Much has been (and still is being) written about the importance of Emotional Intelligence (or EQ as it is often referred to) as part of an effective Leader’s ‘tool-kit’. Agreement has been reached between practitioners and academics globally, that EQ and IQ operating in harmony can co-exist to create strong leadership models.
Of course, there are many different leadership ‘models’ and in addition individual styles, personalities and behaviours all combine to form your own individual leadership DNA.
So where does common sense fit in with all of this and indeed, should it fit in at all? As somebody once said: “Common sense isn’t very common”. We can all draw on examples in our lives (not only within the work environment) which beautifully illustrate a sometimes, breath-taking lack of common sense.
Whether working on a 5-year strategic plan (by the way, please show me a 5-year strategic plan that was fully and comprehensively executed, then I’ll be both amazed and in awe!), or the next marketing plan for an amazing and revolutionary product or service, then common sense will be a welcome ingredient. Yes, brain-storming, thinking outside-of-the-box (you need to get out of the box first yourself of course), Blue-sky, Green-hat and all other creative-thinking methodologies are all essential elements prior to the ‘Action’ or ‘Delivery’ phases coming into play, however, practicality in the decision-making process is generally welcomed.
I have had the privilege of working with some great leaders across a wide range of sectors and continents. The most effective have always had more than a modicum of common sense – including those who are the most creative!
Soft-skills (I hate the phrase – as somebody else recently posted, there is nothing ‘soft’ about having excellent people skills), possessing excellent creative and planning talents, focussing on the delivery of challenging goals and using practical common sense can all combine in an uncompromising blend of excellent leadership qualities!