Mentally Strong Leaders Aren't Afraid of the Dark

According to Dr. Daniel Goleman the higher a leader rises in an organization, the less important technical skills become, and the more important emotional intelligence or EQ becomes.  He claims “EQ counts for 80-90% of the factors that distinguish average from outstanding leaders.” tired

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Francois de Halleux

Technical skills are easy to identify and therefore easier to develop in others. Emotional skills are often hidden and therefore substantially more difficult to specifically identify and deal with. Here are 3 common characteristics of mentally strong leaders:

Mentally strong people avoid worrying about pleasing others.

“Do not become too concerned about what others may think of you. Be very concerned about what you think of yourself!" ~John Wooden

Realize that you can’t please everyone. There are times when you will need to speak up even at the risk of offending or hurting others.

“He who has no opinion of his own, but depends on the opinions of others is a slave. To only dream of the person you are supposed to be is to waste the person you are.” Friedrich Klopstock.

How to overcome people pleasing:

  1. Realistically see the people you are trying to please. Write down their names and ask yourself why are you trying to please them? Just like David in the Bible, you will either fight your giant or your critics. Trying to please people will distract you from slaying your giant.
  2. Consistently go to the people you want to be like. You will become like the 5 people closest to you. Do you have the right people around you?
  3. Visually look at the person you want to be.
  4. Persistently reject the pull of the people you once pleased. "The opposite of courage is not fear. It is conformity. The most exhausting and frustrating thing in life is to live it trying to be someone else.” ~John Maxwell.

Mentally strong people avoid resenting other people’s successes.

The moment you feel jealousy towards someone you lose your ability to learn from them.

“Jealousy is the tribute mediocrity pays to achievers” ~John Maxwell.

Mentally strong people avoid fearing alone time.

This is usually harder for extroverts than it is introverts but learn to treasure the time alone. Use it to reflect, plan, and be productive.

Levels of loneliness:

  1. The loneliness of self-pity.  We wallow in our problems or what we don’t have.
  2. The loneliness of not being comfortable with yourself. “You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.” ~Wayne Dyer
  3. The loneliness of poor self-image. “Public opinion is a weak tyrant compared with our own private opinion, what a man thinks of himself, that is which determines, or rather indicates his fate.” ~Henry David Thoreau. 
  4. The loneliness of winning. Remember the higher you go in leadership the fewer people you can take with you.
  5. The loneliness of aloneness.

What do you do when you are alone to reflect, plan and be productive?