Those in leadership roles have a variety of hats to wear, often requiring specialization in a number of different fields, but one that is often overlooked is emotional intelligence (EQ). In the race to be better at time management, marketing, communications, budgeting, and similar skills, one should never overlook the importance of their EQ. For business managers and executives right on down the line to customer service reps and sales people, being able to connect with others on an emotional level is paramount to being effective.
In 1990, lead researchers in the field of emotional intelligence, Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, divided the concept into four distinct factors: perceiving emotions, reasoning with emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions. Some people will be strong in all areas while others will be weak in all areas. The majority of people, however, show strengths and deficits in the different categories.
EQ is about understanding and dealing with your own emotions as well as the emotions of those around you. For the successful business leader, the benefits of improving EQ should be rather forthright.
For example, it is common understood and accepted that most sales are closed based on feeling rather than logic. This is true whether you are dealing with B2B or B2C. People need to be able to trust and connect with a sales representative before they will buy what they are selling. The same is true even when dealing with internal customers. If you fail to make a connection with staff or team members that trust you, you will be less effective at your job.
Being able to get the rest of your team to buy into your vision requires that you present it in a way that appeals to them. Managers are often trying to figure out what makes someone tick, what will help them join in on and carry out our mission with passion rather than droll loyalty to a paycheck. It is that belief in and passion about your mission that will yield superior results. Even the best laid plans can underperform when team members do not fully buy into them.
Things You Can Do to Improve EQ
Have open discussions with your team and staff
Let your team members know that is okay to disagree. Ask people who are going to be a part of the project what they really think. While you are listening, pay close attention to micro-expressions, tone, and inflection. You are not just listening for the words or logic in these discussions, but working toward discerning the emotions behind the statements. Also remember, it is okay to ask “How do you feel?” Encourage open and honest communications and the results may surprise you.
Partake in team building exercises that focus on motivation
It helps to bring in an outside consultant, one who specializes in leadership, team building, and emotional intelligence. There are basically three goals to these types of exercises. First, you are working toward a more cohesive unit—a team that works well together. Next, you are getting your team excited about something, even if it is only the completion of the specific goal of the exercise. Finally, you are looking to see what excites your team members. You want to see what makes each individual most interested and excited, but also what gets the team to work together the best.
Practice making others feel good
There is a direct correlation between our own emotions and those we bring about in other people. In a fast-paced business environment, it is easy to get caught up in the stress of chasing a profit. Sometimes, people forget how to be happy in the process of it all. Being able to properly manage your happiness will help you to be more effective yet less stressed. In the business world, happiness can be granted with something other than a bonus or some extra time off. In fact, sometimes, it is as simple as a smile or compliment.
Good Emotional Intelligence Makes for Good Business
By being able to better connect with and understand those you work with and for, you will be able to explain things in a way that matters to them. You will have an easier time overcoming objections and winning support. Whether you are trying to close a sale or carry out successful change management projects, a higher EQ will lead to more fruitful success. In fact, if you look at some of the most successful people in the world, chances are you will be able to instantly realize their mastery of emotional intelligence.