The business world is all about relationships, and with that comes connecting with people and, in order to connect with others, you need to have emotional intelligence (EQ). Having emotional intelligence is key to having a successful business- it’s so important that 71% of employers value EQ over IQ.
So what is emotional intelligence, or EQ? In basic terms, EQ is being able to understand, manage and control your emotions. It’s having the ability to handle these emotions and be aware they can drive your behavior.
As we discuss in our first episode of the WorkingWELL podcast, emotional intelligence weighs in big when it comes to business and success in entrepreneurial endeavors.
WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS IMPORTANT
Having good EQ enables you to appropriately react to others, in both your personal life and workplace. In your personal life, this will help you in decision making, explaining yourself, makes others want to be around you and manage stress, overall increasing both your mental AND physical health.
In your business life, EQ brings your company more engaged employees, is the key to good team building, improves your own social skills, and makes you more relate-able to your peers. It’s putting yourself in others shoes and helps you achieve goals to create a more cohesive workplace, in turn increasing productivity and working and living healthier.
PRINCIPLES OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The first thing you need to do in order to achieve emotional intelligence is focus on yourself. We’ve all heard the saying “put your own mask on first”. It holds true with awareness. Being self-aware is having the ability to understand how you feel. You can notice your emotions and how/when they change. By doing this, you have the capability to determine if your actions, thoughts or feelings align with your standards internally. By being aware, you can increase your emotional intelligence and take charge of your feelings.
Emotional balance is having the ability to maintain equilibrium of the mind and body through challenge and change. In order to achieve well being and growth, you need emotional balance. This includes thinking clearly in times of havoc. Being rational and thinking clearly during stressful situations- not allowing fear to take over your body and solving problems instead of running away from them. All businesses face troubles, and having emotional balance can help you solve issues quickly and appropriately.
Empathy + Compassion
Empathy is being able to feel what others are feeling- essentially putting yourself in other’s shoes. Compassion takes empathy one step further and is acting on that feeling and going out of your way to help others. It’s the physical side of empathy. By having empathy and compassion, you are able to properly manage not only your own emotions but others as well making you a better leader and decision maker. Gaining empathy and compassion isn’t always easy, but it is necessary to run a healthy and well-rounded business.
Some questions to ask yourself when reflecting on whether or not you show enough empathy and compassion in the workplace include:
- Do you truly listen to your employees?
- Do they KNOW you listen + hear what they are saying?
- Do you ask questions and acknowledge your employees?
- How often do you find yourself making assumptions or passing judgment?
A key thing to remember is that your coworkers are humans and have feelings too. We all mess up, have bad days, and need time to grieve or heal. Hold your employees accountable, but being an understanding boss will go a long way.
Coaching + Leadership
Using a coaching style of leadership can be rewarding and creates a positive work space. By being a coach, you are giving up the more traditional hierarchy leadership approach and turning to one that is based on collaboration and creativity. You never know what you can learn from your employees. Being a great coach or leader requires emotional intelligence. When you handle situations in a calm and mature manner and your employees can look up to you as a role-model/mentor, you know you are emotionally intelligent.
HOW TO CULTIVATE EQ FUNDAMENTALS YOU’RE LACKING
The practice of being fully present is one way to develop and increase your self-awareness. Set aside at least 30 minutes everyday to journal and self reflect. You can also meditate + clear your mind daily or even try asking others to describe you so you get a different perspective.
Start feeling. Don’t just go through the motions. The worst thing you can do is bottle up all of your emotions and wait for an eventual eruption to happen. When your mind starts to wander and your body reacts, really feel what it is that you’re going through and decide what you’re going to do about it. Taking care of yourself goes a long way in harnessing emotional balance.
Empathy + Compassion
Asking others questions about what it’s like to walk in their shoes gives us a different perspective that helps us gain empathy and compassion. The next time you grab a coffee or have a phone call with someone-friend, colleague or family, ask deep questions about their walk of life. We all have unique experiences and this can help you get a grip on another’s reality.
Coaching + Leadership
Set clear expectations, praise good work, show curiosity and give direct and helpful feedback.
Having emotional intelligence is a skill more valuable than most and can be what sets you apart in both your business and personal life. By having a good EQ you can better understand yourself and those around you, ultimately creating long lasting, healthy interpersonal relationships.