If you think you’re leading, and yet no one is following, you may just be taking a walk.
Emotional intelligence is a key characteristic in any leadership role. Understanding people, and the ways they follow (or don’t follow) your leadership, is a critical role in ministry especially. A leader needs to have that intuitive, gut-level sense of whether people are with you. Are they behind you? Or are they merely tolerating you? Do people want to hear from you? Do they ask with excitement about what’s coming up next in your ministry? Or are people consistently questioning and criticizing what you are doing?
Just because you’re in a leadership position doesn’t mean you are a leader. Positional leadership is the lowest form of leadership. Emotional leadership—leading from a position of charisma and authenticity—is a higher, more effective form. If you think people are going to follow you wholeheartedly just because of your role, you’re setting yourself up to be sorely disappointed.
Anybody can be hired; few can truly lead. There have been times when I’ve been self-deceived into thinking that people were hanging on my every word and anticipating my every move. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. I didn’t have the sharp emotional intelligence to see that I’d lost some edge. Just because I’d successfully led in the past didn’t mean people were still following me at that moment. The last thing I want to do as a leader is take the next hill, reach the top, and realize that I am completely alone.