Improve Your Leadership: 5 Keys to Emotional Intelligence

You’ve heard of IQ, but what about EQ? Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you.

Studies show emotional and social skills are four times more important than IQ when considering success in numerous fields.

The best part? Emotional intelligence can be learned!

Step 1: Self-Awareness

How can you manage others if you don’t know how they view you?

Using methods like a “360 degree feedback” gives those you work closely with the opportunity to tell you how they see you. This doesn’t have to be in-person and can even be anonymous. These methods make people feel more comfortable giving completely honest feedback. Click here to read more on 360 degree feedback examples.

Another big component to self-awareness is having a good sense of humor with yourself! Sometimes with the stress of managing a ministry, we can forget to find humor in difficult situations. Don’t take yourself too seriously, people don’t react well to leaders who are too rigid.

Step 2: Self-Management

In a heated situation, are you able to stay cool and collected? If this is an issue for you, make it a point to stop yourself in the middle of getting worked up and take a quick timeout for reflection or prayer.

Make sure in your everyday dealings to hold yourself accountable! This can be done privately, but if a mistake you made that affects others, make it public as well. Leaders who outwardly admit their mistakes are held in much higher regard by those they work with. Admitting mistakes is actually seen as a powerful move of leadership.

Step 3: Motivation

There are two types of motivation: intrinsic and extrinsic.

If you’re reading this blog post because you’re actually interested in how to grow your church leadership skills, you’re much more likely to learn/apply something. If you’re reading this blog post because I bribe you with money, you’re much less likely to actually learn/apply something.

Studies show again and again that internal motivation is key to successful teams. Being in a leadership position means it’s up to you to inspire others to have internal motivation. This is especially important with volunteers!

Use the power of optimism and the much bigger picture purpose of your church to help inspire intrinsic motivation in others.

Step 4: Empathy

Studies show leaders who master empathy perform more than 40% higher in coaching, engaging others, and decision-making skills.

Naturally, we all make assumptions about people based on our own life experiences or things we’ve read/seen. How can you combat this big barrier to empathy?

Identify situations where you’d lack empathy due to preconceived notions about an individual/group and make a commitment to not fall into that trap. Whenever you’re interacting with someone who fits into one of your preconceived notion groups, make a conscious effort to ignore your assumptions about them.

Step 5: Social Skills

Leading others takes a lot of social skills! One important skill is praising those who work for/with you for a job well done! Learn how to praise individuals and groups based on how they specifically react. Giving a small gift, extra time off, or even just sincere thank you notes lead to employees feeling valued and they’ll work harder!

When conflict arises between those you work with or members of your congregation, handle it openly and with compassion. The goal of conflict resolution meetings should never be about having a “winning” side. Approach each situation with empathy and active listening for both sides. Even if no agreement can be made, make sure there’s a way to move forward.

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