Emotional Intelligence Awareness
My research along with other recent studies clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. (I had to look this up. It means essential, indispensable). Without it, a person can have the best training in the world…but still won’t make a great leader.
I would agree with Goleman. Practical steps to enhance emotional intelligence are a significant component in virtually every coaching engagement I have with leaders. These may be seen as ‘soft skills’ but they are vital to the growing complexity of leadership.
The term “emotional intelligence” draws on two simple concepts: to be “intelligent”, which can be described as the ability to apply knowledge appropriately, and to be “emotionally astute” (or “tuned in”), which means the ability to appropriately manage and respond to emotions. Applying knowledge appropriately is fundamentally about analysis and intuition, and applying feelings appropriately is fundamentally about experience and expression.
Unfortunately, the nature of the subject (both intelligence and emotion) is such that there is a wide range of concepts to do with what is actually going on in the mind, that have yet to be fully resolved or agreed upon. Despite the differences of opinion that prevail, current research suggests that our intellect and our emotions work in close harmony to ensure that our responses are intelligent in a ‘rounded’ or holistic fashion. This means that, the more we use or engage our entire mental faculties to perceive and understand the world around us, the more emotionally intelligent we are likely to be.
A key strength of the emotionally intelligent individual is the capacity to talk about feelings and to accept feedback. Such individuals are happy to discuss their emotional reactions and look for opportunities to gain new perspectives. Such people also have a high sense of self-worth, do not take themselves seriously and are even relatively light-hearted and easy-going in their character. They also:
- Clearly understand values and goals
- Avoid making decisions that create inner values turmoil
- Have a firm grasp of their capabilities
- Continually assess themselves realistically
- Are comfortable talking about their limitations and strengths
- Engage in self-deprecating humour (have a laugh at yourself)
- Are open to continual learning
Emotional intelligence does not describe everything needed for effective leadership, but it does give an insight into the basic question: “Why is it that spiritually committed, caring and even experienced pastors, church staff and other Christian workers often function poorly as leaders?”
A good book on why pastors leave local church ministry is Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wenger’s book Pastors In Transition. Their research makes it clear that most of the time pastors don’t leave local church ministry due to headline issues such as immoral or illegal behaviour. Mostly they leave due to conflict in the congregation or with the denomination, lack of support and feelings related to burnout and frustration.
Through helping pastors enhance their emotional intelligence I have seen many pastors move away from the edge of burnout and step back into fruitful ministry.
How do you monitor your emotional intelligencein your professional role?
Some of these may help:
- Take an Emotional Intelligence Assessment.
- Ask for informal feedback from people close to you.
- Reflect on a regular basis. Set time aside to be alone.
- Write in a journal: writing thoughts makes a difference.
- Work with a coach who has permission to ask the hard questions.
- Exercise and seek out recreation to help you tune out
What step will you take and when to enrich your Emotional Intelligence?
Colin is the Director of ResourceZone International. He has thirty years of ministry experience as a pastor, college lecturer and consultant/coach to consultants, denominational leaders and local church pastors. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emotional Intelligence Style Profile (Online)
- Emotional Intelligence: Skill Builder Booklet – Ministry Specific Resource (PDF)
- Emotional Intelligence: Coaching Guide with Storyboard – Ministry Specific Resource (PDF)
- Emotional Intelligence Storyboard – Ministry Specific Resource (PDF)
- The Emotional Intelligence Pocketbook (PDF Downloadable)