A lack of growth in EQ is very limiting to the organization’s growth. A team will not perform to their fullest capacity if they are always on edge, or in fear, because of an emotionally immature leader. It’s only a matter of time before that organization implodes. So how do you gain ground and increase your capacity of Emotional Intelligence so you can take your team, church and organization to the next level?
Last week on Inside My Victory: Emotional Intelligence part One we discussed the difference between IQ and EQ. IQ is your intelligence quotient and in our discussions also includes your technical skills. EQ is your emotional quotient and it refers to your emotional ability and mental toughness. We defined EQ as “the measure of an individual’s abilities to recognize and manage their emotions”. It can be simple to recognize when our emotions need an upgrade, but maintaining that discipline in the everyday “whirlwind” isn't always easy.
Today I want to talk about how to gain ground and increase your capacity of Emotional Intelligence.
Employ Reflective Thinking
Reflective thinking is when a leader takes time to reflect on their day, week, or year and reviews how they did in that time. When it comes to EQ, you have to review how you emotionally handled yourself. How did you respond under pressure? How well did you treat your staff, volunteers, teammates, or customers? When you answer these questions honestly and recognize areas in which you need to improve and then seek to improve on them, you will gain ground in your EQ.
“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.” ~Jim Rohn
Leaders often overlook their EQ when they reflect because most leaders are results oriented. We tend to look at the bottom line and the tasks. If the job got done, we don’t care how it got done, we’re just happy it got done.
We need to resist that urge and focus on how the job got done. How did the team responded to me? With excitement? With fear? Out of duty? or passion? The answers to those questions often reveal where I could improve as a leader in my EQ and especially in regards to how I emotionally responded to my team.
Recognize the Expectation Gap
Last week I talked about “the space between what we expect and what we are currently experiencing”. The space between defines conflict. The greater the space between what I expect of my team and what they are actually delivering, the greater the conflict. When I feel tension or frustration, I know I have a growing gap between my expectations and what I am experiencing.
I must define that gap - that’s recognition. Is the gap there because I was unclear with my expectations or because the team is poorly delivering on those expectations? 99% of the time, I need to be more clear. So, when I recognize the problem I can then manage the situation and adjust accordingly.
It's humbling as a leader to admit when your expectations weren't clear. I go to the person I feel I wasn’t clear with and ask them where they are needing clarity and simply talk it through with them until we are on the same page. It’s important to have relationship with you team so that these conversations can happen more easily.
Leadership can get pretty emotional. John Maxwell talks about managing emotions in his book: “The 360 Degree Leader”. He points out that leaders must know when to display emotions and when to delay emotions.
It comes down to a simple question: "What does the team need? Not what will make me feel better?" When we manage our thinking, we’re more likely to manage our words.
[bctt tweet="When we manage our thinking, we’re more likely to manage our words." username="kellystickel"]
I realized as a football coach and as a pastor to learn to read the emotions of the team more than rely on my own feelings. I ask my key leaders all of the time what they are sensing or feeling. I do this to try to identify if what I am feeling and sensing is just me or is it actually accurate for our team. Once I identify how they are feeling I can lead appropriately and adjust my approach.
Develop Team Transparency
Few teams ever reach the level of emotional intelligence where people feel the liberty to be transparent with the leader. Unfortunately. I think the best way for a leader to develop a healthy level of transparency is to invite it and then it’s especially important to guard your responses to that transparency. If you overreact emotionally or defensively then it will send a message to your team that it is not safe to be transparent. So, it’s super important to pay attention to how you react when your team is transparent with you.
Think Long Haul not Short Term
In leadership we constantly struggle with immediate results vs long-term success. This struggle comes under another of the 5 competencies discussed last week. Goleman calls it “Motivation”. Leaders who have learned to manage their “motivation” are highly productive, love a challenge, and are very effective in whatever they do.
Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a church or business, I think emotionally strong people are “in it for the long haul.” They know better than to expect immediate results.
The key to becoming a leader “for the long haul” is to apply your energy and time in measured doses and celebrate each milestone and increment of success along the way. Understand that genuine changes take time.
Base the vast majority of your decisions on the long term effect rather than on the short term. That’s really key, not just in our organizations but in growing your personal capacity for growth.
I often talk about having an agricultural paradigm as opposed to a mechanical one. In agriculture there are seasons. Seasons to plant, seasons to harvest, and seasons to prepare. There are great amounts of time between when a seed is planted and when a harvest is reaped. A farmer knows this and adjusts accordingly.
Wise leaders are always planting for future harvests. For example, We planted our cultural codes into our staff knowing that it would take time for it to manifest into a consistent culture for our team. We did this instead of constantly fixing issues as they arose - that’s a mechanical paradigm. It’s leading by reaction instead of leading with vision.
[bctt tweet="Wise leaders plan long-term. Lead with Vision, not reaction. #wisdom #leader" username="kellystickel"]
Individually, it works the same. Sow seeds daily for the harvests done the road. That most often means daily discipline. If your goal is to be healthy, you will have to eat right, exercise consistently, and sleep right. That’s a daily discipline that doesn't produce immediate results, but certainly pays off in the long run.
Not every leader grows in their EQ, but I think those who do mostly grow in their ability to be self-aware; of their strengths and weaknesses, and then have the ability to self-manage based on those same strengths and weaknesses. Part of that self management is that they are regularly growing themselves, not just in IQ and skills but especially in their ability to be interpersonally effective, stress tolerant and optimistic.
It's gained not given
A lack of growth in EQ is very limiting to the organization’s growth. A team will not perform to their fullest capacity if they are always on edge, or in fear, because of an emotionally immature leader. It’s only a matter of time before that organization implodes.
Many young leaders today are growing up in a culture focused on “entitlement”. It sometimes seems that educational institutions are pushing tolerance wherever there’s emotionally immaturity, and that “toughness” has been pushed aside.
I cannot change the school system or what is being taught to the masses in our Universities, but I can impact the young leaders in my network and team. So, I go above and beyond to train and equip them on the merits of EQ and mental toughness and do what I can to prepare them for the real world.
Because in the real world, being mentally and emotionally tough is vital to ones’ success. Let’s face it, someone is going to disagree with us. Someone is going to offend us and our values. Someone is going to cross our will. So, when that happens how do we handle it? How do we respond?
These are things we need to teach the young leaders in our circle of influence. And if we do that well, I think they will rise as the cream of the crop in the corporate world because they will have been trained and prepared for the real challenges that happen everyday in the business and ministry world.
Treat Problems as Symptoms
You must develop the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs and even the viewpoints of those around you. I'm not talking about “hand-holding” leaders through their every crisis but challenging them to see situations through multiple points of view. Leaders who score high in the “empathy” area are excellent in growing and managing relationships.
Busy leaders are not always good with “empathy”. Sometimes our tendency is to stereotype situations and make snap judgements about people.
So be a thorough investigator of problems. I try to move past assuming things based on the surface problems. I have learned to treat problems at first glance as symptoms. The problem, especially with people, is most often the result of something deeper. I must look past the immediate problem and discover the source — the true problem.
Determine Your Growth Focus
In Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Ideal Team Player” he spotlights 3 characteristics of the ideal team player. They center on whether a leader is HUMBLE, HUNGRY AND SMART, smart referring to interpersonal skills.
Lencioni is very clear in his book that maintaining the perfect balance of all three is very, very difficult. In fact, all of us fall off in one of those three under the right amounts of pressure.
The key, for young leaders, and really for all of us as leaders is to identify which of the three is our weakness. Which one will be affected the most when we are under enough pressure. For some, they will lack humility and under pressure will let their insecurity get the better of them. Others, their hunger will slip and they will shut down and lose drive. Still others will become brash and hard to work with or for because their people smarts will diminish.
The key is to first identify your weakness tendency and then have someone hold you accountable in that area and also grow yourself in that area to strengthen your resolve there. You will be naturally strong in one or two of the three, so focus on growing in the weak areas.
Don't allow excuses like “I’m just not good with people.” or “I’m not naturally a people person” or “I’m an introvert.” be an excuse to limit your growth. Interpersonal skills are just that, they are skills and skills can be learned — by anybody — at any time! There are lots of books and courses and podcasts out there that you can learn from in order to grow in this area. I would recommend starting with the classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.
Devise a EQ Growth Plan
Dr. Daniel Goleman asserts that EQ counts for 80-90% of the factors that distinguish average leaders from outstanding leaders.People with a high degree of emotional intelligence average $30,000 more per year than those with a low degree! In this study they were unable to find a job where performance and pay aren’t tied closely to emotional intelligence. His research indicates that the higher a leader rises in an organization, the less important technical skills become, and the more important EQ becomes. I think he is absolutely right!
It may be more true in church leadership than even in business, because in the church world, our entire world is about people, people, people, so if we lack in EQ we just aren’t going to get very far or last very long.
You need to be aware that EQ is that important and then go to work evaluating your own EQ and devise a plan to grow in that area. Get Dr. Goleman’s book, or books on Mental toughness.
How do you gain ground and increase your capacity of Emotional Intelligence?
- Employ reflective thinking
- Define the expectation gap
- Develop transparency
- Think Long Haul not Short Term
- It's gained not given.
- Treat problems as symptoms
- Determine Your Growth Focus
- Devise an EQ Growth Plan
In Shirzad Chamine’s book “Positive Intelligence” he says the key difference between a star salesmen and an average one is their recovery time from rejection. I think the same is true for star leaders. How quickly we recover from an emotional misstep is key.
The Bible is full of stories of people who had to overcome massive missteps in order to move on. Abraham, Jacob, Jonah, David, Peter, Thomas, Paul and so many more. What was true of you in the past doesn’t have to be true of you in the future. Your past can paralyze you or propel you. The choice is yours! But, I want to encourage all who are listening to choose to move on and focus on your future. Because, we all need you at your best…
- Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
- The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni’s
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
- Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine
- No Limits: Blow the CAP off Your Capacity by John Maxwell
- 177 Secrets of the Mentally Tough by Steve Siebold
- Thinking for a Change by John Maxwell
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