I believe that leadership is about influencing people to achieve a common goal. To that end I believe that leadership is more about emotional intelligence (EQ) than about intelligence quotient (IQ). Leadership is more about being socially aware than being about being intelligential smart. In my mind leadership is more an art than it is a science.
Why would I say that leadership is an art more than I science? I believe that when working with people and in particular influencing people, one needs to operate more in the emotional part of their brain than the logical. Yes, a good leader will use both, however I believe that working with people is an emotional task.
So if leadership is an art, then how can we improve our leadership skills? Many people spend much time and money on training, books and education. Is this the best use of their time and money? The answer is yes and no. In isolation, I do not believe that you can learn to be a good leader through training and education. Developing your leadership skills requires application.
There are many leadership styles out there, different situations require different leadership approaches. No two situations will require the exact same approach. So to develop you leadership ability you need to learn through application while being guided by others that have gone before you. This guiding could be through mentoring, books, education, training or a combination.
What if you have no leadership experience, how can you develop your leadership ability? Being a leader does not require a leadership position in an organisation. Leadership is about influencing people to a common goal. This could be in your peer group, it could be on your sporting team. If you have not been in a leadership role before then start small and influence the people on your team.
Just like an artist may start out and not be happy with their first piece of work, leadership can be the same. Just like a good artist will have a mentor to guide them, seek out and develop relationships with leaders that can help you be better. Find podcasts, books, training and education that can support you to implement better leadership.
Then over time, just as an artist may become great, so will your responsibilities grow a you become better at leadership. The better you become at influencing people the greater your leadership responsibility will become. Remember that leadership is an art form that requires practice, constant reflection and review.
If you have a desire to be a good leader I would encourage you to remember that leadership is an art, not a science. Books, training and education can help to develop your ability, however like all art forms practice and application is required to become an artist. Emotional and social skills will influence your leadership ability more than your intellectual ability.