- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
If you are aspiring to be a leader in business, there are so many things to be aware of. Your team moral, responsibility, clients, the face of the company, damage control and…emotional intelligence?? Can someone fill me in please!
We’ll explain emotional intelligence in more detail shortly, but what we can tell you is that it can get you very far in business! Plus, once you master it, emotional intelligence can make you a very effective leader.
Leaders must keep their emotions in check. Especially when they are faced with difficult challenges. Letting your emotions get in the way may lead to making rash decisions that can end up having adverse short or long-term effects.
The word emotional intelligence is no oxymoron. It allows you to be aware of your feelings while being smart about your decisions.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of, control, and evaluate the emotions you are experiencing. Emotional intelligence is not necessarily something we are born with, like most social skills, it must be learned and developed.
You want to have the ability to express your emotions, but at the same time, you need to learn how to control them. You also want to understand, translate, and respond to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is a two-way street. Understanding each other’s emotions can play a huge role in how problems get solved.
For example, you not only want to be aware and observe that someone is clearly upset, but you also want to go the step further and understand why they may be feeling that way, and what you should do to calm the situation. Someone with high emotional intelligence will be able to identify how that person feels and find a solution where both people feel better.
Emotional intelligence in business and why it’s important
As a business leader, one of your main responsibilities is being able to preserve the well-being of your employees. You can’t control what goes on in their life outside of the office, however, when they are under your duty of care, it’s up to you to ensure they feel supported, equal and valued in the workplace.
Think of emotional intelligence as the ability to read the emotions of your employees. That’s why it is so important to know when to step in just before things boil over. A member of your team is feeling frustrated. Before they become short with a customer, tell them to take 5, grab a coffee or talk through the issue.
Your employee’s mental health is important. It affects their performance, productivity, and the general morale of the team. You know that people will not be on top of their game if their emotions aren’t in check. That’s why it is important to let your employees know that if something is wrong, you are willing to listen.
Be the best boss and provide them with a few resources to help get them back on the right track. Don’t take on too much, just do what you can to make sure they get the help they need.
If someone is having a bad day in general, you need to recognise it and do what you can to not make the situation any worse.
How do I develop my emotional intellect?
Firstly, it’s always a good idea to build your self-awareness. Self-awareness will heighten your understanding and allow you to recognise which emotions you or others are expressing.
Secondly, make sure you are aware of self-regulation. This is the ability to keep your emotions in check.
It’s important that you keep your feelings of anger, jealousy, or anything similar at bay when you are dealing with clients, striking a deal or working in a team. Really think before you make an important business decision. Ask yourself, am I letting my emotions get in the way here? Am I being objective or do I need to hear the opinion of a second party?
One important building block of emotional intelligence is empathy. You need to know and understand how the other person is feeling. The more empathetic you are, the better.
It’s also important to build up your social skills if you seem to be lacking in that department (which is completely okay we all have different strengths).
When you make a misjudgement, be sure to hold yourself accountable and take responsibility where it’s needed. As we mentioned, emotional intelligence is not just something that you perform once and remember it for next time. It’s a skill that you develop and get better at over time.
Self-evaluation and observation are two skills that you’ll put to good use when practicing emotional intelligence. Be sure to identify your strengths and weaknesses when doing this. It’s an ongoing process, but you’ll get the hang of it, none of us as perfect!
As you can see, emotional intelligence is such a key skill to possess as a business leader. You need to be aware of how you’re feeling and how this affects the atmosphere or work culture around you.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell