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By Dr. Dan R. Ebener

Fellow, Yeshua Institute

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the seventh in a series of articles by Dan Ebener on leadership in the Catholic Church. They are excerpts from his latest book, Pastoral Leadership: How to Lead in a Catholic Parish.

Emotional intelligence has been described by Daniel Goleman as a more accurate predictor of leadership success than technical or cognitive skills. In fact, your emotional quotient (EQ) is a better predictor of success in life and leadership than is your intelligence quotient (IQ).

These four areas add up to emotional intelligence:

1. Self-Awareness (Mindfulness) = ability to be aware of your own emotions;

2. Self-Control = ability to guide your own behaviors;

3. Social Awareness (Empathy) = ability to identify with the emotions of others;

4. Social Skills = ability to facilitate interaction during emotional episodes.

How to grow EQ

We can train ourselves to become more emotionally intelligent by developing stronger connections between our brain and heart.

Interestingly, research shows that we can strengthen the neural connection between head and heart through religious practices such as reading Scripture, attending Mass, singing hymns, receiving the Eucharist, saying the rosary or practicing Eucharistic adoration.

Emotions contagious

Guiding the interaction of a team during an emotional episode requires a great deal of patience, humility and empathy. The emotions of the leader are contagious. When a leader shows empathy, the people are more likely to empathize as well. They are more likely to trust each other, work as a team, help each other, take the initiative on new projects, participate in the activities of the parish and develop themselves as disciples.

To act with emotional intelligence, we must be fully awake to the present moment. Emotional intelligence engages the mind and the heart. We can train our minds and form our hearts to improve our emotional intelligence by practicing our Catholic faith.  

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