As I reflect upon the vast array of leaders for whom I have worked, studied or observed, I conclude that just being a smart person in whatever field does not qualify that person to be a leader. When I think about the dozens of parents who have spearheaded their child’s education and success, I admire the perseverance, integrity, and pure passion for wanting the best for their child. I consider these parents strong leaders of their child’s development.
I relate leadership skills to parent advocacy skills. Though knowing about listening and spoken language (LSL) is important, expertise in LSL isn’t the key factor in being an effective leader for a child. As recent research indicates, emotional intelligence may actually be more important than being intelligent or being an expert in a technical field.
Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence (EI) states; “EI abilities rather than IQ or technical skills emerge as the ‘discriminating’ competency that best predicts who among a group of very smart people will lead most ably.” While being smart or very skilled in a technical field are important aspects to leadership, a critical issue that relates equally to being an effective leader is one’s emotional intelligence.
What makes up emotional intelligence? Goleman identifies a key set of Emotional Intelligent characteristics. They include “the abilities to motivate oneself and persist through frustrations, to control impulses, to regulate one’s moods and not let distress impact the ability to think, to empathize, and to hope”. While these human aspects of leadership are not the elements of leadership we quickly recognize, the research clearly identifies them as critical to the effectiveness of leadership. Fostering Leadership suggests that parents of children with hearing loss are forward thinking, resilient and motivated to engage in effective communication, trust and collaboration, notably pillars of leadership and characteristics of good parent advocates.
Information from this article should be cited/referenced as: “Partners for A Greater Voice, Inc. Content derived from Essential Programs to Coach and Empower (2016). Ipswich, Massachusetts U.S.A. www.greatervoice.com”