This week, in my MasterLife discipleship group, we are studying the importance of mastering our emotions; also known as emotional intelligence. In 1995, Dan Goleman wrote a book by the same name. “Emotional Intelligence” impacted and continues to impact, diverse areas of culture, including the business and leadership arena. While the book is based on scientific fact and research, it lines up with what we are taught in the Bible. In fact, emotional intelligence is vitally important as we seek to be an example, and lead others in our spheres of influence.
Emotional intelligence is defined as the recognition, understanding, and mastering of our own emotions. It also speaks to recognizing, understanding and influencing the emotions of others. Practically, emotional intelligence is an awareness that our emotions can drive our behavior and impact people either positively or negatively. The key becomes learning how to manage those emotions – both our own and others, especially when we are under pressure.
“Emotions make good servants but harmful masters. Christ is to be your Master, even of your emotions. He wants to help you use your emotions in a responsible way. Emotions are God-given feelings of pleasantness or unpleasantness. They are reactions to internal or external stimuli. Emotions are not good or bad; you make the choice of whether you use emotions to honor Christ or to harm yourself or others.”
The mature Christian woman has learned to master her emotions by controlling her responses to her emotions instead of letting her emotions control her responses. She learns to rely on the Holy Spirit and resists giving into her flesh. Unfortunately, in my years of biblical counseling, I have spoken to a number of women hurt by a leader who has allowed her emotions to get the best of her. Not only did she justify her bad example, she had no empathy or consideration for the woman she was called to shepherd and care for. Her attitude was one of “domineering over those in her charge, instead of being an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3).”
How do I become an emotionally intelligent leader? There are four steps you can immediately implement:
- Get in tune with your emotions. Read about the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Consider each fruit’s opposite. What fruit of the Spirit might you need to nurture?
- Learn to manage your emotions. What are some verses you can commit to memory to help you control your emotions? Ask a friend to hold you accountable to your goals.
- Get in tune with the emotions of those you lead. Have you put up a wall of self-protection so that others see you as unapproachable? Be vulnerable with those you lead. Go out and have a cup of coffee, and enjoy getting to know the women God has placed in your care.
- Help other women become emotionally healthy. You cannot help another woman master her emotions when you are overwhelmed by your own. Women will look to you as a role model and will require your assistance in balancing their emotional health. Emotional intelligence is vital to team unity.
Enjoy the chart I have included to help you better understand what the Bible teaches about emotional intelligence.