Running a business doesn't just take smarts, but emotional intelligence as welll. Having qualtities such as motivation, dedication, and leadership are equally as important to your businesses succes as your IQ.
The most common measure of intelligence is IQ, or Intelligence Quotient. While intelligence is certainly a crucial asset in running a business, being smart doesn’t necessarily guarantee success. Qualities like drive, motivation, dedication, integrity, personality, intuitiveness, business savvy, and common sense can be just as important.
Another aspect of running a business is emotional intelligence. While you may not refer to the concept by that terminology, it’s as important in business as it is in our daily lives. Emotional intelligence helps you succeed, achieve goals, and foster lasting relationships.
What is it?
Emotional Intelligence is the ability to manage your emotions in a way that minimizes stress and conflict while maximizing communication and healthy relationships. Like IQ, the Emotional Quotient (EQ) can be measured through standardized tests. A high EQ indicates that you’re aware of the emotional states of yourself and others, and can use this to effectively engage people in a positive and productive way.
EQ has four primary characteristics: social awareness, self-awareness, self-management, and relationship management. These attributes focus on the ability to control and recognize emotional strengths and weaknesses, impulsive feelings, behavioral impacts, social adaptability, group emotional cues, team dynamics, conflict resolution, open communication, and the initiative to influence and inspire others.
The key is to use your knowledge and understanding of emotions to improve your personal interactions in your daily life.
Why it’s important
Lots of things go into starting a successful business, among them good business sense and financial backing. It takes more than that to bring in customers and run the business successfully. Cultivating personal relationships with employees, customers, and suppliers is the glue that will keep things operating smoothly and efficiently. Your understanding and awareness of all the stresses and strains that affect the people you deal with will help you maintain an even keel when under pressure.
To varying degrees, EQ affects your mental health, physical health, work performance, and personal relationships. You may be vulnerable to anxiety, mood swings and depression if you’re unable to manage your emotions, especially when exposed to stressful conditions. This can lead to high blood pressure, raising the risk of stroke and heart attack. Stress can also wreak havoc with your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to serious health issues.
Your work performance hinges on your ability to maintain a professional demeanor and effectively deal with all the people you come in contact with. Learning how to deal with and relieve stress will help foster improved communications, stronger relationships, and a better understanding of the feelings of others.
Controlling your brain isn’t easy because it’s constantly bombarded by incoming signals from all your senses. Stress often occurs when you experience sensory overload and feel overwhelmed by too much data, too many decisions, too many deadlines, and too many problems. Dealing with all of these at once creates pressure and at this point instincts take over, limiting your ability to make thoughtful decisions based on objective facts.
Raising your EQ
It’s possible to improve your control of the emotional side of your brain by developing a series of skills that will bring the rational side into balance. Learning these skills and applying them to your behavior will help you carry out your best intentions when stress threatens to take over your life.
Emotional awareness – Don’t attempt to disconnect from your emotions. It’s best to understand your core emotions such as fear, anger, joy and sadness, and how they influence the way you think and act. Connect to your emotions and accept them. Only then can you develop the ability to control them and reduce stress.
Reducing stress – We’re all well aware of what it feels like to be stressed and how we normally react to it. Relieving those symptoms is best achieved by recognizing what’s causing the stress and controlling the response accordingly. If stress causes you to withdraw or become depressed, do something stimulating that will take your mind off the stressful situation. If you tend to freeze up and are unable to act, seek comfort by realxing with some soothing msic. If you tend to become angry, drop everything and do something that will quiet you and slow you down. Engage all your senses in a way that uplifts and reenergizes you.
Conflict Resolution -- Disagreements are inevitable, but it's important to resolve them in a postivie way that reinforces healthy relationships. When addressing conflicts, focus on the present and avoid dredging up the past. Choose your battles carefully and concnetrate on issues that really matter. Foregiveness goes a long way in repairing hurt feelings and deep-seated anger. Disengage if the situation is hopeless and suppress the urge for punishment or revenge.
Conflict can be beneficial if it’s between people who trust each other and it’s not viewed as threatening. Divergent opinions promote creativity and alternative solutions to problems.
Communication – Connecting effectively with people requires both verbal and nonverbal skills. The look in your eye and facial expression can be more important than what you say, and will leave a lasting impression even if the words are later forgotten. Be cognizant of your body language, level of eye contact, gestures, tone of voice, posture, and other cues that send signals as you communicate. Focus exclusively on who you’re talking to and learn to read and interpret their body language.
Using humor – Laughter is an antidote to the stresses and strains of everyday life, whether at home or at work. It helps to put things in perspective and lessen the burdens that weigh you down. Playful banter, jokes, and finding the humor in otherwise difficult situations will all help you get through hard times and recover from personal setbacks. Humor can also be used to communicate sensitive subjects that are often difficult to express in any other way.
Self-awareness is just as important as how you perceive others. Know yourself and how you react in different situations. This will put you well on the road to improving your ability to channel emotions in the best way possible.
Taking time off from your job is probably the best stress-reducer of all. If you’re a sole proprietor and haven’t had a day off in ages, you’re only asking for trouble down the line. So start planning that vacation and try to put your worries behind you, at least for awhile.