Who has significantly impacted you, and why? Who are the people in your life who have left a mark…have contributed to you in a major way? What was/is it about their lives that made a difference?

Those of you who read my book “Leaders Who Last” will remember the words on the sign that Sue Krenwinkle (Palm Springs HS) had up in her office that changed the course of my life.

“Some people come into our lives and quietly go. Others stay awhile and leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same.”

After reading these words, I whispered a prayer, “Lord, make me a person who leaves footprints in people’s lives.” Those words and that prayer sent me down a pathway that I am still on today.

A few years ago, I was reflecting on some people who have left footprints in my life. I thought in particular of three men:

  • Paul Stanley
  • Bruce Van Wyk
  • Jim Peterson

 Each of them, at different points along my journey, had major input in who I am today. But then I asked myself what exactly was it about them? What quality or attribute did they possess, or develop, that made them so influential– not only in my life–but in the lives of countless others.

Jim, Bruce and Paul were very gifted in unique and special ways, but that wasn’t what impacted me.  It was the way they related to me when I was with them. It was the way I felt when around them or in conversation with them.

To put it another way: they had both EQ as well as IQ.  For those of you not familiar with EQ here is a bit of an explanation (quote: courtesy of businessballs.com):

“Emotional Intelligence – EQ – is a relatively recent behavioral model, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’.

“Success requires more than IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring essential behavioral and character elements. We’ve all met people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially and inter-personally inept. 

“The essential premise of EQ is: to be successful requires the effective awareness, control and management of one’s own emotions, and those of other people. EQ embraces two aspects of intelligence:

  • Understanding yourself, your goals, intentions, responses and behavior 
  • Understanding others, and their feelings.“

Allow me to focus on the “understanding and empathizing with others” part of EQ.

What was it with these three guys? It boiled down to this.


  • Had love for me
  • Had interest in me
  • Paid attention to me

They really loved me and cared about me, and for me. At numerous points along my journey they showed interest in what I was learning, what I was wrestling with and gave me strong encouragement and lots of time.  When I was with them, I was the focus of their entire being. No looking around the room for someone more interesting, no focusing on themselves, but fully engaged with me, and what was currently going on with me.

As I travel these days with my seminars, I make the statement that there are two parts of leadership. 

1.  Getting it done

2.  Getting along

Getting it done has to do with achieving results. Getting along has to do with the relationship side of leading.

Most of the leaders attending (by a show of hands) are more task oriented than people oriented; yet it is the relational aspect of leadership that, with me and countless others, has made the greatest impact. Honestly, people don’t care about how much you know, but they do want to know about how much you care (EQ).

I am very much task oriented and have had lots of repenting to do over the years. But, with His grace, I have been focusing on the relational aspects of leadership for quite a while. I’m not what I want to be…I’m not what I’m going to be…but, thanks to the Holy Spirit, I’m not what I used to be.

Here are three conclusions I’ve come to related to the value of EQ:

  • Skill might open the door for leaders, but it takes relationships to keep that door open
  • More leaders fall over relationship issues than competency issues.
  • The fruit of the Spirit (which involves a lot of EQ) is more important than the gifts of the Spirit for longevity in ministry.

Two questions as I wrap this up:

  1. What are you doing as a leader to grow in EQ/fruit of the spirit/truly loving and caring about those you serve as a leader?
  2. What habits or attitudes have crept into your leadership style that you need to repent of so that you can relate in ways that will have greater impact on the people with whom Jesus has placed you?