By Jamie Moore Marcario
You’re finally your own boss. You decide what you do, who you do it for, when and how. Awesome, right? But if you’ve never done your own thing before, you’ve quickly discovered that your brilliant business plan and loan from your brother to fund your dream aren’t enough to bring it all to life. You need emotional intelligence if you’re going to make it.
What is emotional intelligence?
Emotional Intelligence is a term coined by to researchers – Peter Salavoy and John Mayer – and brought into the common Zeitgeist by author Danial Goleman, who published his book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1996. I’ll refer to it as “EQ” in this article. Emotional Intelligence is our ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions AND our ability to recognize, understand and INFLUENCE the emotions of others. Awareness of emotions—yours and others’—drives what you do and how you affect people. If this doesn’t come naturally to you, you’re not alone. But to succeed in business it’s essential that you learn how to manage your own emotions and influence those of the people around you, especially when the pressure is on.
Lead with your EQ not your IQ
There are plenty of smart people in the world. You’re likely one of them or you wouldn’t be reading this. But book smarts or even street smarts don’t make someone a great leader. We’ve all worked with plenty of brilliant colleagues who were absolutely made to do their brilliant work, but who could not walk into a room of 40 people and strike up a conversation with even 1 person. And we’ve all worked for that boss who’d call a status meeting that left you feeling uncertain, confused, or unworthy only because he was so darn tough to read, aloof, cold, and distant.
In contrast, we’ve also worked with people that make us feel great, motivated, passionate or excited almost every time we interact with them. Why? Because they’re tuned into us. They notice us. They read us. And in a crowd of 40 people, they read the room and walk out with 10 connections and 5 new friends. These are the people even leaders want to follow.
The difference? IQ versus EQ. IQ: A smart person who has no idea how to regulate emotions. EQ: A person who not only understands how to regulate emotions but how to spark them.
Wanna Lead? Learn EQ.
If you’re an entrepreneur who feels alone, stuck, overwhelmed, or if you feel like the only person doing anything right on your team is you, it’s time to invest in improving your YOU’RE YOUR emotional intelligence. If you understand the emotional side of yourself, your team, and your clients, you’ll take more and better risks that lead to results. You’ll communicate your ideas more clearly so others have an easier time making them a reality or . . . better yet . . . choosing to buy them! When niggling little doubts peck at you, you’ll be able to swat them away and go with your gut because you’ll trust yourself.
Ignore EQ at Your Own Risk
Okay. So maybe this all just sounds too touchy feely. We get that, too. But if you choose to ignore EQ, sock away some money to pay for some costly financial and legal mistakes. Why? Because you’ll often listen to and trust the wrong people for the wrong reasons, take advice from others that may be great or their business but is not so great for yours, ignore your own instincts, or avoid tough conversations with employees, vendors, or business partners. Acting on emotion without understanding emotion could cost you your business, your friends, and your family.
I need some EQ! Where do I start?
If you want to build your emotional intelligence, start with surrounding yourself with friends and trusted advisors who exhibit emotional intelligence themselves. For example, at Thrive Law, we hire based not only on rational intelligence (which is extremely important), but based on emotional intelligence, too. As a result, if you choose to work with us as part of your extended business team, we will help to hone your EQ, learn which instincts to trust, which not to and when, and lead from the inside out. As part of our work with you, we can be the advisor you turn to as a backstop on emotional decisions, to help you identify and move through fear, and to protect your business’s future, so you have the emotional space to expand.
This article is an educational service of Thrive LawTM, a business law boutique. It does not constitute legal or tax advice or imply an attorney-client or accountant-client relationship. At Thrive Law, we offer a full spectrum of legal services for businesses and are equipped to help you make the wisest choices about your business dealings while you’re alive and well or in the event of your incapacity or death. We also offer a Healthy Business & Creative Checkup for ongoing ventures, as well as outsourced company counsel plans for businesses who need a legal team on speed dial. Contact us today to schedule: 727.300.1990 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot wait to meet you!