The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence In Business

by | Entrepreneurship

The Importance Of Emotional Intelligence In Business
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As a society, we tend to fixate on each individual’s intelligence, showing off IQ numbers like scores on a final exam. But there is another, perhaps more accurate indicator of one’s success, particularly in business: emotional intelligence quotient (EQ), also known as emotional intelligence (EI).

What is Emotional Quotient (EQ)?

While IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, is a standardized score that measures human intelligence, EQ measures:

  1. How well each individual can identify and understand different emotions (in the self and others)
  2. How one can best manage and control certain feelings and emotions
  3. Using emotional information to lead, adapt, or affect certain situations for the optimal outcome.

Emotional quotient is less about knowing facts and statistics, or about keeping up with current news. Instead, EQ is all about our understanding emotion, the various ways it presents itself, and how it can be used as an important tool to achieve one’s goals.

Why is emotional intelligence important for success?

Everyone has their own image of what success means for them. For some startups, it might be national or international recognition after staying independent for so long. For entrepreneurs, it could be the satisfaction of introducing a unique solution to a market problem or just the sense of creating a coherent, well-supported team.

Although intelligence and high IQ are ingrained into our society’s mindset as the ultimate keys to success, for many personal and professional goals, emotional intelligence is a far more valuable asset. Here’s why:

  1. Emotional intelligence helps forge strong relationships. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s not always about what you know, but who you know. Even if your agency is only a year old and has very few experts on the team, you still have a major advantage over other startups if you have solid connections to clients, partners, mentors, and other people that can help. These relationships aren’t built on IQ, but an understanding of each other’s emotional habits and personality.
  2. It affects your physical and mental wellness. Emotions aren’t just how we feel, they tend to manifest themselves both physically in our body and in our minds. When we’re frustrated and stressed out, our body feels tense, and our mind is clouded in judgment. When we master our emotions, we can take control of any situation.
  3. Lastly, emotional intelligence can resolve disputes and conflicts. As much as we try to keep business professional, as long as humans are involved, it will always be an emotional ordeal. Ego, greed, jealousy, and other dangerous mentalities can sometimes take over.

When we approach problems with empathy and understanding, we’re in a better position to prevent arguments and conflicts in the workplace. Emotional intelligence is necessary in any leadership role.

EQ vs. IQ: The difference between emotional quotient and intelligence quotient

  1. Definition: IQ is a measure of intelligence. EQ measures one’s ability to identify, assess, and control emotions.
  2. Skills and Abilities: IQ measures how much one knows, and the application of knowledge in certain situations (like understanding math in accounting). EQ is the ability to recognize emotional reactions and understand how to best use emotional information in a given situation (such as negotiating a new deal).
  3. Application in business: IQ is useful in conducting research, analysis of large data sets, and objective tasks like managing finances. EQ is more subjective and involves human concerns, such as teamwork, leadership, and negotiation.
  4. Relevant traits: IQ emphasizes logic, knowledge, and memory. EQ emphasizes intuition, creativity, and empathy.
  5. Tests: IQ is often measured by the Mayer-Solvey-Caruso Test. EQ is measured by the Stanford-Binet test.

EQ or IQ: Which one is better?

With all this talk of EQ, one might get the idea that it’s substantially better or completely replaces IQ. That’s not the case. IQ still plays an important role in helping identify individuals who are able to use logic and reason to make vital decisions. But it’s not the only way to measure or evaluate one’s contributions. Think of EQ as the other side of the coin, or a different lens- it’s not necessarily better, it just evaluates completely different aspects of a person.

Can EQ be changed?

Absolutely. Just as we have learned to express ourselves in more nuanced ways since birth, we have also learned to analyze and interpret emotions in more detail. This skill is not something one is born with, it’s something that must be learned over time, through daily interactions, and through regular self-reflection. But first, people have to be open to the idea of improving their EQ.

Tips To Work On Your Emotional Intelligence

  1. Study your own emotions. If you want to get better at reading other people’s reactions and feelings, start with your own. Often, we aren’t aware of our feelings until they subside. Pay close attention to changes in your mood, and consider writing them in a journal or diary.
  2. Get some external feedback. As humans, we’re limited in our capacity for self-reflection. Sometimes, it’s just too difficult to accurately understand why we feel a certain way when we’re the ones experiencing it. Consider asking family, friends, mentors, or even professional counsel about your reactions and emotional states. You may find their feedback illuminating in your own progression.
  3. Analyze common triggers, patterns, and remedies. Over time, you’ll come to realize that certain personality types tend to follow emotional patterns, usually caused by common themes or concerns. Listen carefully to what others say, to how they behave, and you will soon be able to preemptively recognize similar patterns in other people’s behavior.
  4. Practice every day. Improving EQ is not a one-and-done deal. You need to work at it, making it a weekly priority. Consider reading The EQ Difference by Adele Lynn, Building Emotional Intelligence by Linda Lantieri, or 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Check out Ramona Hacker’s TED Talk on improving emotional intelligence. Finally, apply these lessons in your own personal and professional life.
  5. Help others. The best way to put emotional intelligence into practice is to use your knowledge to help others. Find the team members struggling with their work and see if you can assist in any way. Empathy is at the core of EQ, and can only be truly demonstrated when you can help someone without getting something in return.
  6. Read fiction! Indeed, many studies and leadership luminaries have extolled the virtues of reading, and reading fiction in particular. Fiction gives us a visceral way to experience another’s perspective – which can be a great learning tool, especially when those characters or situations are very different from our own experiences, for example from a different culture or taking place in an unfamiliar location. It also helps introduce us to sensitive situations or decisions and helps explore and anchor our own decision making.

In a world where many of our communication is increasingly digitized and abbreviated for the Internet, true emotion can be difficult to identify and control. But the leaders who work on their EQ daily will find that they have more mastery and control over their situations than those who ignore EQ. How will you apply emotional intelligence in your business?

To learn more about becoming an effective entrepreneur or applying useful skills in the workplace, follow Expansive’s blog today.

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