Emotional intelligence is vital to running a successful business. Emotions have an effect on teamwork, customer satisfaction, manager-employee relationships and employee retention. 

Your emotional quotient (EQ) is the ability to manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Do you fly off the handle when a team member upsets you or a client does something that makes you really mad? Lacking control of your emotions is a good way to quickly lose employees or clients. 

I‘ve seen entrepreneurs ruin their business because they lacked emotional intelligence. They would lash out and overreact at their employees actions, making it difficult to retain employees long-term. The overly-emotional approach never works. You won ‘t motivate your employees to work harder by tearing into them, but you can empower them by being a great leader. 

Here are some of the pillars of emotional intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness – It ‘s crucial to recognize your emotions and the effects they have. Do you easily get upset? Are you hot-tempered? Do you cry often? It ‘s good to know these things about yourself, so you can recognize when your emotions are starting to get out of control. When you know your emotional tendencies, you can take steps to remove yourself from a situation or calm yourself down, so your emotions don ‘t have a negative impact on your friends, family or employees.
  2. Self-regulation – You need to be able to control your emotions. This is thinking before you act, avoiding flying off the handle, verbally attacking, or firing off a rude email when emotions are high. You have to learn to take a step back and evaluate the situation to understand the other person ‘s point of view and how your actions will effect your company. Avoid making rash, emotional decisions. Remaining calm can be the most powerful trait of a successful entrepreneur.
  3. Internal motivation – People with a high EQ are self-motivated. They pursue personal goals for reasons of self-development and self-gratification, rather than for money, titles, external praise or esteem. If you don ‘t have a strong sense of internal motivation, entrepreneurship may not be for you. You have to be a self-starter to put int the work even when you don ‘t feel like it.
  4. Empathy – Empathy is the degree to which you can empathize with other people ‘s emotions and understand the viewpoints of others. I highly recommend having each team member take the DISC profile to understand their personality type. This way, you can make sure they ‘re in a role that will bring them and the organization success. Empathy is definitely a daily practice and involves listening to your team just as much as you talk to them.
  5. Social skills – Leaders communicate effectively and are good at identifying and resolving conflicts. They also inspire others by leading by example and giving praise to others when earned. Using their emotional intelligence, they easily build trust and respect with others and are good at managing relationships and building networks. A good leader will constantly communicate with their team to get feedback and ideas from them, so they can always be improving.

Here ‘s a list of traits of successful leaders who have a high EQ: 

  • They are better at staying calm under pressure.
  • They listen as often or more often than they speak.
  • They lead by example.
  • They make thoughtful business decisions.
  • They take criticism well, admitting to their mistakes and learning from them.
  • They keep their emotions in check and can discuss tough issues maturely.
  • They can effectively resolve conflict.
  • They are empathetic to coworkers.

In order to improve your emotional intelligence, start incorporating these practices into your daily life. 

Pause before you speak, act, or respond. This will help you calm down and think through what the best solution is for everyone involved, all while keeping your emotions at bay.

Listen to those around you. Listening will help you understand the emotional needs of others. It takes the focus off of you and gives you a clear view of what the people around you need from you.

Attempt to control your thoughts. We can ‘t control what happens to us or the emotions we feel in a moment, but we can control how we respond to them by reframing our thoughts. Instead of blaming yourself or someone else when something negative happens, instead think about why they may have acted that way and what the best, most thoughtful way to respond is. 

Praise others. Lifting up other people trains your brain to focus on the good in others, encouraging empathy and allowing a deeper understanding of other people ‘s needs and motivations. Using praise and positivity can also help you have constructive discussions on tough issues, because it decreases defensiveness and encourages openness. 

Be able to take criticism. It can be hurtful, but it can also be helpful, as it opens us up to outside perspectives. In the face of criticism, ask yourself – How can I improve and grow from this?

Pay attention to body language. Most communication is non-verbal. If you only listen with your ears, you could be missing out on how a person really feels.  

Apologize. Intentions get misunderstood and feelings get hurt regularly. Apologizing shows compassion and encourages us to better understand one another while building trust and respect.

Try to see from another person ‘s point of view. When in disagreement, consider the needs,  motivations, and emotions that may be shaping another ‘s priorities and opinions. Ask the reasons behind their thoughts and try to genuinely understand them. 

Communicate your feelings. When you are offended or upset, communicate to the offending party in a calm, non-threatening way so everyone can gain a mutual understanding and avoid future problems. 

Deedra Determan, Founder

Deedra Determan started her career working in television for one of the top media companies in the country and later became a marketing consultant in the television industry.

Determan went on to launch a niche website for moms in her local market with over 100,000 moms visiting the website each month using the power of Facebook. After one year from launching, Determan sold the website to Oklahoma Media Company, Griffin Communications. Determan went on to launch a digital marketing agency, D2 Branding that was recently recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur360.

Determan is the host of the Do It My Way Podcast Show, empowering women business owners and CEO’s to do business on their terms with no regrets, hesitation or fear. Determan coaches these women on how to create a personal brand so they can live a life of financial freedom, working when they want to work and making the money they want to make!