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5 ways emotional intelligence can make you a better entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs, it’s time to move up a few EQ points. Here's why emotional intelligence matters.

by Rachel O'Regan
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It’s no secret that society (and business) often values intelligence above all things.

There’s nothing wrong with valuing intelligence: the ability to learn, understand and apply knowledge. The only issue? We usually focus on just one ‘kind’ of intelligence.

Emotional intelligence – the ability to recognize emotions in yourself and others, and act on them appropriately – is quickly being recognized by psychologists as an essential trait for success (and happiness).

Our Fingerprint for Success (F4S) research tends to agree. Forget IQ points – it’s time to focus on your EQ (emotional quotient). And here’s why it could very well make you a better entrepreneur, too.

1. You’ll be even more motivated.

According to Daniel Goleman, who coined the phrase “emotional intelligence”, motivation is one of its five main pillars (see table below). He defines it as “a passion for work that goes beyond money and status”.

Motivation is hugely important for sustaining your energy and focus, even when the chips are down. It doesn’t surprise that our research shows successful mature-stage entrepreneurs are 11 percent more driven to achieve, in comparison to those who experienced business failure.

When it comes to increasing motivation, we have to agree with Goleman. While money and status are definitely markers of success, they ultimately shouldn’t be your primary driving force because, hey, it doesn’t come easy. Instead, think about how your product is going to change the world.

2. You’ll communicate better.

Empathetic competencies, such as understanding and developing others, may seem “obvious”, but can be quickly forgotten in the tumult of everyday work life.

Yet, a team that feels understood, utilized and uplifted is going to drive your business towards far greater things. Emerging research shows that team members with higher empathy produce more sales.

One of the best ways to increase empathy is affective communication – using non-verbal cues, like gestures and even (gasp!) smiles. This lets your team know what you want, and makes them feel listened to, as well. Successful entrepreneurs are 21 percent more likely to rely on affective communication methods. Even more reason to smile.

3. You’ll be truly connected with your team.

Social skills are the bedrock of emotional intelligence – and a thriving entrepreneurship. But being all pally with teammates might not be at the top of your priorities, especially when you’re so busy calling the shots.

But hold that thought. Our research shows that a lack of energy for bonding, belonging and building personal relationships at work (also known as ‘affiliation’) can seriously impact your opportunity for success.

For an example of business doing it right, just look to Salesforce, number one in the 2017 Companies That Care list. At the core of their approach is the concept of “Ohaha” (family), bringing teams together with breakfasts, networking events and volunteering activities.

Busy? Heck, everyone is. But at the same time, it will do you and your business a lot of good to join in team lunches, organize outings and even take five minutes out of your morning to chat about the latest Netflix series. (And, most importantly, care about your employees as people first!)

4. You’ll be the right amount of assertive.

There are so many scenarios thrown at us throughout the day that it can be difficult to control our emotions – and how they are displayed. That’s where self-regulation comes in.

People with high EQs are able to manage impulses, reflect on their situation and adapt their social responses to different crowds.

Take for example, assertiveness. In our research, a high motivation for assertiveness in entrepreneurs is a good thing – but it must be balanced with sensitivity and listening. Barking orders doesn’t get you far!

5. You’ll become more self-aware.

The final pillar of emotional intelligence, self-awareness, is a big ‘un. A recent study of senior executives found that a high emotional self-awareness score was actually the strongest predictor of success.

“Leaders who are self-aware can recognize when their emotions have a negative impact on their work, or on the people around them,” says Goleman.

“They are then better equipped to address it in an effective way, such as through creating opportunities for feedback, experimenting with different ways to motivate their team, or being more open to creative solutions.

Using the findings from our world-first 20-year study, the F4S platform shines a light on your strengths and blind spots, so you can get more out of yourself and your team. It’s this self-awareness that can help you reach new heights in your ventures.

Are you ready to become the best entrepreneur you can be? Try the F4S assessment now.

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