Emotional Intelligence and Leadership


In 1995, psychologist, educator, and author Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence. He followed that with an influential Havard Business Review article titled "What Makes a Leader?" Goleman's work made the case that great leadership depends more on EQ than it does on IQ or technical skills.

Check out this brief video. It features Daniel Goleman explaining a little bit about what emotional intelligence is and why it matters.

We place a lot of value on emotional intelligence in our leaders. That's because leaders that are self-aware, self-controlled, and have empathy and social skills are able to connect with others authentically, serve them well, and motivate them effectively. They see the value of personal growth through community and are able to meet the people they lead wherever they are.

The good news is we can pursue greater emotional intelligence—and the pursuit looks an awful lot like the New Testament's description of life among a community of believers. It looks like the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that the apostle Paul describes as the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

If you want to up your EQ, one of the best ways to do it is to better understand how you're wired. Here are some tools to help you do just that:

  • Myers-Briggs This is a free, simplified version of the assessment, but it will give you a sense of your personality type. That, in turn, may give you insight into your strengths and weaknesses as a leader (we all have both).
  • RightPath This is another personality test. It digs deep. It has offered me a lot of great insight into my own wiring. It's not free, though, and is most valuable when you have someone who really knows how to read it help you interpret and contextualize what it says.
  • "Cast of Characters" breakout from re:group 2011 This talk was delivered by Justin Elam at North Point, Sue Bates and Mark Shull at Buckhead, and Bob Hempen at Browns Bridge. Audio for all three talks, as well as notes and handouts, is available at the linked site, so pick whichever version you prefer.
  • Emotional Intelligenceand The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights by Daniel Goleman.

What tools have you used to help you better understand yourself and your style of leadership?