The Emotionally Healthy Leader: Suggested Reading

Most likely, you haven’t read a leadership book like Peter Scazzero’s. That should tell you something.

Most likely, you haven’t considered how keeping Sabbath could make you a healthier leader. That should tell you something.

Most likely, you’ve never been told to “face your shadow.” That should tell you something.

Most likely, you’ve not fully considered how to lead out of your marriage or singleness. That should tell you something.

Most likely, you think this book isn’t for you. That should tell you something.


Indifference: Get Some

My goal in preparing my heart for planning and decision making is to remain in a state Ignatius of Loyola referred to as indifference. By indifference, he does not mean apathy or disinterest. He simply means we must become indifferent to anything but the will of God. Ignatius taught that the degree to which we are open to any outcome or answer from God is the degree to which we are ready to really hear what God has to say. If we are clutching or overly attached to one outcome versus another, we won’t hear God clearly. Our spiritual ears will be deafened by the racket of our disordered loves, fears, and attachments. In such a state, it is almost a forgone conclusion that we will confuse our will with God’s will. Ignatius considered this state of indifference to be spiritual freedom. If we are truly free, he argued, we wouldn’t worry about whether we are healthy or sick, rich or poor. It shouldn’t even matter whether we have a long life or a short one…Arriving at this place of interior indifference and trusting that God’s will is good — no matter the outcome — is no small task. We are attached to all kinds of secondary things — titles, positions, honors, places, persons, security, and the opinions of others. When these attachments are excessive, they become disordered attachments, or disordered loves, that push God out of the center of our life and become core to our identity. (The Emotionally Healthy Leader, Peter Scazzero, p195-196)

With this definition of indifference, here are some practical questions to test your indifference:

  1. If you’re unmarried, are you indifferent towards God’s marital plans for you?
  2. If you’re a parent, are you indifferent to God’s future for your children?
  3. If you’re a leader, are you indifferent to God’s vision for your business/ministry/home?
  4. If you’re close to retiring, are you indifferent to God’s next for you?
  5. If you’re in high school or college, are you indifferent to God’s career path for you?
  6. If you’re employed, are you indifferent to waiting on God for a promotion, recognition, or pay increase?
  7. If you’re unemployed, are you indifferent to God’s timing?
  8. If you’re unhappy, are you indifferent to what God offers as the way to joy?

If you don’t have indifference, what would it take to get some?

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (book review)

Looking in the mirror-sometimes you like what you see, sometimes you don’t. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a look in the mirror of how you deal with emotions.

The daily challenge of dealing effectively with emotions is critical to the human condition because our brains are hard-wired to give emotions the upper hand (chapter 1).

Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves have done more than just put a mirror in our emotional face. They’ve given us something to do when we walk away from the mirror to improve the next look in the mirror. They provide access to the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal which reveals your standing in four skills making up your EQ: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. 

EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence (chapter 2).

After succinctly giving the big picture of EQ, the four skills, and how to develop a personal EQ action plan in the book’s first four chapters, the final four chapters offer 66 strategies of what you need to say, do and think to increase your EQ. Most likely, your EQ is raised just by reading this content. 

The only way to genuinely understand your emotions is to spend enough time thinking through them to figure out where they come from and why they are there (chapter 3).

When you don’t stop to think about your feelings – including how they are influencing your behavior now, and will continue to do so in the future – you set yourself up to be a frequent victim of emotional hijackings (chapter 6).

What you see in the EQ mirror is most likely the product of skills that don’t come naturally to you. If you desire to improve these skills, this book and the resources at the author’s website give you what you need to like more of what you see in the EQ mirror. They recommend reading this book and reviewing the skill development strategies at least once a year-a good recommendation.

Feedback: What do you know about EQ and how important would you say it is?

Leadership and Self-Deception (book review)

…no matter what we’re doing on the outside, people respond primarily to how we’re feeling about them on the inside.

For me, this quote sums up the content of this book. The self-proclamation of the book’s purpose is to educate the reader about their self-deception that is central to their relationship problems. In the fictional approach to the subject, all relationships in a person’s life are brought into the light. The focus is mostly on the work environment, but family relational dynamics are also put under the lights.

You could say that the principles discussed help you analyze your ability to live by the Golden Rule. You could also say, from a biblical view, this book challenges your struggles with pride and tests your production of the fruits of the spirit. Two key principles, among others, that are analyzed are the impulse to blame others for our problems and the tendency to deal with things that are going wrong rather than helping things go right.

Should you read this book? Do you want better family dynamics? Does your team need better communication? Do you want to grow? If you answered yes to any of these questions, get to reading. By the way, it’s an easy read. Fast readers could knock it out in one evening. With intention, you could get it read in a week or two.

Happy Reading!

With is better than For

With is better than for. This is true in marriages, in families, in business, in organizations, in friendships, in life.

In the concept of leadership, consider these principles:

  • Good leaders nurture a with culture not a for culture.
  • Any form of isolation encourages for thinking. 
  • If you view those under your leadership in a for view, you’ll be tempted to be more about the work than the person. This may lead to you consciously or subconsciously offload your work to the for people.
  • If you view those under your leadership in a with view, chances improve that you won’t be tempted to offload your work. You and your team will own the work together.
  • Cultures of for are more prone to be fractured and competitive. Cultures of with are more prone to be unified and supportive.

In any setting, consider these actions to nurture a with culture:

  • Be a delegator. Give others the chance to work with you. Give others the opportunity to own their role on the team.
  • Be approachable. Literally leave your office door open more often. Go to other’s offices spontaneously or even schedule meetings in their space.
  • Go to lunch with each other. You may even need to calendar intentional with lunches.
  • Check your prepositions. Delete fors as much as possible. Be deliberate in saying with.
  • In meetings, ask more questions, give space for everyone at the table to interject. Balance your amount of talking and listening. Listen for any indicators of for thinking and perceptions and immediately address the need to change them. Be a leader in withing.