It can be hard old world out there. The world of business, in particular, has a somewhat ruthless, cut-throat, reputation.
Given this, it might seem odd to want to develop your ‘soft skills’ to get ahead in business, but there’s a lot that you and your business can gain from tapping in and nurturing your emotional intelligence.
Peter Agnew, from People Development Australia, makes it his mission to teach emotional intelligence (EI) in a business setting. He describes emotional intelligence as a "self-awareness of how your emotions affect your behaviours, decisions and performance." He explains that this self-awareness enables you to communicate and interact effectively with others because you can express your feelings and use reason simultaneously.
A "self-awareness of how your emotions affect your behaviours, decisions and performance."
How does this contribute to your bottom line?
Here are Agnew’s top five benefits of using emotional intelligence in your business.
Persistence in the face of frustrations
As small business owners, we have lots of roadblocks and challenges in influencing others. EI allows you to keep these in perspective. When you understand that these roadblocks and challenges do affect your moods, you are able to acknowledge this frustration and move on.
Impulse control and delayed gratification
EI helps you to keep focused on “deep work” and skip past all the short term distractions with a view on the longer term goals. If you’re guilty of stepping out to grab a third coffee, or just running some quick errands, you need EI in your life.
Self motivation and mood regulation
You are more than your moods. EI helps you to accept your moods and be self-aware. It becomes clear why you may be feeling a certain way, as well as how that feeling or mood affects your behaviour and performance, and the impact it has on others.
Stress reduction and clear thinking
Have you ever got yourself into such a fluster that you’ve uttered the words “I can’t think straight”? Possibly not, if you’re well versed in EI. Emotional intelligence helps you to stay balanced and measured in stressful situations. Keeping a calm head while pitching to a potential investor? Yes, please.
When people let you down, and they will, a strong grounding of EI will enable you to bounce back and move on from conflict quickly. Dwelling on insults or holding grudges rarely gets you what you want, and EI helps you let them go so you can focus on something productive instead.
To any business owner wanting to improve their EI, Agnew has the following tips.
Firstly, "be open and receptive to feedback from others," he says. "Feedback is key to becoming more self-aware of how your behaviour affects yourself and others. Welcome feedback, be receptive to it, take complaints on your behaviour as a gift. Explore it and reflect on it often."
Secondly, "To be proactive in building reliance strategies is also crucial," advises Agnew. "Adequate proactive management strategies such as rest, balance, perspective, mindfulness, reframing thinking, nutrition, exercise will all assist with being more resilient in times of stress."
Aja is Sydney-based writer and serial entrepreneur. She regularly writes about small business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellbeing. Her latest entrepreneurial adventure is yeahmama.co.