Unicorn #4: A happy, healthy person will make a great leader

Most effective leaders aren’t happy, well-balanced people, whether they go on to be seen as saints or scoundrels. The lack of balance is precisely what drives them to do exceptional things.

Many experts today insist that great leaders have “emotional intelligence.” Such leaders are supposed to be rocks of emotional health—they’re compassionate, they’re not hampered by negative feelings, and so on. But these leaders may be like unicorns. Where exactly are these people?

Consider some of the most highly accomplished entrepreneurs of our time: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk,. You’d be surprised to find an ounce of emotional intelligence among them.

Often the leader succeeds simply because she’s more driven, more clever or smarter than others. And oftentimes leaders triumph, not because they’re good people, but because good people quietly work for them behind the scenes, to patch leaks in the ship while their captains grandstand on the main deck.

Becoming a happy and healthy person is perhaps the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for our world. But, happy people put in an honest day’s work and then go home and throw the ball around with the kid. It’s the unhappy people who fanatically stay at work, seeking some way to put their imprint on their world. Yes, it’s the unhappy people who are willing to do whatever it takes to be big-time leaders.

Summing-up: The best human beings are collaborative, compassionate, empathetic and free of most defects of character. But the best leaders usually are not.

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