ūüė©Emotional Intelligence vs. Emotional Mastery

by | Jun 14, 2024

As leaders, ‚Äúsoft skills‚ÄĚ can be the most challenging yet most important to master. Understanding and managing our emotions is more crucial than ever because leaders set culture by what they do, don‚Äôt do, allow, or don‚Äôt allow.

While emotional intelligence (EQ) and emotional mastery are often used interchangeably, they represent different stages of development. Intelligence (the ‚Äėknowing‚Äô) is not the same as mastery (the practice of ‚Äėeffectively doing‚Äô).

In this post, we will explore the distinction between emotional intelligence and emotional mastery and provide questions for self-awareness and practical steps to grow in emotional mastery.

Emotional Intelligence: The Foundation

Emotional intelligence, popularized by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s, refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It encompasses four main components:

1. Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize and understand our own emotions.

2. Self-Management: The ability to control our emotions and adapt to changing circumstances.

3. Social Awareness: The ability to understand and empathize with the emotions of others.

4. Relationship Management: The ability to manage interactions and relationships effectively.

Emotional intelligence is the foundation upon which emotional mastery is built.

‚ÄúKnowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.‚ÄĚ ~ Aristotle

Emotional Mastery: The Next Level

While emotional intelligence lays the groundwork, emotional mastery takes it a step further.

Emotional mastery is¬†consistently practicing and developing the muscle of intentionally and consistently maintaining¬†control¬†over our emotions. Much like going to the gym to work out consistently builds stronger muscles.ūüí™ūüŹľ

It involves mastering the ability to use our emotions as indicators, transforming our emotional responses to enhance our overall well-being and personal growth while also leading our team by example in this area.

Leader Self-Assessment Exercise:

The following questions are designed to prompt self-reflection and provide insights into various aspects and levels of emotional mastery, helping leaders identify areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement and growth.

Set aside quiet time to explore these 24 questions to assess your current level of emotional mastery. Consider journaling your answers and noting key areas of strength and any areas you want to pay more attention to…


1)    How often do you take time to reflect on your emotions and what triggers them?

2)    Can you easily identify when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed?

3)    Do you understand the impact your mood has on your thoughts and actions?

4)    How aware are you of your strengths and weaknesses in handling emotional situations?

5)    How do you respond to feedback regarding your emotional behavior?

6)    Can you describe how you typically react to unexpected challenges?


1)    How do you ensure your emotions do not interfere with your decision-making process?

2)    How do you handle frustration or anger in high-pressure situations?

3)    Can you stay calm and collected when facing unexpected changes or difficulties?

4)    How effectively do you manage stress and prevent it from affecting your performance?

5)    Are you able to motivate yourself to stay focused on long-term goals despite setbacks?

6)    How do you maintain a positive attitude when dealing with daily challenges?

Social Awareness

1)    How well can you read the emotions of others in a conversation?

2)    How often do you find yourself empathizing with others’ perspectives and feelings?

3)    Are you aware of the emotional climate in a room and how it might affect group dynamics?

4)    How do you adjust your communication style based on the emotional state of others?

5)    How effectively do you listen to understand, rather than to respond?

6)    How do you handle situations where others are experiencing strong emotions?

Relationship Management

1)    How do you approach resolving conflicts in a way that preserves relationships?

2)    What strategies do you use to create a positive and inclusive environment in your team or organization?

3)    How well do you provide constructive feedback without causing defensiveness or resentment?

4)    How effectively do you build trust and rapport with colleagues and team members?

5)    What support and encouragement do you provide to others in achieving their personal and professional goals?

6)    How effectively do you manage your relationships to build and maintain a strong network?

As a leader, it is important to understand that people on your team are at all points on the scale of both emotional intelligence and emotional mastery.

YOU can be the catalyst for change, growth, and development for your team members by first modeling and then coaching them to higher levels of emotional mastery.

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