Do you have emotional intelligence? As an entrepreneur, leader or stakeholder, having the ability to understand and manage your emotions as well as those of others will have a huge impact on your chances of success.

In this post, we will define and explain how an emotionally intelligent person is always more effective in business.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to read and understand your own emotions, as well as others’ emotions in the context of a particular situation to maximize the result. Even though it is often overlooked as one of the most important entrepreneur characteristics, you may have heard the CEO of LinkedIn, Jeff Weiner assert how important it has been throughout his career.

You have to think of it as a skill set no different from raising money, developing a marketing strategy, building a product, or learning how to recruit employees. Once you accept its importance and make a commitment to working on this skill, you have to understand that it is not a one size fits all scenario.

It is about applying the right approach for a particular individual, at a particular moment. This means reading the person, the scene, and anticipating how it will play out.

Improving your emotional intelligence is a lifelong endeavor. It requires you to nurture many perspectives including:

  • Being aware of your emotions and their effects
  • Regulating those emotions
  • Understanding your motivations and the motivations of others
  • Empathizing with and respecting the feelings and perspectives of others
  • Effectively using different communication styles in different situations.

We must develop this skill to better understand, empathize and negotiate with other people.

Are You Emotionally Intelligent?

How do you know if you are emotionally intelligent? Emotionally intelligent people pay attention to the following things:

  • Feelings – Do you regularly reflect on your own feelings as well as how your actions make others feel?
  • Empathy – Are you able to understand other people’s thoughts, feelings and see things through their eyes?
  • Accountability – Are you able to control your emotions and realize when you react the wrong way?

This is not an exhaustive list but it is a good place to start.

Why Is Emotional intelligence Important?

The concept of being emotionally intelligent was made popular by Dan Goleman in his 1996 book. Hee expanded the term created by two psychologists and researchers – University of New Hampshire’s John Mayer, and Yale’s Peter Salovey.

In the book, Goleman suggested how an extremely emotionally intelligent person is more likely to be successful than someone with a higher IQ and better technical skills.

This is because as entrepreneurs, leaders, stakeholders or managers you must manage the constant human interactions with employees, consultants, vendors, investors, customers, and others. The success of these interactions determines how easy and effective—painful or painless—meeting your company’s business goals and your personal goals will be.

Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace

In our previous post, we explained how an emotionally intelligent leader is able to have an honest assessment of their thoughts, stay accountable, and channel their emotions effectively.

There is a trick to mastering emotional intelligence. You have to be nimble, flexible, and immediately capable of determining what to do in a given situation. This means considering many things simultaneously:

  • Your Perspective. Your own emotions and how the influence of the daily pressure, passion, pleasure, pain, and stress is affecting your judgment, and those around you. If you don’t acknowledge the “feel” you bring to a scenario, you risk misreading reacting in a way that derails the interaction and ruins your credibility.
  • Their Perspective. The emotions and behavior of those across the table from you. Don’t expect everyone to understand your situation. In fact, on the contrary, you must make a conscious effort to understand what others are experiencing and how they’re affected by your actions, reactions to situations and interaction with them. Put yourself in their shoes.
  • The Situation. The “table” or the situation itself. Are you negotiating a potential deal that you need to happen quickly with partners who are particularly slow and cautious in their investment decisions? Are you talking an employee that is feeling the strain of burning the midnight oil?

Examples of Emotional Intelligence

It always helped me to think of emotional intelligence as a blender. Blenders provide you with many different buttons to push—chop, blend, dice, puree, liquefy, crush, grind, mix, fluff, whip, beat.

As an entrepreneur, you will be making decisions throughout the day. Different ingredients will be added to the mix. Different people, situations, pressures, implications, and personalities. The key to emotional intelligence is determining which button to press in which situation.

Understanding Why You Need To Be Emotionally Intelligent

When emotional intelligence is embraced and applied by the leader, the company’s (scarce) resources often experience exponential growth: a “one plus one equals three” effect. Company activities—meetings, communications, process—seem to get easier. Each time you pick the right button on the blender, you will advance the business and your own leadership skills.