What is Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize, understand and manage your feelings and emotions. It also involves understanding the feelings and emotions of those around you. Having a strong understanding of emotional intelligence is important to business success as it will help you understand why people behave the way that they do.
Emotional intelligence consists of 5 main areas.
Self-awareness is about understanding your own feelings, emotions and moods to different situations. Part of self-awareness is also about understanding how your emotions and moods affect those around you. By being more aware of how you respond to certain situations, you’ll be better able to control your reactions to create the outcome you desire.
Self-regulation is essentially self-control. By being self-aware you will notice when something bothers you and by focusing on self-regulation, you will be able to stop your emotional response and think before you respond. A big part of self-regulation is being able to express your feelings maturely and with restraint. Practicing this skill will help you control your impulses and emotional response to avoid conflict in business.
Internal motivation is having the desire to grow as a person, not based on getting money, reaching a title or obtaining power. Instead, it is a desire that comes from within, one that drives you to better yourself for yourself.
Empathy is recognizing, understanding and feeling the emotions of others. This is one of the most valuable skills to have as a business owner. At some point in time, you will have an upset customer, being empathetic helps the customer to feel understood so that you can fix their problem and still provide a great experience.
Empathy is not the same as feeling sympathetic for what someone has gone through. It involves actually sharing the emotional feeling the person is experiencing. Empathetic people genuinely understand and respond to the needs of others.
People skills is a broad term. In business, having people skills means being able to build trusting relationships with others. Developing your people skills will help you manage relationships with both business partners and clients. By focusing on developing your people skills you will create deep bonds and genuine, non-competitive relationships.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Business
As a business owner, why should you care about developing your emotional intelligence? Because you want your business to succeed and in order for your business to succeed you need to provide an excellent experience along with a great product or service.
By being self-aware of your emotions and having self-regulation to control your reaction, you will be better at staying calm under pressure. Avoiding emotional reactions will allow you to make better business decisions because you understand your customer and the struggles they have faced.
A huge part of growing your business is taking feedback and implementing changes based on the criticism. It can be hard to take negative feedback, but that is often some of the most valuable feedback you can receive. It lets you know what areas can be improved and by controlling your emotional reaction, you will be able to admit to your mistakes and learn from them for the next time.
How To Increase Your Emotional Intelligence
Improving your emotional intelligence is a life long journey. There are always areas that can be improved and as a human, there are times when we slip up and don’t respond in the best way. Don’t beat yourself up over those moments, instead use them as learning opportunities to improve for next time.
Below are some ways for you to start improving your emotional intelligence.
Listening to others
This is one of the top ways to improve your emotional intelligence and your business. As a business owner, we rely on our customers in order for our business to grow. One of the most common complaints from customers is that a business doesn’t understand their needs. Learning to use active listening and listening more than you speak will help solve this problem.
Active listening takes the focus off of your needs and moves your attention to your customer’s needs. This allows you to create a better offer which will better help your ideal customer.
Don’t forget about body language! 70% of communication is non-verbal, pay just as much attention to how your customer says something as what they say. They may struggle to verbalize what they want, but it could be very clear based on what their body is doing.
Attempt to control your thoughts
We can’t control what happens to us or how we feel. What we can control is how we respond to those situations. Just like you can’t control what happens to your, your customer cannot control what happens to them. When you are talking with an upset customer remember that maybe something unforeseen happened to them which caused them to react this way. Don’t make things worse by letting your emotions dictate your response. Instead, use your listening skills to get a better understanding of what happened and what the customer is looking for.
Reflect on criticism and grow from it
As a business owner, it can be hard to get negative feedback from a customer, especially early on. It might feel like they are attacking you, but that is a matter of mindset. If you approach the feedback from a defensive standpoint then you are more likely to get heated and respond poorly. Instead, when receiving feedback, ask “How can I grow and improve from this”. This is the growth mindset that you want to have. It’s focused on finding solutions and improving instead of shifting the blame to someone or something else.
When you receive negative feedback, pause before responding. It will allow the initial impulses to fade and gives time for undistorted reasoning and reflection to occur. Remove yourself from the equation and put yourself in their shoes. Think about why they are giving your this feedback and what the true cause of the issues is.
Emotional intelligence is important for life and business. Now that you know the 5 areas of emotional intelligence along with some ways to improve, it’s time to start practicing. Nothing will change without putting in consistent effort on a daily basis. Set small goals and focus on one area at a time. Once that becomes a habit, move onto the next area. Before you know it, your relationships will be improving and your business will be growing because of it.
If you would like to learn more about more ways to grow your business, sign up for my newsletter below.