Check out this excellent interview of Bill George, a prof at Harvard Business School. Faith & Leadership asked George, “What does it take to be a great leader?” He responded:
To be a great leader today, you have to have a great head and a great heart. As Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The longest journey that you will ever take is the 18 inches from your head to your heart.”
You might have a high IQ, but if you do not have an emotional intelligence, then you are not going to be successful. Qualities like passion, compassion, empathy and courage — those are all matters of the heart, and we can’t teach those in business school classrooms. . . . .
I believe that everybody has the capacity to be a leader at all levels of the organization. What people are looking for is someone who is real and authentic. People know who is authentic or not. You cannot “fake it to make it.” People see right through you.
I think you have to be real in order to gain the trust of people. At the end of the day, you are asking them to put themselves on the line for a cause, and if they don’t trust the leader, they will never give you their whole hearts.
They might give you their minds. They might give you their hands. But never their whole hearts. They won’t be fully engaged with what they are doing — they won’t be fully passionate.
That is the mark of a true leader.
I encourage you to read the rest of this fascinating interview. And, while you’re at it, subscribe to Duke Divinity’s Faith & Leadership weekly online journal. It’s an outstanding resource.