By Mary-Anne Calvert, Founder of The Human Element
As every entrepreneur would agree, we are a special breed of people who have the courage to turn our passions into businesses and make our dreams a reality.
Yet, like any leader, there is much we need to learn and many skills we need to develop to ensure the success of our ventures, particularly when there is no HR department, finance and tax expert, or IT guru on hand! We also need a host of personal characteristics to succeed, such as:
Patience, Persistence, Creativity, Confidence, Self-belief, “Balls”!, Resilience, Resourcefulness, Being Open to New Ideas, Endless Energy, Self-reliance, and Being Comfortable with Risk.
This is clearly a path that is not for the faint-hearted, and key to it all is emotional intelligence, which is understanding and managing our own emotions and those of the people around us. It is knowing exactly what we are feeling, what it means and how it can affect other people.
So, how do we develop our EQ?
By becoming self-aware of our emotions and actions and the impact these have on others; knowing what triggers our emotions; what our strengths and limitations are, and who we really are as a person (our authentic selves).
By practicing self-regulation in controlling our impulses (knowing we may go to jail if we don’t!); not making emotional decisions; staying focused; not compromising on our values; being flexible and personally accountable, and not “blame throwing.”
By being self-motivated, i.e., consistently working towards our goals despite the obstacles; having high standards for the quality of work we and others deliver, and being able to “fake it ‘til we make it” so we can influence the motivation of others.
By having empathy, i.e., sensing, understanding and responding to what others are feeling; challenging those who act unfairly; showing compassion; giving constructive feedback and listening, really listening!
By becoming socially skilled so that we can manage, influence and inspire the emotions of others; communicate our passions, feelings and emotions accurately and appropriately; elicit support from others; join in the excitement of our teams’ successes, and manage and resolve conflict.
With these five skills in mind, it is obvious that having a low EQ is an issue in relationships, both our personal ones and those we have with the customers and staff in our businesses.
Look at the table above which lists some of the behaviours that indicate low and high EQ levels. This will give you an idea of where you need to focus your attention to improve your EQ.
Mary-Anne Calvert is a South African entrepreneur passionate about learning, skills training and leadership development. She knows that smart companies and organizations understand the power of developing their employees’ full potential, and as a result, launched her business, The Human Element. Her company is on a mission to make learning and development both impactful and fun for its clients. The Human Element provides leadership and soft skills development, performance coaching and business development, to nurture the potential of South Africans who are a talented, resilient and creative people.
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