Peter Salovey and John Mayer were the first to define the modern concept of emotional intelligence:
emo·tion·al in·tel·li·gence | \ i-‘mo-shnel in-‘te-le-jen(t)s \
The ability to monitor one’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.
Now, contrast that with another definition:
mas·tery | \ ‘ma-st(e-)re \
Display of great skill or technique.
Emotional intelligence provides a great foundation, but it’s still all in the head. It doesn’t automatically translate into superior leadership any more than great hand-eye coordination makes you a world-class golfer. Mastering a skill takes years of experience, struggle, experimentation, and coaching to truly perfect the craft.
That's why we prefer to call it emotional mastery.
Developing leaders with a high level of emotional mastery takes time, but they are the people who propel businesses forward.
Emotional masters have these in common.
They have a deep level of self-awareness, and they’re able to regulate their emotions in ways that allow them to move with ease among the different roles and situations required of a leader.
In the last week, I’ve had to toggle back and forth between being a strategist, a detailed operating executive, a source of energy, a caring and inspirational motivator, and an impatient, difficult, and demanding boss.
Can your leaders do that?
Coach Mike Krzyewski says it best: “Sometimes I need to show my team the face they need to see.” It’s all about the team — not the leader’s feelings or ego.
Communication comes easily to them. They never seem to be rushed and are able to create a special connection with any kind of audience. They have a genuine interest in other people and it is apparent to everyone. They listen most of the time yet still have profound impact.
Does your organization need more of these leaders?
I encourage you to ask the hard questions about the plans that you have in place and the experiences that you are using to develop the best talent.
- Are your learning programs going deep enough to develop true mastery?
- How are you using the best leaders in your organization to help the next generation process and learn from their experiences?
- What does your development process for them look like?
In the end, becoming a master requires a guide. That’s why we’ve always embraced an apprenticeship approach to development. There is no substitute for learning at the side of a more experienced executive.
Make this the nucleus of your development efforts. It will change your culture and accelerate the growth of your leaders.