How do we characterize an ideal or effective leader? Is it someone who has vision? A person who can make decisions quickly? Someone who speaks with authority? A person who can persuade others to work towards the mission of an organization? Someone who can be trusted and has integrity? These are some of the ways we have tried to illustrate what we mean when we describe members of our society who are successful. But are these characteristics the most appropriate? The purpose of this article is to explore the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) - our ability to manage ourselves and our relationships effectively - and its relevance for the performance of leaders and managers who make up the essential decision-makers in Canada's healthcare systems.
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