If you thought your intelligence, or IQ, was the single most important factor in determining your success in business, think again, as years of research suggests that it is your emotional intelligence, also known as your EQ (for emotional quotient), which plays the biggest part in taking you to the top. Indeed, your EQ has a remarkable impact on how successful you become.
So, we take a look at what exactly this is, why it is so important and how you can boost your EQ to truly excel as an entrepreneur.
Although it may be thought of as a term for our times, in fact ‘emotional intelligence’ originally emerged as far back as 1953 when it was first coined as a concept by literary critic Dorothy Van Ghent. However, more recent scientific literature, such as the book of the same name by American psychologist Daniel Goleman in 1995, has brought it into the popular consciousness, focusing on EQ as a valuable set of skills for success.
Indeed, various studies have shown a powerful positive correlation between good EQ skills and success in the workplace, and one study even found that 90% of top performers at work scored highly in EQ.
OK, so what exactly is this EQ?
So, what exactly is emotional intelligence? Well, it is defined as ‘the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically’. In other words, if you have good self-awareness and strong people skills, chances are you have excellent emotional intelligence. However, to be more precise, experts Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis identify what they call the ‘four domains’ of EQ, as: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management, and detail a dozen elements which come within these to make up complete emotional intelligence. These include such capabilities as a positive outlook, empathy, teamwork, coaching and mentoring, adaptability, and inspirational leadership, all of which are invaluable skills if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
So, clearly having a high level of emotional intelligence can only be beneficial to you as an entrepreneur.
Why does it matter?
So, why is EQ so essential for entrepreneurial success? Well, for starters, business is all about people, and if your relationship management skills are poor, you are at a distinct disadvantage. In fact, dealing with customers and team members well is vital to the success of your business.
Indeed, if you find it hard to network well with others, you will definitely have difficulty in making the business connections you need. In addition, if building up your sales is important to you, and, let’s face it, what entrepreneur does not want to improve their bottom line?
You should never overlook the importance of your EQ skills, as these can also have a big impact on sales success. In fact, two separate studies found that salespeople with stronger EQ skills made significantly more sales than those whose skills were weaker. Indeed, if the possibility of making more money generally motivates you, then research even shows that those who score higher in EQ skills earn substantially more than those who score lower.
As emotional intelligence also encompasses the ability to self-motivate, learn from mistakes and be resilient, no serious entrepreneur who wants to excel should ever overlook the importance of EQ.
How do I boost my EQ?
So, what do you do if your EQ skills are not all they could be? Well, don’t despair, as the good news is that it is possible to increase your emotional intelligence with practice and training. In fact, with some effort, you can manage your emotions better and make them work for you, instead of against you.
To start with, there are some simple steps you can follow to begin boosting your EQ. For example, make a habit of praising others regularly, as this will train your brain to focus on the good in those around you, encourage empathy and improve your relationships. Likewise, be sure to apologise when needed, as this will help to build respect and trust with others.
You could also try pausing before you reply, in situations of potential conflict. This will allow you to release any initial anger and respond more rationally. Indeed, during disagreements, you could also make a habit of seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view, as trying to genuinely understand their priorities, emotions and motives will also strengthen your empathy and could help you reach common ground. In addition, learn to listen well to others, as this will help you understand those around you better and form stronger interpersonal relationships.
Of course, it may not be easy to strengthen your EQ by practice alone, so it would also be wise to seek out specialist training in related skills, such as that offered by LEO Coreline, which can really help boost your EQ.
So, if you’re serious about taking your business to the top, carefully consider just how emotionally intelligent you really are. If there’s room for improvement, as there usually is, don’t delay, brush up your skills now to truly excel as an entrepreneur.