As every entrepreneur would agree, we are a special breed of people who have the courage to turn our passions into businesses and make our dreams a reality.
Yet, like any leader, there is much we need to learn and many skills we need to develop to ensure the success of our ventures, particularly when there is no HR department, finance and tax expert, or IT guru on hand! We also need a host of personal characteristics to succeed, such as:
Patience; persistence; creativity; confidence; self-belief; “balls”; resilience; resourcefulness; open to new ideas; endless energy; self-reliance and comfortable with risk.
This is clearly a path that is not for the faint-hearted, and key to it all is emotional intelligence, which is understanding and managing our own emotions and those of the people around us. It is knowing exactly what we are feeling, what it means and how it can affect other people.
So, how do we develop our EQ?
1. By becoming self-aware of our emotions and actions and the impact these have on others; knowing what triggers our emotions; what our strengths and limitations are, and who we really are as a person (our authentic selves).
2. By practicing self-regulation in controlling our impulses (knowing we may go to jail if we don’t!); not making emotional decisions; staying focused; not compromising on our values; being flexible and personally accountable, and not “blame throwing.”
3. By being self-motivated, i.e., consistently working towards our goals despite the obstacles; having high standards for the quality of work we and others deliver, and being able to “fake it ‘til we make it” so we can influence the motivation of others.
4. By having empathy, i.e., sensing, understanding and responding to what others are feeling; challenging those who act unfairly; showing compassion; giving constructive feedback and listening, really listening!
5. By becoming socially skilled so that we can manage, influence and inspire the emotions of others; communicate our passions, feelings and emotions accurately and appropriately; elicit support from others; join in the excitement of our teams’ successes, and manage and resolve conflict.
With these five skills in mind, it is obvious that having a low EQ is an issue in relationships, both our personal ones and those we have with the customers and staff in our businesses. Look at the table below which lists some of the behaviours that indicate low and high EQ levels. This will give you an idea of where you need to focus your attention to improve your EQ.
If this is the only thing you do for yourself, work on your EQ – the rewards are fabulous!