Business managers have often risen to their positions because they are good at ‘doing’. They organise teams, manage projects and ensure the smooth running of operations.
What gets regularly overlooked however is the importance of ‘feeling’ in management. Going beyond the tasks, and understanding the importance of emotional intelligence in business development.
Despite the rise in AI, business, when it comes down to it, is about people. People are not (yet!) robots; able to separate themselves from emotion in their business interactions and tasks.
This means that emotion is an intrinsic part of business. And those managers that can master empathy for their colleagues are the ones that become truly inspirational leaders, able to get the ultimate productivity from their teams.
Not only having empathy but being able to portray it, professionally and genuinely takes management to another level and as a result improves staff performance and the development of your business.
Also worth highlighting is that sympathy comes across very differently to empathy. Sympathy can seem patronising and pitying, making the person on the receiving end feel worse rather than supported.
Tailored coaching can teach influential business managers to recognise the emotions of others as well as assess what support to offer, and adaptations they can make to their behaviour to ensure they get to the root cause.
Emotional intelligence can help you harness the full potential of your people, become a great leader, improve communication and boost customer service. All vital ingredients for business success.
If you really want to get to the heart of success, here’s all you need to know about emotional intelligence for business development…
What Is Emotional Intelligence?
When we discuss emotional intelligence, what we really mean is the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, whilst being intuitive to the emotions of others.
Those that have emotional intelligence show empathy and understanding for how other people feel.
Emotional intelligence is much harder to measure than intellect (IQ), but arguably, just as important. It means managers are able to understand employees as human beings not solely staff members.
Recognising the emotions of your employees can help you offer the right support at the right times. It can help you to know when to step in, and when to hold back.
It can help individual managers to become more effective by managing stress and difficult situations. Understanding your emotions, and the contributing factors to those emotions, will help you tap into new levels of motivation and productivity.
How Important Is Emotional Intelligence For Business Development?
Have you ever experienced a manager that was good at firing out tasks, but terrible at communication? Have you ever clashed with a difficult colleague? Or worked with a manager who just didn’t seem to care about their employees? Chances are you have, and their behaviour was due to them finding it difficult to recognise and regulate emotions in themselves and others.
In 21st century business, the authoritarian style of management just doesn’t work any more. Workers expect collaborative, supportive managers. They prize communication, teamwork, integrity and mutual respect and in turn are loyal, hard working employees.
It’s now widely acknowledged that great leaders are an essential element of a successful business. Great leaders motivate and inspire. They have exceptional communication skills and treat their employees as individuals. These qualities depend on having a high level of emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence helps you navigate business relationships. It helps you understand your employees and get the best from them. It helps you build profitable partnerships.
In a competitive business world, this style of management will also help you hold onto your top talent.
How You Can Develop Emotional Intelligence…
Now we know what emotional intelligence is and why it’s important in business success, let’s look at how you can develop these qualities.
While some people may seem innately switched on to the emotional side of people, emotional intelligence is largely learned.
It develops as we go through life; as we, hopefully, respond and change with each challenge or new situation we are faced with.
However, if you recognise that you are out of tune with your emotions and those around you, and you feel it is holding you back in business, there are some things you can do about it.
Identify Your Feelings…
It’s harder than you think to pin down what you feel. Is it stress, anger, sadness? It can be harder still to understand why you feel that way.
If you’re stressed, is it to do with fear of an upcoming interview? If you feel more distracted than usual, is there something on your mind that’s stopping you from concentrating? We can often trace our emotions to a source in our lives that may not be obvious at first.
If you can identify a source or trigger for how you are feeling, it gives you back some control. You might be able to identify a regular trigger that you can then try to avoid, reduce or manage.
Look For Solutions…
If you can identify a source for the negative emotions you want to regulate, then you have an opportunity to do something about it. If there’s a particular person or situation that causes you to become overwhelmed or upset, you can employ different coping methods, or try taking a different view of the circumstances.
What can you learn from it? Can you find a different way of communicating with a difficult person?
Where it’s not possible to simply avoid the source of your negative emotions, you can work on how you deal with these feelings.
Change the way you think – instead of jumping to negative conclusions about a situation, consider it from all sides.
If you struggle with fear of failure, give yourself a number of options so that if one avenue doesn’t work out, there’s always another. If you’re easily overwhelmed, take a moment to remove yourself emotionally from the situation, breathe and start again.
These techniques will help you build resilience. Being able to manage negative emotions in yourself and others will help you navigate difficult situations, bounce back from adversity, and resolve workplace conflicts.
You may not have thought about it before, but if you take a moment to really consider your individual employees, you’ll undoubtedly find verbal and non verbal clues about how they are feeling. Are they are stressed or unmotivated? Is it impacting on their work?
This is where you can offer more support, re-assess workloads, or offer some mentoring. Assess what the individual needs to help them perform at their best.
Look After Yourself…
Stress, negativity, anger, frustration can all impact on your health as well as your performance at work. Self care is vital – switch off your phone and spend even half an hour doing something you enjoy. Practice mindfulness. Go for a run. Walk the dog. Watch your favourite programme. Whatever helps you re-balance and trigger more positive emotions.
Breathe, Think, Speak…
Improving your communication skills is a great place to start in increasing your emotional intelligence. If you’re someone that is emotionally reactive in challenging situations, try to hold back and consider your response first.
Good communication also includes listening; letting the other person speak and express how they feel before you react.
Try to make your language specific and solution orientated, rather than critical or vaguely negative. Switch your style from confrontational to collaborative. Instead of saying ‘Why hasn’t this been done’, try saying ‘When do you think this could be completed by?’ or ‘How can I support you to get this done?’
The first step to developing higher emotional intelligence is by understanding how you feel, why you feel that way and what you can do about it. Try out different techniques, strategies or routines to help you build confidence, communication skills, stay calm under pressure and perform at your best.
If you want to find out more about leadership, communication, resilience, confidence, or upskilling your people for better business results, sign up for my free video series on The CPR Method and see how it can transform your business…