Looking in the Mirror

by Grady King – 

Others know it. He doesn’t.

The way he comes across as a leader is hindering his effectiveness. His blind spots are obvious to others: controlling, defensiveness, over-talking, blaming and failure to take responsibility. In short, he lacks self-awareness and is at risk of being told by his elders, “We have decided to go in a different direction.”  As my late friend and mentor, Charlie Siburt often said, “It is about interpersonal incompetence.” To whom will he listen?  Can he? Will he?  If not, he has set himself up for bitterness in his soul.  He is intelligent, theologically astute and does have the gift of preaching. He does not, however, have emotional intelligence.

There are five common categories related to emotional intelligence, commonly referred to as EQ.

He is intelligent, theologically astute and does have the gift of preaching. He does not, however, have emotional intelligence.
  1. Self-Awareness—recognizing one’s emotions and their effects on others.
  2. Self-Regulation—control over the nature and duration of one’s emotion.
  3. Motivation—the desire to be open, grow and set goals.
  4. Empathy—recognizing and acknowledging the feelings of others.
  5. Social Skills—understanding, negotiating and disagreeing without being disagreeable.

The Beatitudes (Mt 5.3f); Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5.22-23) and the description of love in 1 Corinthians 13.4-7 is about growth, self-awareness and maturity. All the characteristics have social impact and are various ways of being Christlike, filled with the spirit and functioning in community.

Leaders who will not look in the mirror and examine self will eventually lose credibility and be talked about or worse, ignored. People can be very sophisticated in tuning out ineffective leaders.  Change is possible. Vulnerability is essential.

Here are few questions to ponder.

Leaders who will not look in the mirror and examine self will eventually lose credibility and be talked about or worse, ignored.
  1. What emotions are you experiencing as a leader right now?
  2. How do these emotions impact your behavior?
  3. Which emotion recurs on a frequent basis?
  4. Who do you need to talk to about this emotion to release it?
  5. For what will you take responsibility and seek help?

Here are some helpful things to do to look in the mirror?

  1. Ask people who know you well to share what they experience with you.
  2. Seek out a mentor or coach for guidance on a regular basis.
  3. Ask your spouse for honest observations about your behavior.
  4. Take a personality inventory with a professional person who will speak truth.
  5. Pray for God’s direction, courage and humility to grow.

Personal growth is not an option for a leader.  If you don’t grow, you will go.   Pay attention.  Peter has a word for you and knows about looking in the mirror.

Remember—

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.  For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge,  and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness,  and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.  For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble.  For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.  2 Peter 1.3-11

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