Manfred Kets De Vries, in “The Leadership Mystique,” contends that emotional intelligence (EQ) is actually more substantial in higher levels of leadership than IQ. He writes: “And people who possess emotional intelligence are more effective at motivating themselves and others. Such individuals also do better when placed in a leadership position, because they’re better equipped to track down the rationality behind irrational behavior.” He also indicates that executives are often “out of touch with their feelings. The many years of conformity on the corporate path have blurred the distinction between their own feelings and the feelings that are expected of them.” So executives need emotional awareness, and often are emotionally inept because “they don’t pay attention to their inner world. In fact, they keep themselves busy just to make sure they don’t have time to reflect. It’s rarely a conscious avoidance, but it’s avoidance nonetheless. They run faster and faster, giving very little thought to what they’re running for or where they’re running to.”
It isn’t much of a stretch to draw a line between the need for emotional health and the general lack of emotional awareness from business leaders over to pastors, especially those of my generation and older. I distinctly remember a homiletics class that scolded me for being too authentic with my feelings. That sentiment wasn’t uncommon. In some ways, the elevated image of the “professional pastor” was very thoughtful, somewhat stoic—or at a minimum, above the everyday ordinary ups-and-downs of life. The image of the professional pastor had little to do with actual emotional awareness and health; it had more to do with the ability to suppress and hide one’s emotions. That’s not to say there weren’t plenty of classes on pastoral counseling and practical theology—but they were all designed to make one adept at handling the emotions of others but not necessarily developing your own emotional awareness and health. So I’d concur with Kets De Vries, but I’d adjust the words he uses: pastors don’t pay attention to their inner world. Pastors keep themselves busy to make sure they don’t have time to reflect. Pastors can be so focused on church life, and church performance, they can’t differentiate themselves from their churches.
A healthy way forward—for pastors or any Christ-follower—is outlined in another book: Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero. The premise of the brutally honest book is that “It’s impossible to be spiritually mature, while remaining emotionally immature.” Scazzero advocates the integration of emotional health and the life in Christ. How? Through contemplative spirituality—a life with God that will form you into the person God intends. As a result, you’ll experience a level of emotional health unavailable through any other means.
Kets De Vries pulls off the cover and looks at what lurks beneath. Most people don’t want to do that. But he also acknowledges that people can change, if they will slow down and reflect on their lives. Scazzero presents the same basic insight. We need to slow down and get to know ourselves, so that in knowing our selves better we can know God better too. As Christ-followers there is always hope: hope because we can change, we can mature. Emotional intelligence and spiritual formation go hand in hand. God’s Spirit in us makes it possible. Practically, we can adopt some spiritual disciplines, create a system of spiritual practices that keeps our union with God our greatest priority and creates margin in life necessary for relational and emotional health.
 Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, The Leadership Mystique: Leading Behavior in the Human Enterprise, 2nd ed. (Harlow, England.: FT Press, 2009), 17.
 Ibid, 26.
 Ibid, 46.
 Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: It’s Impossible to Be Spiritually Mature, While Remaining Emotionally Immature (Nashville: Zondervan, 2014), 1.
 Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, 47.