Multiple Intelligences In Action

According to Gardner, there are multiple intelligences that a leader ought to possess in order to be successful. This includes things such as practical intelligence as well as emotional intelligence. Additionally, Salovey has put forth theories about emotional intelligence more specifically, stating how important it is for a leader to be good at perceiving, using, understanding, and managing. The basic argument that comes from these theories is that the ability of a leader to understand the needs of others will be far more respected and successful than those who are merely just good at what they do.

Tom, my supervisor at The Virginia Holistic Justice Initiative, is an example of a great leader who certainly possesses multiple intelligences. This was evident in the ways that those leaders of other organizations spoke about Tom in my conversations with them. One man, a program manager at REAL Life (a supportive resources for individuals dealing with addictive lifestyles), said that Tom was one of the best attorneys he had ever met. However, he was not speaking only of his skill in litigation and knowledge of the law, but of the way he communicates and makes an effort to understand his clients. He does not deal with any case as black and white facts, but makes an effort to listen to his clients and know them on a deeper more personal level.

This quality of Tom is certainly what led him to found the Virginia Holistic Justice Initiative, whose core mission is to understand the underlying factors that lead to incarceration in attempt to care for the individuals at the root of their problems. This is also what makes him such a great leader. As an intern, I was able to witness first hand the way he communicated with clients. On one occasion, he let us sit in on a meeting between him and a client. We were able to hear the types of questions he asked and the types of assurance he would give when he was confident he would get the man a good deal. Witnessing these sort of interactions made the rest of us more willing to view Tom as a good leader and follow him and do good work for him because we saw him as someone worth emulating.