A Brief Explanation of Emotional Intelligence from Dr. Thom Rainer


Here’s a brief word from Dr. Rainer on Emotional Intelligence (summarized from Daniel Golman’s book Emotional Intelligence). The implications of emotional intelligence within pastoral ministry or leadership in general, are very significant.  In fact, Dr. Rainer says that “ministry leaders who have a healthy emotional iq (intelligence quotient) are likely to have greater ministry benefit.”

So what exactly is emotional intelligence? Rainer submits five facets that comprise emotional intelligence. These are…

  1. Self-awareness – an awareness of your emotional, moods, desires, etc.
  1. Self-control – an avoidance of emotional outbursts, thinking before speaking, as well as someone who is comfortable with ambiguity and exudes an openness to change.
  1. Motivation – a passion for work that goes beyond money or status and the propensity to pursue goals with energy and commitment.
  1. Empathy – the ability to understand the emotional makeup of others and also entails not being sarcastic or making condescending remarks.
  1. Social skills – the proficiency at maintaining relationships and the ability to interact with others.

What does emotional intelligence look like in your life? Dr. Rainer recommends finding someone (1) you trust, (2) you’re comfortable with, (3) that will speak truth and then (4) ask them a litany of questions to help you ascertain your emotional intelligence. Here’s a sampling of some questions he shared:

  • Do you exemplify self-confidence?
  • What energizes you? What drains you?
  • Do you have self-control? Why or why not?
  • Do you speak before thinking?
  • Are you open to change?
  • Are you passionate about your job beyond money or status?
  • Do you respond well to the needs and feelings of others?
  • Do you build relationships well?
  • Do you pursue goals with commitment and passion?

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