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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

02 Sep '12

The EQ factor in the leadership equation

Posted by T.J. Addington in emotional intelligence (EQ), Healthy leaders, humility
Good leaders have good EQ! They understand its implications, know themselves and tendencies for good and bad, manage their shadow side, are open to input, are non defensive, empathetic and always growing their Emotional Intelligence. 

I am convinced that poor EQ is responsible for more poor leadership behaviors more than any other single factor. One can understand leadership principles, have vision and be able to deliver on it but if one has poor EQ, that one factor will significantly get in the way of their leadership because it negatively impacts those around them.

One must have a desire to grow their EQ but it is not without cost. It means that we are willing to confront, accept and deal with our shadow side. I spoke with leader recently who said, for years people would say he was intimidating and he always figured it was their problem until one day he accepted the fact that it was indeed how he was often perceived and started to manage the behaviors that caused the negative reaction to his communication style.

Here is the reason that many don't grow their EQ. It means that we have to listen to others and hear things about ourselves that we don't want to hear. It means that we must be willing to own the truth of those parts of our behaviors that hurt others and finally it means that we need to manage our behaviors so that they don't negatively impact others. Of course, we become better people, better leaders and are a lot easier to work with when we do.

At its root, good EQ is all about humility. The humility to hear, to learn to modify our behaviors and to not need to be right or to guard our pride and reputation. At its root, bad EQ is often about pride - the defenses we put up so that we don't have to confront the real us. That is why the best leaders are always humble leaders. Humility is the necessary ingredient to face truth in our lives and to commit ourselves to personal growth.

The irony in not owning up to our dark side is that it is not a secret to others. We are the only ones who don't get it. Those around us get it well as they must live with its consequences on their lives. Thus we lose nothing by acknowledging our deficits and working to manage them. In fact, our openness to our weaknesses brings the respect of others. Transparency is a valued asset in leadership.