Q: What do many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world have in common?
A: A high level of Emotional Intelligence
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Now included in many management courses, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions and those of the people around you. People with a high level of emotional intelligence understand and manage emotions far better and know how they can affect other people in their personal and business lives.
In business, a good level of emotional intelligence has become an essential ingredient for success.
According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist and one of the first people to market the virtues of emotional intelligence, there are five main elements:
Self-awareness is being aware of your emotions and having the knowledge of how they – and your actions – can affect others. This awareness enables you to recognise particular emotions in others and react accordingly. Self-awareness also means you have a clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses. This gives you the opportunity work on your weaknesses and lead with your strengths.
Self-regulation is the ability to maintain control of your emotions, being able to remain calm, accountable and flexible – and know what your values are. Successful business people use self-regulation to be less reactive. They don’t jump to conclusions about people, make rash decisions, show outbursts of emotion or verbally attack others – and never feel the need to compromise their values.
Self-motivated leaders work consistently toward goals and stay driven and optimistic because of it. They also know that you need to take small steps to reach large goals. A big aid in staying motivated is to re-evaluate and remind yourself of what you want. If you lose focus you don’t stagnate, you simply recoup and get yourself back on track. Above all, keep a positive outlook and find something good, even in something deemed a failure. It will keep your momentum up. Sometimes, a lesson learned is as valuable as the success of a project.
Business people with empathy are able to understand and act positively to the feelings of others so are better positioned to form strong and mutually respectful business relationships. They practice active listening and provide constructive feedback. They can also learn how to develop the skills of staff and are able challenge injustice when required. Put simply, people with a good deal of empathy can inspire others to do great things.
- Social skills
Social skills are essential for motivating, leading and energising others and getting the support of a team. People with good social skills are good at recognising the positive in a situation and resolving conflicts. They are often happy to jump in and get their hands dirty to rectify an issue. Good social skills and good communication skills come hand in hand.
Developing Emotional Intelligence
Aiming to strengthen your skills in these areas will help you in all areas of life, and will become invaluable when it comes to business.
In fact it’s now deemed such an important skill, many courses in management incorporate emotional intelligence as part of their program.
Emotional aptitude is a “meta-ability”, determining how well we can use whatever other skills we have, including raw intellect . ― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
Emotional self-control – delaying gratification and stifling impulsiveness – underlies accomplishment of every sort. ― Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ