Being an Emotionally Healthy Leader

Many people find themselves responsible for leading others. Most of us function as part of a team in some form or fashion. It’s important for us to have an understanding of team building and culture, no matter what role we play. However, a firm grasp of these two concepts is imperative for anyone in a leadership position.

I’ve been fascinated with how teams work since I was a kid hoping to get picked on a team…any team. I wasn’t always the last one picked, but I was rarely ever the first kid chosen. Part of what I learned back then was that networking and competence were important in getting on a team. Building relationships and developing our skills are keys to being chosen on any team. People like to pick people they a) know and b) trust. Being the new kid on the block meant I had to work extra hard to prove myself. I’m sure that’s been true for many of you, too.

My work experience has also taught me the importance of teamwork and the value of developing a culture that helps people flourish and feel like they matter. The old adage that happy employees yield positive results is as true today as it has ever been. What makes for a happy employee can vary greatly between different generational cohorts. Traditional era employees and Baby Boomers don’t respond to the same stimuli as Gen-Xers or Millenials. Different values, attitudes, and behaviors differentiate each present generation from the next.

Creating an emotionally healthy culture and building a healthy team are among the primary tasks for every leader. -Peter Scazzero, The Emotionally Healthy Leader


Team building involves mobilizing a group of people with diverse skills who are committed to a shared vision and common goals. Culture is less concretely defined but consists primarily of unspoken rules about “the way we do things around here.” Often, we get what we expect or what we accept.

We tend to be what we believe. That’s why it’s important to guard our hearts for from them flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). A negative self image runs counter to how God sees us. He does not see us for our failures but for who He designed us to be.

We cannot separate the individual from his/her spiritual condition. Like it or not, matters that impact the soul affect the worker. This involves addressing conflict and the tough subjects we encounter in the workplace. Leaders must have the courage to tackle the elephant in the room. We must also model the behavior we want. Saying one thing and doing another simply doesn’t work long-term. Guarding our integrity is vitally important. Being competent in our field of expertise is also a key ingredient that leaders should bring to the table if they are to be taken seriously. None of us would ever get on a plane piloted by someone with no flying experience, training, or knowledge. Similarly, people will not follow a person who is incompetent. Competence builds trust. Trust is an integral component of being an effective and emotionally healthy leader.

Serving people as an emotional healthy leader may seem a lot like leaving familiar things behind to explore vastly unfamiliar territory. The task for Christian leaders is more demanding because the kind of culture and teams we create should be radically different than those of the world.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23

As leaders, we are charged with setting the expectations and reinforcing the boundaries for our teams as we nurture a culture pleasing to God. We should strive to be prayerful and thoughtful about each member of our team in order to serve them well as their leaders.

May God guide you as you seek to lead others and serve as part of a team. Prayerfully consider what a godly culture at your workplace might look like and ask the Lord to help you develop it.

The Devotional Guy™

Source(s): Scazzero, Peter (2015). The Emotionally Healthy Leader: How Transforming Your Inner Life Will Deeply Transform Your Church, Team, and the World. Zondervan. Grand Rapids, Michigan.



  1. Lily Pierce says:

    I love what you said about having integrity and building trust. “We should strive to be prayerful and thoughtful about each member of our team in order to serve them well as their leaders.” This is also important! In the introductory course at Lay Servant School, we teach people how to practice “servant leadership” and related skills like true listening. Great post, Rainer!

    Liked by 1 person

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