Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Contextual Intelligence

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Contextual Intelligence

Leaders beware - in addition to the criteria you will be held to on business results, stock performance, predictability, lasting value, etc., more and more measures are being posited for the softer side of what makes you a successful leader.

We started with normal IQ type intelligence. To that, we added Emotional Intelligence. And then, Social Intelligence. In a recent article Why Do Some Leaders Have More Influence than Others? in HBR, Tony Mayo's research with Nitin Nohria shows strong evidence that successful leaders demonstrate Contextual Intelligence. This is described as,
Not only do these leaders understand the implications of the contextual forces that surround them, they also have the ability to adapt and change their leadership style and approach as environmental conditions evolve.

Mayo argues that success comes from understanding and adapting to the macro-economic conditions of the business. An interesting question is how often Boards of Directors, themselves demonstrated contextual intelligence, and how often they evaluate current or potential CEOs for their ability to manage within the evolving context.


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