Skip to content
What makes a great leader?- Henley Business School Suomessa

What makes a great leader?

The five Q’s of leadership

The rules are changing, says Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance and Leadership at Henley Business School, and if you don’t have all five Qs, you may well be left behind.

Andrew Kakabadse has spent a lifetime working with senior business leaders and researching how they behave, and he’s convinced that many of our long-held beliefs and assumptions are simply out of date. “In a mature market, it is very difficult to measure or maintain a competitive advantage”, he says. “It’s a constant challenge to engage with your audiences and stakeholders, and come up with compelling propositions.”

So, what attributes does a leader need in such a market? Andrew Kakabadse believes that it’s changed significantly during the past decade, and it’s a combination of elements he calls the five Qs.

Cognitive and emotional intelligence

The need for cognitive intelligence (IQ) is well documented, and no-one would argue that a leader needs to be able to harness resources, particularly where there are multiple agendas. And an advanced emotional intelligence (EQ) is clearly needed to develop teams to achieve their potential, through managing your own emotions as well as those of others within your team. But Andrew Kakabadse contends that there are others.

Political intelligence and resilience quotient

A political intelligence (PQ) is a leader’s ability to navigate a way forward through diverse stakeholders’ agendas. And a resilience quotient (RQ) is absolutely necessary to cope with the pressures imposed by today’s complex business environment. According to Kakabadse, it determines how self-aware you are, and how able you are to deal with negotiations, and survive across multiple contexts.

Moral quotient

Finally, Andrew Kakabadse would suggest that a moral quotient (MQ) is becoming increasingly vital, taking an ethical approach to the way you lead. “But in many markets, especially in less developed countries, a combination of inequality and corrupt governments has seen the incidences of bribery reaching epidemic proportions, and it is increasingly difficult for middle management, in particular, to impose their emotional and moral intelligence”, says Andrew Kakabadse. “They are often stuck in the middle, facing an impossible task of satisfying both senior management and their clients without succumbing to a delegitimised supply chain”, he continues. Ultimately, such scenarios are unsustainable, as they deliver less value.

These five Qs come together to inform every aspect of leadership, and each of them can, in different ways, be nurtured and practiced through learning and development.

“The world is constantly changing, and our model of what makes a great leader therefore has to be constantly reviewed and refined. But from what the current research is telling us, a balance of the five Qs appears to be the foundation for an effective and sustainable approach to leadership”, he states.

Professori Andrew Kakabadse - Henley Business School Suomessa

Professor Andrew Kakabadse

Professor Andrew Kakabadse is Professor of Governance & Leadership, Programme Director for the Board Directors’ Programme and Boardroom Skills programme as well as Chairman of the Henley Directors’ Forum. He has undertaken global studies spanning over 20,000 organisations (in the private, public and third sector) and 41 countries. His research focuses on the areas of board performance, governance, leadership and policy.

Related content

The social aspect of learning - Henley Business School Finland

The work life value of research skills

  • 22 May 2023
One of the key sets of skills that are strengthened during the Henley EMBA journey are research skills. These are particularly necessary in the composition of the final thesis. But what is the work life relevance of academic research skills? How can I benefit from the research experience in my everyday work?
WACC, CoC and IRR – a psychologist’s guide to corporate finance - Henley Business School Finland

What have I learned about myself during the Henley EMBA?

  • 17 Apr 2023
The EMBA programme in general and the Personal Development module has been a great opportunity to constructively challenge my views and beliefs about myself. I’ve found myself increasingly disagreeing with some identity labels that I previously considered useful and accurate.

Alumni spotlight: Hannu-Matias Nurmi, Chief Executive Search

  • 3 Apr 2023
Just before the global pandemic hit, in early 2020, Hannu-Matias Nurmi took a brave step. He founded a company. Not the most common route to entrepreneurship as Hannu-Matias has a humanistic background. However, nowadays, the company – called Chief Executive Search – employs eight people and is growing.