Are you sitting comfortably? Welcome to my series of podcasts that will help you to navigate the issues that you’ll inevitably come up against as a business owner. Today I want to talk about how emotional intelligence helps build resilience.
As a business owner, you’re probably very knowledgeable and savvy, but to be successful and resilient, you need to be emotionally intelligent as well.
So what is emotional intelligence? It’s about being able to identify and manage your own emotions and those of others. In a leadership context, this means that you’ll be able to understand others, communicate better, be less reactive, and make better decisions. Getting on better with the people around you and feeling less stressed because you don’t react emotionally to things does wonders for your resilience, and for your ability to lead with confidence.
What traits, then, does an emotionally intelligent person have?
Firstly, they’re self-aware. They can recognise feelings and emotions in themselves while they’re happening. This allows them to aware of their emotions and to take a pause so they can react to a situation in a calmer and more balanced way.
So a big part of emotional intelligence is being able to control how you express your emotions and react to situations. An emotionally intelligent person will be able to calm themselves down, maintain perspective, and work their way out of a negative mood.
An emotionally intelligent person is also an empathetic person. Empathy is the ability to know how people are feeling and understand what they need, and this can be a very positive trait to have in business and in life.
Let’s look at why emotional intelligence is important for you as a business owner, and how it can help build resilience.
The first point is that much of your success will depend on the quality of the relationships you have with your employees. If you can understand them, communicate with them, and gain their respect and trust, you’re well on your way to being able to influence and lead them.
Communication is so important, and you can’t be a good leader without being a good communicator. So as an emotionally intelligent leader, if you can communicate well with others, get your message across, empower people, and inspire them, you have a far better chance of building a great team who are willing to work hard for you. This is good news. A team who are inspired to work for you even when you’re not there is a team you can trust to run things so you can enjoy more balance in your life.
And next, this is an important one. Emotionally intelligent leaders are far better placed to deal with a crisis. Problems do happen, and while you often can’t do anything about this, you can control how you respond. Emotional intelligence is about regulating your emotions and not letting knee jerk reactions lead you into bad decisions. Remember, people count on you to deal with issues and help them navigate troubled waters, and you can’t do that when you’re constantly in a panic.
So how do you increase your emotional intelligence?
If you’re sitting there listening to this podcast thinking about how you instantly fly into a panic when there’s a problem or challenge, or you’re someone who struggles to maintain a good relationship with your team, there’s no need to worry. Emotional intelligence can be learned and developed.
Here are some practical things you can do every day to increase your emotional intelligence and build resilience.
Firstly, put others’ needs before your own.
This will help you make better decisions that are acceptable to everyone. Once employees see that you’ve considered them, they’ll be much more motivated, engaged, and loyal. If your team are behind you, you’ll feel more supported and less stressed.
Next, take the time to communicate with people.
Your business has a much better chance of being successful if your team feel listened to, understood, and respected. A manager who is unapproachable and never available doesn’t exactly inspire trust and respect.
Speaking of communication, make sure you take the time to listen to, not just talk. If you listen to others you will understand them and their points of view, and it will make you a better and more respected leader.
Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is a big part of being an emotionally intelligent leader.
If you can see and understand how people feel, you’ll be able to build better relationships with your team and ultimately make better decisions.
Employees will work hard for you if you can demonstrate that you understand them, listen to them, and value them, and part of valuing them is recognising a job well done. When your team or an individual employee has been working hard or going the extra mile, show them that you notice by giving them verbal praise, sending them a thank you email, or even sending them a small gift as a token of your appreciation.
This positive reinforcement will keep employees motivated and willing to work hard for you.
So being emotionally intelligent has a lot to do with being tuned in to emotions, whether it’s your own or those of others. Watch your own thoughts and emotions. Learn how to take a step back, and how to challenge unhelpful thinking.
Once you’re self-aware, you are more able to recognise and understand other people’s emotions, and the emotional atmosphere in general. For example, if you know that morale is low because of a setback, reassure your team that you know they’ve suffered a blow, but you’re all in it together and that you welcome their input on solutions to fix any problems or deal with any challenges.
Are YOU ready to stop merely surviving and start thriving?
Positive thinking can make a huge difference to your leadership.