Posted by Evangeline Allen on Jul 06, 2019
Rev. Christopher Roberts address at the Club's Handover Ceremony at Royalton Resort, Saturdy, July 6, 2019.
It is a privilege and an honor to be addressing you tonight. I must admit that when I received the call asking about addressing the group it was truly a surprise because I did not see myself in a role as this. I want to say special thank you to the Rotary Executive for the invitation.
Recently in Trinidad I attended a presentation entitled Emotional Intelligence for Religious Leaders. Leaders in general I believe need to become aware of their emotional Intelligence whether we are in business leadership, educational leadership, leadership in organizations such as Rotary. There is a need for leaders to pay particular attention to their emotions.
Many persons are chosen as leaders because of their IQ; their cognitive ability but there is a body of research emerging that is suggesting that IQ and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) work well together for better leadership.
According to West, Oswald and Guzman organizations whose work involves helping people needs well developed Emotional Intelligence leadership. Emotional intelligence has been defined as the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to differentiate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. Otherwise stated, for us to productively perform our duties and survive the emotional rigors of organizational leadership, we need to be able identify, comprehend, and manage our emotions both internally and externally. Put simply, Emotional Intelligence can help us to process our feelings and to address the emotions of others constructively.
Daniel Goleman has posited that self awareness is the foundation of Emotional Intelligence which in turn is effective to organizational leadership.
Interestingly Jesus encouraged emotional self awareness in his disciples as shown in Matthew 7:3 -5. Why do you look at the speck in your in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the plank out of your own eye then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother.
With EQ we learn what triggers us emotionally when working with other people and how to address this in a healthy way. Without it our judgment can be clouded by emotional baggage and our leadership impaired.
Most of us dedicate our lives to helping people because we feel a healthy responsibility to serve others. However, according to research, our reasons to serve can also include an unconscious attempt to write the wrongs of the past. This obligation can be attributed to childhood trauma and corresponding feelings of guilt, which motivates us to serve others in an attempt to repay this perceived debt. For example, a child who has lost a parent may join an organization that helps children who have lost a parent due to a deep seated need to rescue others since he/she was unable to save the parent.
Developing our emotional self awareness can help us understanding why we are part of the service groups we have membership in. It can also help us to keep the demands of leadership in proper perspective and protect us from unhealthy habits such as over commitment, self neglect and people pleasing. It keeps one from attempting to accomplish more than we should and from working ourselves to death.
Emotional Intelligence causes us to check our ego so that it doesn’t unduly sway attitudes and decisions. It is worth noting that our ego isn’t something that we can eliminate; it is a permanent part of us. It is like a full time litigator that persistently mouths a vigorous defense on our own behalf. It is quick to plead our case over any perceived rumour, perception of failure or challenge to our moral high ground. One theologian explains that our ego’s primary aim is to eliminate all negative feedback so that we can feel blameless and superior to others.
Some examples of ego driven behaviours are:
  1. We need to prove that we are right most of the time.
  2. We find ourselves highly critical of others in the same field.
  3. We worry about members supplanting us in our position.
  4. We have difficulty giving others credit for their ideas
  5. We are unhappy unless we feel that we are winning, beating someone else.
Ego maintains a close relationship with excessive pride. Excessive pride occurs when our ego becomes inflated by our accomplishments. Once excessive pride infects our attitudes, it can be difficult to remember the good reasons why we took on the role of leadership.
We can be tempted to build our empire, carve out a legacy or strive to accomplish great things. This attitude of self promotion can dilute our call and damage our leadership. Left unchecked our ego will drive us to become our worst enemy. It is therefore essential for us to remain aware of how our ego can lead us into temptation and thus affect the leadership role. Proverbs 16:18 reminds all leaders that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
The antidote for an inflamed ego and excessive pride is humility. With humility we know who we are and realized that we are doing our best. True humility relieves the tension between striving to be exemplary leaders and knowing our limitations. In short, we are unable to increase our emotional self awareness without a humble attitude. Once we learn to accept ourselves as flawed human beings, living among similarly faulty people, our sense of self can gain equilibrium. It is at that point we can find emotional rest because our ego can relax.
As Thomas Merton wrote, pride makes us artificial, and humility makes us real. In the pursuit of humility I hasten to caution not to allow our ego to become crushed, lest we experience humiliation or shame. With humility we can maintain our dignity; however with humiliation we can perceive ourselves to be worthless and useless. We can learn to be kind to ourselves and others. Emotional self awareness permits us to learn more fully about ourselves and safely accepts what we discover whether we consider it to be attractive or unattractive.
Emotional self awareness causes us not to dwell on perfectionism. Perfectionism causes us to look at things as good or bad. Unfortunately our self perceptions often get stuck on the bad.
Examples of perfectionism are:
  1. We beat up ourselves when we make a mistake.
  2. We never feel as if we have accomplished enough to rest.
  3. We blame ourselves every time a member is unhappy.
  4.  We push ourselves to be more successful after each accomplishment
Once perfectionism infects our hearts and our minds it influences us to demand excellence and faultlessness from ourselves and everyone around us. However the focus of our work is human beings and humanity is imperfect. One thing I am sure that we can all attest to is that we are perfectly imperfect. Therefore our work can never be perfect.
What I have shared with you about Emotional intelligence and Emotional Self Awareness is just the tip of the iceberg. Without emotional self awareness we lack the resources needed to address our own emotional confusion, much less handle the complex emotional issues in our organization. By growing our emotional self awareness, we can learn our strengths and weaknesses, purify our motivations for serving others and find peace with the entirety of our personality and humanity.
I wish the incoming executive God’s richest blessing and may your tenure be a fruitful and worthwhile endeavour;
Thank you and Goodnight.