great leaders are created, not born. Great leadership
skills can be learned, and successful leaders never stop learning.

Do you want to be a better leader?
Social Leadership Australia brings together diverse groups of people
who are looking to make progress and change. If you’re ready to fill
your leadership toolkit with practical new skills, apply for our popular
introductory 4-Day program. This program will change the way you
You’ll learn how to:
• Make better decisions
• Perform better in meetings
• Work better with others (we all have to deal with difficult people at
some point)
• Network and create new cross-sector connections that can help you
make progress on the things that matter most to you
• Be a great leader
• Step out of your comfort zone so you can see your challenges
through different eyes.

Is the program right for me?
Leaders can be any type of person and can exist at every level of an
organisation. We can teach you how to create a shared vision and
inspire others to take action to solve their own problems.
This program is suitable for people across the spectrum. Experienced
leaders can refine their thinking and gain an advanced level of
understanding. Aspiring leaders will gain skills to give them an edge at
work. You will also benefit by making connections with your fellow
classmates and guest speakers who are bound to inspire and challenge
What is Adaptive Leadership?
Bring to mind an issue at work that keeps resurfacing. You’ve thrown
money, time and resources at solving it, but nothing seems to work.
There’s no precedent and no rules to follow. Chances are this is an
adaptive leadership challenge.
Adaptive leadership is about working in uncertainty and ambiguity to
discover new ways forward. Our 4 Day Introduction to Adaptive
Leadership program offers a unique opportunity to see problems in a
new light and learn new skills hands-on.

What should I expect?
Highly interactive, the program includes a mixture of theory,
reflection, group work and community engagement. You will be
encouraged to work with your own values and purpose. When we can’t
find solutions by just thinking about our problems, we need to work on
them together.
So if you’re facing a leadership challenge with no clear solution, four
days with us could be just the breakthrough you need.

Keep the Schedule Plan Strong and Constraint-Free

The project schedule plan is probably one of the most important
project management assets a project manager has to develop, maintain
and manage throughout a project. Why? Because compared to other
planning documents -- such as the resources plan, costs plan or risk
management plan -- a project schedule will generally have widespread
visibility within the project's environment and among stakeholders.
For instance, your project sponsors will want to see your project
schedule and understand whether you are on track to deliver it on time.
The beneficiaries of your project will want to see it to understand your
next deliverables or key milestones. Your core project team will seek it
out to find out how work activities are planned and relate to one
another, and how resources are allocated. And, probably most
important, you as the project manager will need it to be your map
throughout the project, guiding you to drive the project to its target.
Now, if your project schedule is incomplete or flawed -- for example,
it's missing work tasks or it features wrong dependencies between
project tasks -- you will most likely steer your project into a wall. And
even if you put everything right into it (i.e., all work activities, the
right durations, right resources assigned, right dependencies), that still
might not be sufficient for a successful delivery. That's because, as you
know, a project schedule is not a linear sequencing of work tasks that
perform exactly as initially planned.
In addition, your project schedule will be subject to the project's
challenges and constraints, such as resources scarcity, work overload,
aggressive milestones or delays. It's these unexpected or imposed
factors that will constrain your project schedule and demand that you
react quickly, applying various tactics and techniques, to adapt the
project schedule and make it ultimately work.

There are several techniques that can help in analyzing, adapting and
improving a constrained project schedule. Among these, three stand
out for their effectiveness:
1. Resource leveling, to be used when you have resource
constraints or are aiming for more efficient and effective
resources utilization
2. Schedule crashing, for reducing tasks' duration by applying
multiple or better resources to the same tasks
3. Fast-tracking, to reduce the project duration by overlapping
tasks that otherwise would have been sequential and dependent
on one another
3 Techniques for Breaking Constraints
In my last post, I wrote about the importance of a project schedule plan
and the fact that a project schedule is generally constrained by various
factors. In this post, I'll take a deeper dive into the three techniques
that can be applied to address resource and time constraints.
Resource leveling
This technique can be applied to a project's schedule plan when the
project is facing resource constraints or when you need to allocate
resources consistently and most effectively throughout the life cycle
(e.g., all resources utilized at 100 percent capacity by project
completion). You'll need to apply this technique when resources are
available only for a certain time or when you have resources over-
allocated in parallel project activities.
The basic idea behind resource leveling is to recognize tasks,
priorities, dependencies and constraints. Tasks with the highest priority
will be scheduled first. Others, depending on their dependencies and
constraints, will be moved for later or assigned other resources
available during this time.

Logically speaking, resource leveling is applied in this order:
1. Develop the schedule.
2. Consider work tasks, dependencies and constraints.
3. Identify the critical path of your project schedule.
4. Allocate resources.
Once you have identified resource bottlenecks and over-allocated or
under-utilized resources, set task priorities and apply resource leveling.
In some cases, resource leveling can lead to critical path changes -- for
instance, if you have to extend the duration of a task on the critical
path, due to the reduced availability of a critical resource.

Schedule crashing
This is a schedule compression technique for dealing with time
constraints without sacrificing project scope -- for example, when you
have to meet a hard deadline for one of your project's deliverables.
This technique focuses on the tasks on the critical path. Shortening
them reduces the total duration for meeting a given deadline or
milestone. And delivering a project in its entirety, with no scope
change, in a reduced time can only be achieved by increasing or
improving the resources allocated for that task.
As an example, let's take a software project aimed at creating a new
system, and migrating functionality and data from an older system.
You could reduce task time by allocating more programmers to
develop in parallel the functionality of the new system. Similarly, to
shorten the data-migration time, you could replace a regular computing
machine with a more powerful one.
Be aware that crashing the schedule will generally increase costs. And
sometimes, there will be tasks that will have the same duration, no
matter how efficiently they can be performed (e.g., monitoring the
stability and reliability of a component for a fixed time).

This is another schedule compression technique that can help reduce
project time without changing the scope. The focus of fast-tracking is
on expediting certain tasks by overlapping their execution, despite
their dependencies.
Let's take the same software project as an example. Chronologically
reversed, programming the new functionality (task number one)
depends on designing it first (task number two), which depends on a
gap analysis task (task number three). By applying fast-tracking to
these three tasks, instead of executing the tasks in a sequence, you can
overlap them. You can start the design (task number two) in parallel
and lagged with the gap analysis (task number three). Similarly the
programming (task number one) will start lagged while the design
(task number two) is in execution.
Fast-tracking is one of the most-used tactics to deal with time
constraints, but it does have a few downsides. By not waiting for the
complete results of preceding deliverables, fast-tracking could lead to
delivering lower quality or even reworking some tasks, which can
result in additional costs and delays. The project environment can get
very dynamic with tasks conducted in parallel. This can be a challenge
for project managers, who might lose sight of the bigger picture or get
overwhelmed with managing overlapping activities.
What is your experience with these techniques? Which do you think is
most effective?
Two-In-One Success : Organization and Individual
The Power of Happiness

People talk about motivation, work-life balance and developing a
productive team. But only a few realize the importance of happiness
within this equation.
Look no further than the recent cricket matches between England and
Australia for a very interesting case study of the effect of leadership
and morale on sustained team performance.
I'm not going to explain cricket other than to highlight that it's a team
game and that each test match takes up to five days, with six hours of
playing time each day. It requires sustained concentration, and
outcomes are significantly influenced by the collective expectations
and attitude within the team. Unlike many sports, a single star cannot
make a huge difference without support from his teammates and the
playing time resembles that of a normal workweek.
In parts of what was once the British Empire, the game of cricket
reigns supreme. One of the sport's major contests is the series of five
matches between English and Australian teams every couple of years
for "The Ashes." The outcome of each of the five series is of
significant national importance -- defeating the "old enemy" makes
headline news in both countries.
Unusually, in the last nine months, there have been two series played:
the first in mid-2013 and the second in the current Australian summer.
England won the first series 3-0. And after losses in India and
England, the Australian team was written off as "the worst ever" by
the local press. But then Australia won the second series 5-0, a feat
only accomplished twice before in Ashes history, and now they're
national heroes. What caused the change?
The difference wasn't in the skills of the players or the support staff
(they were basically the same). It was the team's attitude. Prior to the
start of the English series, Australia focused on peak performance at
all costs. There were rules, curfews and strictly enforced discipline,
which led to dissent, internal divisions and disenchantment.
The Australian Cricket Board decided a change was needed and
appointed Daren "Boof" Lehmann as the new team coach just 16 days
before the first English test. The change was too late to make much of
a difference in the England series, but by the time the Australian series
started, Mr. Lehmann's philosophy had made a fundamental -- and
enduring -- change in the Australian team culture.
With Mr. Lehmann at the helm, every team member is committed to
team excellence. And rather than training drills for the sake of drills to
drive performance, players want to improve and develop. The drive is
intrinsic, not extrinsic. The most often repeated comment among team
members is, "Lehmann made it fun again!"
The Australian team members are happy, taking genuine delight in
each other's successes as well as providing support and encouragement
when things don't go as planned.
This transformation will undoubtedly be the subject of research in
years to come, but my initial impressions of the key skills Mr.
Lehmann has used are:
• Respecting and trusting his players -- garnering responsible
behaviors in return
• Allowing time for life beyond cricket, resulting in a fresh
enthusiasm for both the training regime and the game
• Setting high expectations, but using a supportive style to
encourage striving for excellence rather than demanding
Applying these techniques takes courage (especially under the glare of
national publicity). Building a champion team that enjoys its work and
challenges is the challenge for any leader, particularly if you want your
team to help you push your project through to a successful conclusion.

How do you make your team's work fun when you need high
3 Ways to be a Better Communicator
As project managers, it's easy to get caught up in the technical aspects
of our jobs. For example, if you are in IT, there is always a new bit of
code, application or hardware that -- if you invest the time in learning
about it -- will make your work easier.
But I'd like to share the number-one way you can actually improve
your project management skills -- and it won't take days of learning a
new technology or software. It's by using communication skills you
already have in a more focused, conscious manner.
1. Build communication into your everyday plan. Project
managers tend to get pulled in multiple directions. So instead
of being the driving force behind the information flow, you end
up reacting to the latest problem or sponsor demand. While you
are never going to be free of these things, you can manage
them more effectively by creating a communications plan. This
can be as simple as having a daily status meeting to cover
where everyone is, or as elaborate as a multilayered
communications plan that accounts for interactions with
sponsors, team members and stakeholders. Either way, start by
planning for how you want to manage your daily
communication, and your project management will get easier.
2. Be specific. We find ourselves dealing with very complex and
difficult projects. With this complexity comes the challenge of
making clear your directions, instructions, timelines and goals.
The best way to overcome that is by being extremely specific.
As a project manager, you may not have the industry-specific
technical skills needed to understand every aspect of your
project, but you should know what goals are driving the
project, which means you have the ability to set and understand
very specific objectives for your team. This is going to help
you not only manage the workflow more efficiently, but your
communication with your sponsors, stakeholders and teams
will be more efficient because you are going to have more
specificity with which to address their questions and concerns.
3. Show empathy and support. You know what pressure from
sponsors, stakeholders and team members feels like. So take a
step back and think about how those parties feel as well. After
all, you are often at the center of the flow of all information
into and out of the project. So to really move your
communication and project management skills forward this
year, be consciously aware of how the flow of information -- or
lack of it -- can make your team and stakeholders feel. Let
them know you understand how they feel about being a little
behind on the information curve. Express your support for the
project and the work that is being done. Often this little step of
positive communication can win you big points with
With these three tips, you can do a better job of managing the aspects
of communication that you can handle -- making the aspects you can't
always control a little easier to navigate.
Manage Your Work, Manage Your Life

Artwork detail: Liliana Porter, Man with String, 2009, string and
pencil lines on paper, 12 3/4" x 15 3/4"
Work/life balance is at best an elusive ideal and at worst a complete
myth, today’s senior executives will tell you. But by making deliberate
choices about which opportunities they’ll pursue and which they’ll
decline, rather than simply reacting to emergencies, leaders can and do
engage meaningfully with work, family, and community. They’ve
discovered through hard experience that prospering in the senior ranks
is a matter of carefully combining work and home so as not to lose
themselves, their loved ones, or their foothold on success. Those who
do this most effectively involve their families in work decisions and
activities. They also vigilantly manage their own human capital,
endeavoring to give both work and home their due—over a period of
years, not weeks or days.
That’s how the 21st-century business leaders in our research said they
reconcile their professional and personal lives. In this article we draw
on five years’ worth of interviews with almost 4,000 executives
worldwide, conducted by students at Harvard Business School, and a
survey of 82 executives in an HBS leadership course.
Deliberate choices don’t guarantee complete control. Life sometimes
takes over, whether it’s a parent’s dementia or a teenager’s car
accident. But many of the executives we’ve studied—men and women
alike—have sustained their momentum during such challenges while
staying connected to their families. Their stories and advice reflect five
main themes: defining success for yourself, managing technology,
building support networks at work and at home, traveling or relocating
selectively, and collaborating with your partner.
Defining Success for Yourself
When you are leading a major project, you determine early on what a
win should look like. The same principle applies to leading a
deliberate life: You have to define what success means to you—
understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time.
Executives’ definitions of professional and personal success run a
gamut from the tactical to the conceptual (see the exhibit “How
Leaders Define Work/Life ‘Wins’”). For one leader, it means being
home at least four nights a week. For another, it means understanding
what’s going on in the lives of family members. For a third, it’s about
having emotional energy at both work and home.
How Leaders Define Work/Life “Wins”
Some intriguing gender differences emerged in our survey data: In
defining professional success, women place more value than men do
on individual achievement, having passion for their work, receiving
respect, and making a difference, but less value on organizational
achievement and ongoing learning and development. A lower
percentage of women than of men list financial achievement as an
aspect of personal or professional success. Rewarding relationships are
by far the most common element of personal success for both sexes,
but men list merely having a family as an indicator of success, whereas
women describe what a good family life looks like to them. Women
are also more likely to mention the importance of friends and
community as well as family.
The survey responses consisted of short phrases and lists, but in the
interviews executives often defined personal success by telling a story
or describing an ideal self or moment in time. Such narratives and self-
concepts serve as motivational goalposts, helping people prioritize
activities and make sense of conflicts and inconsistencies.
When work and family responsibilities collide, for example, men may
lay claim to the cultural narrative of the good provider. Several male
executives who admitted to spending inadequate time with their
families consider absence an acceptable price for providing their
children with opportunities they themselves never had. One of these
men, poor during his childhood, said that his financial success both
protects his children and validates his parents’ struggles. Another even
put a positive spin on the breakup of his family: “Looking back, I
would have still made a similar decision to focus on work, as I was
able to provide for my family and become a leader in my area, and
these things were important to me. Now I focus on my kids’
education...and spend a lot more time with them over weekends.”
Ferguson’s Formula

Some call him the greatest coach in history. Before retiring in May
2013, Sir Alex Ferguson spent 26 seasons as the manager of
Manchester United, the English football (soccer) club that ranks
among the most successful and valuable franchises in sports. During
that time the club won 13 English league titles along with 25 other
domestic and international trophies—giving him an overall haul nearly
double that of the next-most-successful English club manager. And
Ferguson was far more than a coach. He played a central role in the
United organization, managing not just the first team but the entire
club. “Steve J obs was Apple; Sir Alex Ferguson is Manchester
United,” says the club’s former chief executive David Gill.
In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a unique
opportunity to examine Ferguson’s management approach and
developed an HBS case study around it. Now she and Ferguson have
collaborated on an analysis of his enormously successful methods.
J ourney to Greatness
Anita Elberse: Success and staying power like Sir Alex Ferguson’s
demand study—and not just by football fans. How did he do it? Can
one identify habits that enabled his success and principles that guided
it? During what turned out to be his final season in charge, my former
student Tom Dye and I conducted a series of in-depth interviews with
Ferguson about his leadership methods and watched him in action at
United’s training ground and at its famed stadium, Old Trafford, where
a nine-foot bronze statue of the former manager now looms outside.
We spoke with many of the people Ferguson worked with, from David
Gill to the club’s assistant coaches, kit manager, and players. And we
observed Ferguson during numerous short meetings and conversations
with players and staff members in the hallways, in the cafeteria, on the
training pitch, and wherever else the opportunity arose. Ferguson later
came to HBS to see the ensuing case study taught, provide his views,
and answer students’ questions, resulting in standing-room-only
conditions in my classroom and a highly captivating exchange.
Ferguson and I discussed eight leadership lessons that capture crucial
elements of his approach. Although I’ve tried not to push the angle too
hard, many of them can certainly be applied more broadly, to business
and to life. In the article that follows, I describe each lesson as I
observed it, and then give Ferguson his say.
1. Start with the Foundation
Upon his arrival at Manchester, in 1986, Ferguson set about creating a
structure for the long term by modernizing United’s youth program.
He established two “centers of excellence” for promising players as
young as nine and recruited a number of scouts, urging them to bring
him the top young talent. The best-known of his early signings was
David Beckham. The most important was probably Ryan Giggs, whom
Ferguson noticed as a skinny 13-year-old in 1986 and who went on to
become the most decorated British footballer of all time. At 39, Giggs
is still a United regular. The longtime stars Paul Scholes and Gary
Neville were also among Ferguson’s early youth program investments.
Together with Giggs and Beckham, they formed the core of the great
United teams of the late 1990s and early 2000s, which Ferguson
credits with shaping the club’s modern identity.
It was a big bet on young talent, and at a time when the prevailing
wisdom was, as one respected television commentator put it, “You
can’t win anything with kids.” Ferguson approached the process
systematically. He talks about the difference between building a team,
which is what most managers concentrate on, and building a club.
Sir Alex Ferguson: From the moment I got to Manchester United, I
thought of only one thing: building a football club. I wanted to build
right from the bottom. That was in order to create fluency and a
continuity of supply to the first team. With this approach, the players
all grow up together, producing a bond that, in turn, creates a spirit.
When I arrived, only one player on the first team was under 24. Can
you imagine that, for a club like Manchester United? I knew that a
focus on youth would fit the club’s history, and my earlier coaching
experience told me that winning with young players could be done and
that I was good at working with them. So I had the confidence and
conviction that if United was going to mean anything again, rebuilding
the youth structure was crucial. You could say it was brave, but
fortune favors the brave.