The Next Level of Intelligence for 21st Century Leaders

buzz from Michael C. Connelly, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Planning Xcel Energy

"The Next IQ explains why today's leaders must change the way they think about intelligence, leadership and inclusion in order to succeed in the 21st century. More importantly, the Next IQ illustrates how today's leaders can change, by providing practical examples and direction on inclusive intelligence that a leader can implement today. The Next IQ provides something most valuable and rare: actionable knowledge."

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From the pages...

The Evolution of Leadership


Leaders need intelligence in order to lead, and intelligence needs inclusion in order to be intelligent.  This is the core of the transition from the Retro IQ to The Next IQ.  This transition is foundational to surviving and thriving in the 21st century, but it is especially critical for leaders who are often in situations to make decisions with incomplete information under increasingly pressurized and narrowing time constraints.  There has always been a presumption that our leaders are intelligent, but leaders today can no longer survive on the Retro IQ model of intelligence.  Leaders need to be inclusively intelligent in order to be effective and excellent; however, this conclusion can be fully understood only after following the evolution of leadership and the contexts in which leadership was defined, measured and developed.  As Max De Pree, former CEO of Herman Miller and author of Leadership is an Art, so eloquently framed the foundation on which to study leadership:  “One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises, not with tools but with beliefs, and not with systems but with understandings.”


We begin by exploring the evolution of leadership theory as it has worked to keep up with changes in demographics, greater opportunities for education, and unlimited access to information.  The fascination with leaders and leadership has a long history, but as with intelligence, the recorded scientific inquiries into the mechanics of leaders and leadership began roughly in the early 20th century.  

Prior to the 19th century, the premise of leadership was primarily rooted in its articulation as the absolute authority over other people.  Whether the authority flowed from religion, royalty, or force, authority and leadership were inextricably intertwined in that a person had to be given the authority to lead in order to exercise leadership.  Moreover, this authority was derived from “…an outside source, the power of the original source of delegation or control – divine, delegated, hereditary, or raw force.”[i]  Although a few of the great philosophers like Socrates and Lao-Tzu have pondered the internal intellectual and moral characteristics of leaders, these philosophies were often considered the alternative way of thinking about leadership while authority to lead reigned supreme as legitimate leadership.


[i] Miller, M. Rex , The Millennium Matrix:  Reclaiming the Past, Reframing the Future of the Church, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004), 110.