How Self-Awareness Can Improve Your Leadership

Spiritual Intelligence Skills Part 1

Great leaders understand the need for self-awareness and practice it with the goal of self-improvement. Effective Christian leaders seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in aligning their gifts, talents, and inner selves with God’s work in the world. To start, you need to make use of the tools available for knowing who you are and what you have to offer to world.

The prophet Jeremiah in his book of Lamentations encouraged us to “examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord” (3:40). The apostle Paul reminded us, “Each of you should test your own actions. Then you can take pride in yourself, without comparing yourself to somebody else” (Gal. 6:4). Among tools such as in-depth Bible study, spiritual gifts inventories, and personality inventories, there is a another tool called the SQ21 assessment. It helps you measure your abilities in 21 specific spiritual skills. In this post, I’ll introduce you to the kinds of skills that are measured in the first of four quadrants of spiritual skills.

I wrote about the field of Spiritual Intelligence in last week’s blog post. So, for a review of that, click here or scroll down to the post below this one. Remember, SQ is short for Spiritual Intelligence just as IQ is short for Intelligence Quotient. If you’re in the Austin area and would like to attend my workshop on Spiritual Intelligence on Saturday, September 16, 2017, scroll down to the bottom of this post for more info. 

There are 5 skills in the first of four quadrants measured by the SQ21 assessment developed by Cindy Wigglesworth. They are focused on how aware you are of the difference between your own ego self and your Higher Self. (“Higher Self” is a generic term applicable to any faith background.) For Christians, our Higher Self is the Spirit within us, the Holy Spirit’s presence that guides us into all truth when we allow the Spirit to be in charge. The ego self is spelled with a lowercase s and the Higher Self is spelled with a capital S.

These skills include:

  1. Awareness of own worldview
  2. Awarenesss of life purpose
  3. Awareness of values hierarchy
  4. Complexity of inner thought
  5. Awareness of Ego self/Higher Self

Skill 1: Your worldview is basically the lens through which you view everything and every situation around you. What are the source(s) of your worldview?

Skill 2: Your life purpose is the unique thing you were placed on earth to accomplish. How would you describe your life purpose to someone else?

Skill 3: Your values hierarchy is your ability to name the values that drive your priorities. What is most important to you and why? How can you tell?

Skill 4: Complexity of inner thought is your ability to consider different points of view and contemplate the mystery and paradox of complex situations and decisions. How do you make a difficult decision? How do you deal with multiple viewpoints of the same situation?

Skill 5: You can tell the difference between your ego self’s reactions and your Higher Self’s reactions. You understand the need for your ego self and the need to keep it in check so you can hear your Higher Self and follow it. What do you do to help you listen to your Higher Self–the Spirit?

Are you beginning to see how development in each of these skills can make you a better leader? These skills are necessary in any setting if we want to make wise decisions alongside others. Whether in our home life, our work life, our church life, or just among friends, our Self/self Awareness is an important stage of development we must work on consciously.

If you’d like to take the SQ21 self assessment, please contact me via my Coaching page by filling in the form and I will get back in touch with you about how we can schedule that. It is a fascinating tool that can provide new insights into yourself and your leadership abilities. Cindy Wigglesworth’s book, SQ21 – The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence, is a great resource.

Which of the five skills listed above do you think is most challenging? Start the conversation in the Comments section. 

Growing in Wisdom and Compassion: A Spiritual Intelligence Workshop 

Saturday, September 16, 2017, St. David’s Episcopal Church, Austin, TX 

9 am to 2 pm, Bring a sack lunch. 

$25 payable to me 

Register HERE

  • Learn how you can develop in the four areas of Spiritual Intelligence 
  • Explore the spiritual disciplines and their role in the development of your Spiritual Intelligence 
  • Discover biblical models of Spiritual Intelligence and how to emulate their distinct habits


Laura Savage-Rains--coach, speaker, writer--is the founder and author of who is using her 30+ years of ministry and leadership experience to teach women how to lead with passion. She is a native Texan who has also lived in foreign places such as Alabama and Romania. She makes her home in Lakeway, Texas, with her husband, Mark. She loves to write, speak, and teach the Bible. She is also a women's ministry team member, choir member, stepmom, and Grammy to 3 little girls. She loves dark chocolate with caramel, "The Sound of Music" movie, and Barbra Streisand's music.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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