This mixed methods research examined leaders' emotional intelligence and discipline of personal mastery. Emotional intelligence is an important component of effective leadership (Bass, 2002; Caruso, Mayer & Salovey, 2002; George, 2000; Megerian & Sosik, 1996; Sosik & Megerian, 1999). It is defined as the capacity for recognizing one's own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions effectively in ourselves and others (Goleman, 1995). Similarly, personal mastery is important for effective leadership (Covey, 1989, 1990; Senge, 1990; Senge et al., 1994). Personal mastery is the lifelong process of personal growth and learning where one is continually expanding themselves and their abilities to achieve the results they desire in life (Senge, 1990). The discipline of personal mastery is a regular, intentional personal growth practice designed to quiet the mind and cultivate capacity for deep concentration and insight. Goleman and other theorists have laid the groundwork for research in the development of emotional intelligence competencies in the workplace (Goleman, 1995, 1998b, Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002). Senge (1990, 1994) established the foundation for research examining leaders' discipline of personal mastery.
This mixed methods study followed a sequential explanatory design to explore the relationship between the discipline of personal mastery and emotional intelligence and to understand leaders' experience developing and sustaining a discipline of personal mastery. Forty one leaders, from two organizations in southeastern Wisconsin, were administered the Emotional Social Competence Inventory, (ESCI 360). This is an objective assessment of emotional competencies designed by Goleman and Boyatzis (Hay Group, 2006), which measures the emotional intelligence of self and incorporates the feedback from five colleagues. The personal mastery of leaders was assessed with a researcher designed survey used to gather data about frequency, duration, and length of time engaged in personal mastery practices. To further understand individual leaders' discipline of personal mastery experience, follow up interviews were conducted with 10 leaders who rated themselves high in the discipline of personal mastery.
Findings revealed significant, positive correlations between leaders' discipline of personal mastery and two emotional intelligence domains; self-awareness, as rated by others; and social awareness, as rated by self. In addition, leaders described increased self-awareness, self-control, adaptability, empathy, and relationship management as outcomes of their discipline of personal mastery practices.