With the inauguration of a new U.S. president and the many articles and books on organizational leadership, it is critical that we have a clear sense of the difference between good and bad leaders.
A leader is someone who motivates others to achieve objectives. The qualities that enable a person to lead include cognitive analytical intelligence (IQ), the ability to communicate effectively, charisma, sufficient self-awareness and self-control to avoid unintended emotional reactions, confidence, the ability to work with others in collaborative efforts and empathy - the ability to understand what others believe, their mental models, and the ability to sense how others feel.
Good and Bad Leaders
There are two dimensions of leadership quality. One is about leadership capabilities. Does the leader attract followers and get them to achieve objectives? Is he or she convincing and effective? On this dimension, we have a continuum from ineffective to highly effective. The ineffective ones, generally, don't last long.
The other dimension addresses the leader's values. The good leader values above all kindness and compassion, and seeks to serve the broadest possible range of people. The bad leader is out for him or herself or for a narrowly defined group, clique, race, religion, nationality, tribe or family. The bad leader is often short sighted and delusional. The bad leader distorts the truth with "alternative facts."
Because values are subjective, my good leader may be someone else's bad leader. For example, there are those who venerate Hitler and think of Dr. King and Nelson Mandela as criminals.
The ones who come to my mind far along the continuum of good leaders are Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi. As paradigms, there are Christ, the Buddha and the Hindu Avatars, Ram and Krishna.
Some of the ones on my bad leader list are Putin, Hitler, Stalin, Assad, and North Korea's great leader, Kim Jong Un. These leaders have many of the same attributes as the good ones. They are good communicators who inspire their followers, often by tuning into what their followers want and what they fear and promising to deliver.
A person with high Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence and IQ can be a "great leader" motivating his or her followers by inspiring them with a distorted common interest or through fear. Though they will not be a good leader
A leader may be able to monitor and moderate his/her own emotions, be sensitive to the responses and feelings of others and be very smart. He or she may then use those capabilities to get followers to support the program. Think of some of the evilest leaders throughout history. They were great but there was something lacking. They lacked spiritual intelligence.
Spiritual intelligence (SI) is the ability to be motivated by compassion that arises out of the realization that we are all in it together. To Stephen Covey, "Spiritual intelligence is the central and most fundamental of all the intelligences, because it becomes the source of guidance for the others."
The term spiritual is hard to define. It does NOT mean religious. There are religious people who have high spiritual intelligence and some who do not. Those who do not are the ones who promote hatred in the name of Christ or Allah. They are the Buddhist monks who incite mobs to slaughter their Muslim neighbors.
To be spiritual requires a combination of unqualified compassion, a sense that we are far more alike than different, commitment to the truth, and a sense that there is something outside of our cognitive grasp - that we are not necessarily who or what we think we are.
As we embark on this new chapter in American and world history, led by President Trump, let's hope, visualize, promote and pray that he turns out to be one of the good ones despite his rhetoric and demeanor. If he does not, let's hope his reign is short and the damage he does is easily corrected.
 Covey, Stephen, The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness, Simon and Schuster, 2004, p.53