In Peter Scazzero’s new book, aptly titled The Emotionally Healthy Leader, is a set of questions that can be asked to see if you are an emotionally healthy leader.
Being an emotionally unhealthy leader is not an all-or-nothing condition; it operates on a continuum that ranges from mild to severe, and may change from one season of life and ministry to the next. Use the list of statements that follow to get an idea of where you’re at right now. Next to each statement, write down the number that best describes your response. Use the following scale:
5 = Always true of me
4 = Frequently true of me
3 = Occasionally true of me
2 = Rarely true of me
1 = Never true of me
1. I take sufficient time to experience and process difficult emotions such as anger, fear, and sadness.
2. I am able to identify how issues from my family of origin impact my relationships and leadership—both negatively and positively.
3. (If married): The way I spend my time and energy reflects the value that my marriage—not leadership—is my first priority.
(If single): The way I spend my time and energy reflects the value that living out a healthy singleness—not leadership—is my first priority.
4. (If married): I experience a direct connection between my oneness with Jesus and oneness with my spouse.
(If single): I experience a direct connection between my oneness with Jesus and closeness with my friends and family.
5. No matter how busy I am, I consistently practice the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence.
6. I regularly read Scripture and pray in order to enjoy communion with God and not just in service of leading others.
7. I practice Sabbath—a weekly twenty-four-hour period – in which I stop my work, rest, and delight in God’s many gifts.
8. I view Sabbath as a spiritual discipline that is essential for both my personal life and my leadership.
9. I take time to practice prayerful discernmenmt when making plans and decisions.
10. I measure the success of planning and decision-making I primarily in terms of discerning and doing God’s will (rather than exclusively by measures such as attendance growth, excellence in programming, or expanded impact in the world).
11. With those who report to me, I consistently devote a portion of my supervision time to help them in their inner life with God.
12. I do not avoid difficult conversations with team members about their performance or behavior.
13. I feel comfortable talking about the use of power in connection with my role and that of others.
14. I have articulated and established healthy boundaries in relationships that have overlapping roles (for example, with friends and family who are also employees or key volunteers, etc.).
15. Instead of avoiding endings and losses, I embrace them and see them as a fundamental part of the way God works.
16. I am able to prayerfully and thoughtfully let go of initiatives, volunteers, or programs when they aren’t working well, doing so clearly and with compassion.
Take a moment to briefly review your responses. What stands out most to you? Although there is no definitive scoring for the assessment, at the end of the chapter (page 46 [below]) are some general observations that may help you understand more about where you’re at.
Wherever you find yourself, the good news is that you can make progress and learn to become an increasingly healthy leader. In fact, God has specifically wired our bodies and neurochemistry for transformation and change—even into our nineties! So even if the truth about the current state of your leadership is sobering, don’t be discouraged. If someone like me can learn and grow through all the failures and mistakes I’ve made, it is possible for anyone to make progress in becoming an emotionally healthy leader!
[From p. 46] If you scored mostly ones and twos, your leadership is more unhealthy than healthy, and you are likely functioning emotionally at the level of a child or infant.
If you scored mostly twos and threes, you have begun the journey, but you are likely functioning emotionally at the level of an adolescent.
If you scored mostly fours and fives, your leadership is more healthy an unhealthy, and you are likely functioning emotionally at the level of an adult.