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Building an Emotionally Intelligent Team

Learn how to develop emotional intelligence in your leadership team.

building an emotionally healthy team-4

How do you screen for emotional intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence is one of the trending catchphrases in the church leadership world these days, and for good reason: leaders with high EQ build healthier teams, healthier cultures, and create a far more stable environment. While it is easy to find discussions on the importance of EQ in the church world, it can be a struggle to discern the level of EQ possessed by a potential teammate.

MIT Sloan Management Review recently shared three questions to ask someone in order to gauge their emotional intelligence level in a sales context, that I think are a great starting place for church leaders who are looking to add members to their staff or volunteer team:

  • Question 1: How do you establish trust?
  • Question 2: If you worked for your top competitor, how would you beat yourself?
  • Question 3: Can you use a belief statement to explain the value of what we offer?

My assumption is that your questions would differ slightly from these, but the thought behind them is helpful. In each of these questions, you are looking to develop a sense of how someone thinks, how aware they are of their strengths and weaknesses, and how they will communicate about your church to the world around them. The question I find most helpful though, is the second one... here's why: someone with emotional intelligence is aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

In a traditional interview, the interviewer asks someone to share their weaknesses. This is where a candidate talks about how they work/care/preach/witness too much. It is a humble brag answer that does no one any good. A savvy interviewer will ask a question similar to the second question above which encourages someone to be honest about their weaknesses. In the words of the author, these types of questions allow us to get a sense of how someone's weaknesses will affect our teams, whether they are aware of these weaknesses, and if they know how to compensate for them. When interviewing a candidate for a church position, I will typically ask questions like there:

  • Tell me about the people you need to surround yourself with to be successful?
  • Where are you most likely to struggle in this role and how do you foresee yourself overcoming those struggles?
  • Our greatest strengths tend to be our greatest weaknesses... how have you overcome the dark-side of your strengths in the past?

I'd love to hear how you have successfully done this... what questions have you found helpful when attempting to discern someone's EQ level?




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Matt Steen

Matt Steen

Matt has served the local church for over two decades as a youth pastor, church planter, and executive pastor. Originally from Baltimore, Matt currently lives in Orlando, with his wife Theresa, and has a B.S. in Youth Ministry from Nyack College and an M.Div. and MBA from Baylor University. Certified as an Urban Church Planter Coach by Redeemer City to City and as a StratOp facilitator by the Paterson Center, Matt has made a career of helping churches thrive through intentionality, clarity, and creating healthy cultures. He is convinced that a healthy church is led by a healthy team with great chemistry, and loves partnering with Chemistry’s churches to do great things for the Kingdom.

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