Understanding and Improving Your Emotional Intelligence

Prior to the 1990s, much weight was placed on one’s IQ. It was assumed that those with higher IQs would do better than those with lower IQs. However, in the early 1990s, managers and researchers noticed something peculiar: Employees that were considered to have average IQs were consistently outperforming those with higher IQs.

What was going on?

The answer was emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is a different type of intelligence. It is an interpersonal, intangible set of abilities. Whereas your IQ is a constant, EQ can be developed and increased. And this is good news. EQ is the top predictor of performance.

According Daniel Goleman, EQ is a grouping of 5 skills: Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. It is these 5 skills that help make an man or woman with average IQ an excellent leader. And so it is these five skills that are worth developing. Let’s look at what defines each skill and some ways we can improve them.

  1. Self-awareness. This is the understanding of personal strengths, weaknesses, values, and how they affect those around you. Over a cup of coffee, have someone you trust help you identify your strength and weaknesses. Write them on a piece of paper so you can see them. Discuss how your strengths can help others and how your weaknesses, if not acknowledged, can cause harm. Consider how this knowledge can help you become more effective for your ministry.
  2. Self-regulation. This is the ability to recognize and regulate disruptive desires and moods. During the next week, right down the emotions you experience. Then, write down what prompted this emotion. Let it sit for a day. The next day, when the emotion has dissipated, ask whether or not acting out of this emotion would have been wise. Over time, you can develop a better perspective that will cause you to think through your emotion-based actions.
  3. Motivation. We have all heard of the term, “self-motived.” This is the ability to drive oneself to achievement. Staying current in your ministry is a great way to get motivated. You should be consistently immersing yourself in content that pertains to your ministry. Read books and blogs. Listen to podcasts, and watch videos.
  4. Empathy. Empathy is the understanding of others’ emotions. It is seeing the world as they see it. You may not agree with someone else’s decision-making, but you can know how to best interact with them. Empathy comes from listening. Listen to what they are saying. Listen to what they are not saying. What images do their words create? What emotion does their tone of voice and pace of talk convey? Silently ask, “How would I feel if I were in their shoes?”
  5. Social skills. This is the ability to develop relationships and move them in a desired direction. As you interact with others, work to find common ground. Try to find something that you both like. It may have to do with the ministry, but it might not. How do you find mutual interest? Ask.

Ministry is relational. For those of us in ministry, the development of these interpersonal skills can be of significant benefit to us and others. Let’s take some time to consider how we can improve our EQ and our effectiveness for our ministries.

What steps do you take to improve you EQ? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Big Results from Subtle Changes in the Words We Say

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *