The term emotional intelligence (EQ) was made famous by two scientists Peter Salovey and John D Meyer in the 1980’s which they define as “a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one’s life”. While often overlooked, EQ is one of the most powerful soft skills anyone running a business can master. Emotionally intelligent people have the ability to monitor their own and others feelings, discriminate against them and use that information to guide their thinking and actions. In business, emotional intelligence comes into play in all aspects from being a leader that relates to their employees, to having emotionally intelligent employees handling clients and finally in understanding your clients better, to serve their needs better.
Emotional intelligence has many elements. The following are the 5 most common:
- Self awareness: Knowing yourself helps in understanding how you respond to situations which will make you aware of your actions can affect those around you.
- Self-regulation: When you are self aware, self regulation is easy as you recognize what you are feeling and why and so you can respond appropriately.
- Motivation: The ability to inspire yourself and others to action. Confident and positive individuals inspire others to believe in their cause.
- Empathy: The ability to understand other people’s experiences and emotions improves the relationships that you have as the people feel seen, understood, and appreciated.
- Social skills: Your perception of people and how you interact with them is the basis of all relationships. Understanding other people’s emotions helps us decide how to interact with them, in a manner that is effective.
Emotional Intelligence highly impacts businesses and is a skill that everyone should work on. Like other skills, EQ can be learned and mastered. Here are some ways of increasing your emotional intelligence:
- Cultivating self awareness: You should aim to know yourself better, recognize your feelings paying attention to the emotional reasons to how you act. Only when you know yourself can you regulate your emotions.
- Develop empathy: Understanding people better by walking in their shoes makes people feel seen and understood, and strengthens communication channels in any organization.
- Developing your listening skills: Most people listen to react, not to respond. Active listening enables one to be responsive to the information they are receiving as opposed to reacting.
- Learning to respond, not react: Emotional responses are automatically more reactive than they are responsive. Taking time to take in a situation enables a better response to certain situations.
- Communication style: People perceive things differently, and this goes for information as well. Paying attention to your choice of words and the tone you chose will greatly improve the reception you get when you communicate with people.
- Understanding what triggers you: This will help with anticipation of how certain scenarios will make you feel emotionally, thus preparing you on how you can react more appropriately.
- Taking criticism positively: Learning to not internalize criticism but taking it as feedback enables one to work on the feedback to be better at what they do. This also means identifying criticism that isn’t constructive and ignoring it instead of brooding on it.
- Building resilience: The ability to go through adversity and not let it get you down will always keep you motivated and will help you in weathering storms and eventually achieving your full potential,
- Taking personal responsibility: Taking personal responsibility for what happens around you as opposed to always finding someone to blame will enable swift fixing of errors, enabling people to focus on other goals.
- Learning to be positive: Focusing on positive things even when things are not going how we want them to go increases our happiness levels.