You probably have a pretty good IQ, but how’s your EQ?
I’m talking about your emotional intelligence. A lot of people think that book smarts is the most important kind of intelligence in entrepreneurship. But if you want to build a business that will survive challenges, you need to become an emotionally intelligent leader.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is about the ability to understand emotions—both other people’s and your own. If you have good EQ, you’ll know how to manage emotions in any situation to get the best outcome and results for everybody involved.
This skill is key to building and growing a winning team who will show up for your business and commit to your mission. There have been studies that show that people are more likely to stay at a job and put a hundred percent into their productivity and performance when they have an emotionally intelligent leader.
If you want to improve your emotional intelligence so you can lead yourself, your team, and your business more effectively, practice these 9 things:
1. Develop Your Self-Awareness
You can’t manage other people’s emotions if you don’t know how to handle your own. Developing your EQ means learning how your emotions affect you and the people round you. The more self-awareness you have, the better you’ll be at intentionally responding to situations instead of being triggered and reacting recklessly.
2. Focus on Positive Outcomes
Your perspective is everything. So, don’t allow negative emotions to run your life or lead your decisions. Practice taking a positive approach to every problem. When issues come up, focus on finding solutions. And don’t just go with the solutions that make life easier for you. Emotionally intelligent leaders work to get a positive outcome for as many people as possible.
3. Communicate for Impact
If you want people to follow your lead, you have to communicate properly. It’s not just about making people understand you and listen to what you say. You should be assertive without being rude or aggressive. Good communication is also about paying attention to what other people are saying. So, practice listening carefully and paying attention to non-verbal cues to understand what other people are saying and feeling.
4. Master Constructive Criticism
Your team is going to make mistakes sometimes. There’s no way to avoid it. When it happens, you’re going to need to address it. The best way to do that is by giving constructive criticism that is clear about the problem and gives feedback that will help them improve. Don’t think you’re above correction either. Learn to treat criticism as a chance to get better instead of getting defensive or angry.
5. Choose Your Battles Wisely
Emotionally intelligent leaders know that not every fight is worth fighting. Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to walk away. It’s not quitting, it’s choosing your battles wisely. Don’t let your ego and pride put in situations that will compromise your mission. Be smart enough to make the choices that will lead to better outcomes.
6. Build an EQ Culture
Your company culture is directly influenced by how you work and operate. So, set the example for your team. Practice emotional intelligence in all your daily operations. This means responding instead of reacting; moving with integrity; being accountable for your mistakes; and managing your own emotions. The more you do this, the more it will become a part of your company culture.
7. Know your Core Values
Being a leader means you’ll have to make a lot of tough decisions. When that happens, how will you know what to choose? By knowing your values, core principles, and non-negotiables and sticking to them even when it would be easier to go in a different direction. Having clear core values also makes sure your team will know how to make decisions that align with your mission too.
8. Let Logic Guide You
When you find yourself in a situation where you have to make a choice, don’t rush into a decision. Your first instinct will probably be to respond based on your feelings. But emotionally intelligent leaders know how to step back, assess the situation, and make the logical choice based on your values, principles, vision, mission, and goals.
9. Maintain Situational Awareness
As a leader, you’ll always have a long list of responsibilities. Your job is to be able to acknowledge them and them prioritize them so you can execute on your mission. The more situational awareness you have, the better you’ll be able to avoid getting overwhelmed and making sloppy, emotional decisions that will keep you form achieving your goals.
Just like any other business skill, emotional intelligence takes practice. But if you use these nine tips consistently, you’ll build the EQ you need to make smart decisions, lead your team with confidence, and focus on the things that really matter.
IF you want to learn more about becoming an emotionally intelligent leader, join my No Sympathy Fam Facebook group where we talk about EQ and other important business skills.