A Leader’s Spiritual Presence

Spiritual Intelligence Skills Part 4

How do wisdom AND compassion show up in your role as a teacher/mentor/leader? Sometimes it’s easier to be wise than compassionate. As a leader, you are probably capable of surveying a situation and logically planning a solution or plan of action that will get the job done, make a decision, or take the next step. You get how to be wise. Yet, the logical, efficient, practical step is not always the most compassionate one. This is challenging for me. One of my biggest lessons as a missionary living in Romania was coming face-to-face–no, hitting the wall–with my worship of efficiency.

As a Western, American Christian, I have been trained by my culture to want to save time, get more done, and expect to see positive evidence of my hard work or thorough research. Guess what . . . the rest of the world does NOT live that way! What an eye-opener! Efficiency and constant productivity are not the priority in other cultures.

I had to learn to adjust my expectations and realize that my time may have other purposes than what I imagine. I am still learning some great lessons from other cultures about how to focus on the moment, the people in the moment, and the value of leisure time. This kind of focus can help me find my compassionate side. Every moment does not have to be about accomplishing something tangible! Sometimes, all the moment needs is compassion and my willingness to be a spiritual presence. I find that challenging to my gotta-get-it-done mode of operating!

So how does this fit in with Spiritual Intelligence? The last few posts have been about the 16 skills listed in the first three of four quadrants on the SQ21 chart of 21 spiritual skills. This post is about the fourth quadrant entitled “Social Mastery/Spiritual Presence” and includes these five skills:

17. Wise and effective teacher/mentor

18. Wise and effective leader/change agent

19. Makes Compassionate AND Wise decisions

20. A calming, healing presence

21. Being aligned with the ebb and flow of life

As we develop in the skills listed in the other three quadrants of this SQ21 model, we will be growing in areas that will be demonstrated in this fourth quadrant, also known as the “outcome” quadrant. These five skills reveal our growth (or lack of) in the other three quadrants. Quadrant 4 skills are focused on your impact on others.

For example, as I begin to understand my own worldview and how it affects everything I do and then I realize other people, especially from other cultures, have different worldviews that are affecting the way they behave, then that means I am making a conscious effort to be more Self/self aware (Quadrant 1) and more universally aware (Quadrant 2). As I continue my spiritual growth with a mindful effort to let the Spirit be in charge more often than my ego is and with a concerted effort to grow in ways that will sustain my faith in difficult times, then my Self/self mastery is developing (Quadrant 3). As all of those skills continue to develop, then they will be evident in my abilities to be a wise and effective teacher/leader and in my ability to bring a calming, healing presence (or not) to any situation.

Your personal relationships are the places where these Social Mastery/Spiritual Presence skills are revealed as growing well or needing some work. If you are beginning to experience an easier time with the difficult people around you (at home, work, church, or community), then that is probably an indication that you are beginning to see some growth in Social Mastery. If you discover that a feeling of peace fills your decision-making processes more than a feeling of stress, then you are making steps toward bringing a spiritual presence to a situation. We will never perfect these skills, yet we can be conscious of our efforts to develop them. And for the Christian, the ultimate goal is always to become more like Christ.

Consider how Christ would answer the following questions about himself:

Do you bring a calming presence to others?

Can you keep your heart open?

Do you act from Compassion?

Can you act from Wisdom?

Are you a powerful leader by virtue of your inner strength and humility?

Of course, Christ could answer a resounding YES to each of those questions. After all, he is the embodiment of compassion, wisdom, strength, and humility.

Now, go back and ask those questions of yourself. These are the questions that let me know quite quickly where I need to let the Holy Spirit work on me.

What is so fascinating about the SQ21 Assessment is that each of these skills has 5 levels of measurable competency. While I will never reach the 5th level on all 5 skills on any given day, I can be encouraged that even moving from a 0 to a 1 shows some real effort and a desire to grow.

As a leader, you will have multiple opportunities to develop these skills that reveal your abilities to work with others. You will exhibit these skills whether you choose to develop them or not. Learning to make decisions that are both wise AND compassionate is a challenge for each of us. Thankfully, as Christian leaders, we have access to the empowerment, conviction, and strength of the Holy Spirit.

My friend Sharmon Coleman shared this verse at the Proven Way Coffee Connection gathering which reminds me that there’s a reason to keep developing in my spiritual skills: “Since future victory is sure, be strong and steady, always abounding in the Lord’s work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever wasted as it would be if there were no resurrection” (TLB 1 Cor. 15:58, emphasis mine). Isn’t it amazing how the ONE truth of the Lord’s Resurrection changes everything and gives purpose to everything we do, no matter how small or great.

If you’d like to learn more about the SQ21 Assessment, contact me through my Coaching page and I’ll be happy to get you signed up and explain the fees. 

Join the conversation below in the Comments section: Which is more challenging for you, making wise decisions or making compassionate decisions? Why do you think that is? 


Laura Savage-Rains--coach, speaker, writer--is the founder and author of WomensMinistryCoach.com 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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