A New Take on Leadership for the 21st Century: LQ – Leader Intelligence

By Marika Ronty for Enlivening Edge Magazine

In Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux writes about creating a Teal Organization. As I see it, becoming a Teal Organization demands conscious and mature leaders who have the competence to guide the employees to become self-leaders.

We need a new understanding of what leadership is all about and the skills that must be developed to meet the requirements of a new era. We also need dynamic tools for development and transformation.

I conducted a master study in 2017 to validate the Leader Intelligence Questionnaire (LIQ) and it showed that a majority of the leaders coming from business and different organizations perceive themselves as leaders and not managers BUT most of their working time was spent on managerial tasks. Something is wrong. We have to understand leadership from new perspectives AND we need new structures.

My theory on Leader Intelligence (LQ) is a result of more than three decades as a lecturer and as a trainer in leadership development.

Leaders need new methods!

Why do leaders need new methods and new tools? Why can leaders no longer do as they have always done? There are three simple answers:

  • Leaders need a new understanding of leadership because the world is going through enormous changes. The challenges need to be met with humanistic and ethical values that all leaders ought to possess. Unfortunately, too many leaders have forgotten what these are.
  • Leaders cannot continue to use old methods and tools, which is as obvious as the fact that we are not driving Oldsmobiles anymore.
  • Leaders of the 21st century need new skills due to all the changes in the business world, globalization, and a young communicative generation who demand control of their lives, have ethical values different from those of their parents, and desire to contribute to a better world for everyone. Embrace those aspects of the younger generation. The people from the future are our new collaborators. Together we can be the great change in the world.

Businesses and organizations need conscious leaders!

Thus, the future needs conscious leaders who take the challenge and go beyond the narrow concerns of their individual or company “ego.” The future demands the concept of us instead of the concepts of me and I. The future needs more of horizontal communication in the organization in order to redress the imbalance of today`s vertical communication from the top of the power hierarchy.

These are my strong beliefs after almost four decades as a clinical and organizational psychologist. I am also convinced that we all need to look inside ourselves in order to discover our values and intentions, as well as our purpose and meaning, both in life and in our role as leaders. What we have inside shows up outside. How is your inner-net?

This inner intelligence comes from the whole: it is our spiritual intelligence (SI), the source of creativity and creation. The source of everything. This ultimate intelligence has long been ignored in business. SI is the core intelligence in LQ; high LQ is high in trust and low in fear.

What is Leader Intelligence?

LQ focuses on all the competences and always starts from our spiritual and emotional intelligence, with your WHY and HOW.

This means that you start asking yourself which core values are the most important ones, the ones that motivate you, form your vision, and give you purpose and meaning in your leadership and in your life.

When you have answered those questions you also need to ask yourself how well you really know yourself. Are you following your ethical values? How comfortable are you when your employees react strongly? How do you handle your own feelings? How easily do you communicate in various situations? All these aspects add up to the concept of being. Your being is the prerequisite for doing. Your being is about your core values. Being is about I Am.

The next third of your competences belong to your rational intelligence. Here, your skills are in analyzing, strategic thinking, handling figures, planning, and setting goals. You need these competences for everything that needs doing. Most managers of today have been educated in this rational way of thinking, being more managers than leaders.

We know that people become motivated, engaged and involved when they have leaders who appreciate them, who have great communication skills and a warm heart. And above all, when leaders trust people and let them take responsibility, the people can more easily become self-leaders. All these skills can be trained and are also the parameters for success.

Leader Intelligence comes from within the leader when they possess all the insights they experienced through their life journey.

The leader who has grown up beyond being only rational by being self-aware, mature, and grounded in themselves, is the leader of tomorrow.

You need Leader Intelligence in order to have Leadership Intelligence.


To sum up, businesses and organizations of the future need more leaders and fewer managers. We need leaders who allow their doing to emerge from a strong healthy sense of being. They develop in an integrative good balance. The result will be: organizations with both successful employees and successful activities. Leader Intelligence comprises spiritual intelligence, emotional intelligence and rational intelligence. It is about both/and.


Marika Ronty is a Licensed Psychologist, M.Sc., author and thought leader within leadership development. She is the founder of Amfora Future Dialogue AB. The Leader Intelligence Questionnaire (LIQ3) has recently been researched by University West (Sweden) based on her theory on Leader Intelligence.  [email protected]  www.ledarintelligens.se