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Emotional Intelligence in Business

Way too often we see those brilliant and well-educated individuals struggle in life or business, while those with a less obvious set of skills and intellect manage to grow and develop. Why is that? The answer almost always boils down to emotional Intelligence.

A global management consulting and executive search firm - Egon Zehnder International analyzed 515 senior executives and discovered that those who were emotionally intelligent were more likely to succeed than those with higher IQ or previous experience. Research studies reveal that 2/3 of the success depends on EQ and only 1/3 of the success is related to IQ and experience together.

The ability to understand your own emotions and the emotions of others in a business setting is crucial no matter what type of industry your business is in.

The studies point out three main areas of executive derailment and those are the inability to accepting the changes, failure of working in a team, and poor handling of interpersonal relationships. We can kind of see that in individuals who are not used to adapting to a reality different form which they have created for themselves. Often they are victims of horrible bosses themselves and creating fear is the only way they know to increase motivations within the organization. Also, since their career building required a lot of hard work, they simply had no time for friends and family which resulted in issues with interpersonal relationships.

A fairly developed EQ in business is needed for decision making and stress management. Managers equipped with a high EQ are able to effectively defuse tense situations and positively resolve problems while maintaining a clear head and calm disposition not to mention dealing with potentially difficult clients.

To test these findings on your own think of the last time you had to deal with a salesperson. Usually, that happens when we are purchasing cars, homes, appliances, or deal with home improvement companies, or other services. We usually shop around for the best deals but is the actual price of the item that finally affects our decision or do we choose to leave our money with someone that we actually like? Almost every person will admit that the price wasn't the definite factor and instead it was the person we were dealing with. We look for people we like and whom we can trust. It's why being a successful salesperson is not about being aggressive but about creating an emotionally intelligent connection with their client because even if you have the best product at the best price, nobody will trust you enough if you lack people skills.

The same formula applies to leaders in an organization. The higher up the ladder, the more crucial emotional intelligence abilities are as the impacts are greater and felt throughout the entire organization. Similar principles apply in all areas of life, whether at work or in relationships. We all want to work with people who are easy to get along with, who are supportive, likable, and can be trusted. We want to be beside people that instead of getting upset over a mistake will take the time to explain the error and help employees to grow within the organization instead of losing their composure when things do not work out according to plan.

The most essential skill in emotional intelligence is self-awareness and a solid understanding of your own qualities, skills, and weaknesses. Those people fully recognize the feelings that can potentially impact others and their performance. In many companies fear is still being used as the main motivator. Although fear is an excellent motivator immediately following a life-threatening event, it is too uncomfortable for us to stay in that mindset for very long. Imagine if you motivated yourself to stick with your new healthier lifestyle only by concentrating on what horrible things might happen to you if you didn’t. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a life worth living and it is a lot harder to motivate someone who is scared.

We need to transition from thinking in terms of what bad things are going to happen if we don’t change to focusing instead on what good things will happen if we do our best. This process is called “cognitive reframing” and it is vital for any lasting change whether in professional or private life.

A great leader is a team player and doesn't concentrate on his own personal success. Superior social skill is another one of the areas of emotional intelligence that needs to be improved when working with a team. We often lack those skills because of the anxiety caused by past experiences but if we constantly look back and analyze our past we will eventually trip over what we find in front of us. Our past failures are supposed to teach us a lesson -- not paralyze our future. People with social skills are excellent team players as they have the ability to move an agenda along and keep focus while at the same time remaining aware of the emotional climate of the group and possess the ability to respond to it. These people are excellent at making connections, networking, and bringing people together to work on projects. They are able to bring their emotional intelligence skills into play in a larger arena.

If you want to hire emotionally intelligent staff learn how your candidates handle emotionally challenging situations in the workplace. This information will provide insight into how they manage their emotions. Also, pay attention to the candidate's body language and word choice as they answer your questions. If they seem relaxed and focused, they are likely great self-managers. If you aren’t considering the emotional intelligence of your candidates, you could make a misstep and hire someone who isn’t emotionally prepared for the new role. Ask more interview questions that reveal a candidate’s level of EQ to help you determine whether or not they are truly qualified. By ensuring that your organization’s leaders possess a high level of emotional intelligence, you can retain more employees and empower your company to succeed. A few companies applied "The 5P's of Life Program" instead of a traditional resume which allows the HR department to match the candidates to the new role by evaluating their passions, purpose, and personality type. This allows the right applicant to develop their interests and skills even further and dramatically increase their chances of success. The program taps also into enhancing emotional intelligence and communication skills within the company.

After all, wouldn’t we all want to work with emotionally intelligent leaders in an organization that honors our dreams?

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