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The 8 watchwords for successful leadership in 2018
March 19, 2018

The title of Simon Sinek’s latest book says it all: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.  “When we don’t feel that there’s someone looking out for us and offering a sense of belonging, we become paranoid and self-centered,” Sinek, the ethnographer whose TED Talk on leadership put him on the map, told Forbes.

Simon Sinek TED Talk on LeadershipBut just who is he describing? Well, Lady Gaga, to be exact. “[She] embodies all of the principles of great leadership. She stands for something. Her message is positive. She gives people something they believe in for the long term. She gives a sense of belonging to those who previously struggled to feel like they belonged.”

Put that way, leadership doesn’t seem so daunting. But what, exactly, does it take to wrangle yourself in that position?


Of course, it never hurts to eat right, exercise and get a full eight hours of sleep each night to boost your energy and concentration powers. But, according to Psychology Today, the top leadership competencies today will include these healthy mental approaches:

Social intelligence

Often abbreviated SI, researchers call this one of the best predictors of effective leadership. SI is all about understanding social situations and dynamics and knowing how to operate in these moments. In a nutshell, those who can role play have what it takes to shine in this leadership trait.

Interpersonal skills

No, we didn’t just repeat ourselves. Interpersonal skills focus on relationship building, i.e. the ability to be an active listener, to communicate clearly.

Emotional intelligence

The third leg on this stool focuses on understanding emotions in ourselves and others. Leaders with a healthy EI can read nonverbal cues, control their own outbursts and express emotional reactions. As a rule of thumb, you want your EQ to be as high as your IQ.


An old-fashioned word, prudence is the ability to see others’ points of view. You might know it better as open-minded.


It takes strong personal values, but leaders stand up for what they believe and do the right thing after using the other skills on this list to get a handle on the situation.

Conflict management

Good leaders today know how to intervene between colleagues (and regulate themselves) to help them work out differences. You need to have multiple approaches on how to help folks collaborate and compromise up your sleeve.


To riff off a Kenny Rogers’ song, you have to know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.  In management, that translates to understanding when to make a decision, when to consult your staff and when to take yourself out of the equation altogether.

Stress management

No, you don’t need a counselor’s degree, but you do need to be aware enough to identify employees who are struggling with issues beyond their control and connect them to resources that can help. To pull this off, you have to balance your time to include chitchat and doughnuts in the break room as well as that to-do list on your desk.

Like easily digestible tips like these but ready to dig deeper into modern leadership? IOCI can help. Improve your leadership, your communication, your future with coaching, leadership training and ongoing resources from our team.

Marialane Schultz

Marialane Schultz is the founder of IOCI. She helps individuals and organizations perform at their best, do meaningful work and be impactful through customized coaching and consulting engagements.

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