Emotionally Intelligent Pastoral Leadership

"Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord"
Colossians 3:23

“Location, Location, Location.”
We recognize the way real estate professionals talk about their work. Location of a property is by far the determining factor when deciding whether to take on that property. What about clergy and church staff? What would be our mantra for describing the determining factor for effectiveness and competence? Obviously, we start with faith in Jesus Christ…a robust spirituality. Beyond this, perhaps the following would be our mantra, “Relationships, Relationships, Relationships.” Everything effective and competent clergy and church staff do involves relating with God and people. This means Emotional Intelligence.

Fortunately, the phrase “Emotional Intelligence,” is found in common conversation at this point. Professionals in many fields are regularly exposed to EI concepts through workshops, seminars, webinars and coaching. Often we hear laity referring to their pastor’s Emotional Intelligence when describing the way this pastor goes about ministry. This was not so when we first started offering EI training in 2005.
But now the vast majority of us in congregations recognize that anyone in relationally-oriented work (like pastoral ministry) must be competent in relationships in order to provide any level of effective leadership.

In case anyone is not up to speed, EI is a set of intra and interpersonal competencies having to do with self-management, relationship pattern recognition and overall healthy relationship advancement. Daniel Goleman popularized the phrase EI through his and his team’s research which was translated into popular language through his many books on the subject. Many inventories are now available, though our preference is from Multi-Health Systems, normed on very strong leaders from various professions in North America, the Baron E-Qi. This inventory is done online, resulting in a lengthy report describing one’s scores in the following EI leadership competencies:

Emotional Self-Awareness
Social Responsibility
Interpersonal Relationship
Stress Tolerance
Impulse Control
Reality Testing
Problem Solving

This month we are administering the inventory to 30 pastoral leaders as part of their training to become coaches with other pastors. These pastors will receive their EI reports in the context of training, identifying their competencies and less developed areas for growth. Why would they invest in such in-depth self-development? They recognize EI as necessary for effectively bringing out the best in others.

Given the world in which we live…
Given the hope of the gospel…
Given the transformational power of the gospel…
Given the sophisticated leadership skill needed for leading congregations in this Postmodern world…
May we pastoral leaders invest in self-development to at least the level of other professions.
This world can’t wait for anything less.

Mark Tidsworth
Pinnacle President