Emotional Intelligence and Entrepreneurship
High IQ has historically been considered as the Holy Grail trait one must possess in order to achieve success. Cleverness, analytical skills, a will that cannot be moved, these are the quintessential traits one would associate with a businessperson. However, contrary to popular belief, researchers and recent studies have discovered that entrepreneurship is more likely to be successful with high emotional intelligence than a high intelligence quotient. In fact, it is a trait that companies prize and look for in their employees.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, it is “the ability to understand your emotions and those of other people and to behave in an appropriate way in different situations”.It encompasses the ability to analyze and deconstruct feelings and emotions felt by people, understanding why you or someone is feeling a certain way, being able to get to the root that is causing the particular emotion and act accordingly. One must be good at handling their own emotions as well as that of others. Since business is built on relationships, an entrepreneur must be able to highlight the point of view of others and work accordingly. Being able to put yourself in the shoes of another person is a quality trait to have as a businessman. A workplace skills survey by TalentSmart has determined that “Emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining a full 58 per cent of the success in all types of jobs.”
Common Traits of Emotionally Intelligent People:
They are aware of the emotions they experience, they know why they feel a certain way and what causes or triggers it. They know their strengths and weaknesses and are capable of manoeuvring through them.
They are aware of the emotions being experienced by others, they know why people feel that way and what causes or triggers it. They know the strengths and weaknesses of their peers and are capable of helping them manoeuvre through it. They are also good at judging the characters of others and know how to read them.
Emotionally Intelligent people possess empathy. It is a special ability to gauge what others feel. When you can feel what is being felt by someone you have formed a relationship with, you can assess the world from their point of view and understand them better.
The ability to manage yourself emotionally, thus managing your emotions or the way you behave as per the situation, with a particular intent.
The ability to manage and address the emotions and feelings of others effectively with intent.
The ability to apply logic to emotions, analyze it and act accordingly to maximize effectiveness.
They are able to draw a line between themselves and others and do not bend over or have people-pleasing tendencies. They know when to say “no” and they respect the boundaries drawn by others. Neither do they fall back to be the doormat for the purpose of the outsider nor do they seek out people who would act like a doormat to further their agendas.
How Emotional Intelligence plays out in the workplace:
Entrepreneurship is essentially built on relationships. The best way to build a relationship, be it with your customers or employees, is based on good communication. An entrepreneur who is able to empathize with his people, connect with them, help them solve their problems and understand them, is able to strengthen the bonds of the relationships formed through business and provide a positive and safe environment for the workplace. Working in a good environment with preferred people will result in higher efficiency since people are willing to work harder when they love what they do.
Understanding consumer needs
The primary functions of businesses are to
a) satisfy consumer needs and
b) generate profits.
These profits cannot be generated ithe consumers are not satisfied so it is crucial for businesses to understand what is it that they can provide or serve to the community and the people in order to satisfy their requirements. An emotionally intelligent entrepreneur is able to analyze every situation, put themselves in the shoes of the people, connect with them and narrow down their requirements effectively. Once that is done, they can focus on the production of what can satisfy those needs. Understanding consumers also helps businesses improve their products and services accordingly or market themselves more efficiently.
Emotionally intelligent people excel at leadership. Good entrepreneurs must have good relationships with their employees and make sure their employees have good relationships with one another. As their leader, the entrepreneur should be able to bring a team together and make them work efficiently. People dislike an authoritarian environment because they are unable to express themselves freely in such a situation. Entrepreneurship is likely to fail in a hostile, authoritative environment, thus, a leader who understands the emotions and feelings of the people they are working with is necessary for they are able to create high morale that inspires everyone to work harder and more efficiently.
How to be more emotionally intelligent
Be a good listener
We hear people so that we can reply to them instead of listening to them. One must practice listening to people without any further motive. It helps in understanding a person and creating a bond. It also makes one more empathic. Listening to someone to think about their thoughts and feelings critically and feel what the person is feeling instead of hearing them just to continue the conversation is a step forward to higher emotional intelligence.
Everyone struggles with their emotions. Apart from a regular emotional struggle, it is also very common for people to have mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. One goes to the doctor when they catch a cold. Similarly, one should go the therapist in order to understand themselves, their minds and their emotions since mental health issues reduce the production of certain hormones that are required by people to feel happy and optimized. Communicating with a specialized person helps one understand the entire concept of emotions a lot better than they would have if they had never consulted with a professional.