WHAT DOES EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE HAVE TO DO WITH BUSINESS?
There are trends in business that seem like they are dreamed up by coaches selling services. The difficulty today is in identifying which ones are necessary to your business and which ones you can sit on the sidelines watching for a while. Some will turn out to be fads, and you needn’t bother. Others will become important parts of doing business.Social media, for instance, is a trend. It’s critical to helping people get to know, like, and trust your business. But what about emotional intelligence? That idea is being bandied around publications like the Harvard Business Review and Entrepreneur like it’s a fast train to billionairehood. But is it something you need and should you be incorporating it into your personal branding and business strategy? What is Emotional Intelligence? The difficult part of emotional intelligence is its nebulous definition. It’s not like traditional IQ, which is measurable (albeit with some questioning) and changes very little throughout life. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence, or EQ, can be learned and mastered. Emotional intelligence is divided into two primary competencies and four core skills. These include: Self-awareness Self-management Social awareness Relationship management Self-awareness is the ability to perceive and understand your own emotions; staying aware of them as they happen. Self-management takes self-awareness a step further in being able to address those emotions and redirect your actions. Recognizing that an emotional response to team failure isn’t good for a struggling team, and opting for coaching versus a lecture, is an example of self-management. Social awareness, sometimes referred to as “being good with people,” indicates your ability to pick up on and understand the emotions of people around you. Relationship management uses your social awareness to manage others’ emotions and manage interactions successfully. This is not about manipulation. Just as people have different styles of learning, a successful manager can adopt an approach that is befitting of the employees’ emotions. This does not mean coming at them with the same level of emotion they exhibit, but rather, a complementary one. I’m Successful without EQ. Why Do I Need It? Ever hire someone you thought would be a great fit only to realize they were a terrible hire? Ever felt misunderstood in a professional relationship? If you answered “no” to both questions, perhaps you have a naturally high EQ and your understanding of yourself and others is extremely well developed. However, if you answered “yes” to either of these questions, these skills may be something you need to work on. While many are talking about how people are becoming less interactive, businesses are becoming more personal. They’re sharing more on social media and becoming true resources for their audiences. Sharing on social media has become much more complex than simply posting an article here or there. You’re called on to connect with people if you want to be successful at social for business. This connecting can be complicated if you have a low EQ. For instance, if something tragic happens in the world and you’re posting all morning about the terrific sales at your business, your all business and no empathy approach could turn into a major public relations problem for your business. EQ and Employees EQ touches on more than just your social media posts. It helps you lead and manage employees better. Happy employees make for delighted customers. If your employees are miserable, it is impossible for them to provide excellent customer service in the same way that a drowning man would never worry about his swimming stroke. A high EQ will help you build trust among your customers, employees, and colleagues. How Do You Increase Emotional Intelligence? Essentially emotional intelligence is the (practiced) balancing between the rational and emotional sides of your brain. This involves training your “natural” responses into something much more effective in leading people and managing yourself. Here are six ways you can begin increasing your EQ. A Final Word About Emotional Intelligence As long as customers are looking to know, like, and trust the people they do business with, business leaders with high emotional intelligence will be in demand. Emotional intelligence isn’t new and it’s not some politically correct mumbo-jumbo aimed at getting people to attend more seminars. It’s something we’ve referred to before under different terms and phrases like calling someone “a people person.” Today, we’re just starting to understand that you no longer have to worry about a label. You can begin becoming more adept at becoming a “people person” for greater success in your business. Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.