eqEmotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges, and defuse conflict.

As a business owner, these qualities can enhance both your communications with your customers and how you deal with life in general. If you have the capability of understanding your own emotions and the reasons you react the way you do, it will give you a better understanding of why others are reacting the way they do when you come into contact with them regarding business matters.

In order to thrive, a high level of emotional intelligence is necessary. Take, for example, someone who angers easily, who lacks control over their emotions. Their inability to see the cause of their emotional instability usually leads to job loss, relationship problems and sometimes ill health. While there is such a thing as healthy stress and it can be a motivator in times of crises, most stress that we deal with tends to be of the unhealthy variety.

A person with a high EQ level usually keeps their cool instead of becoming angry, they don’t complain about the small things in life, if at all, and they avoid drama at all costs. They are self aware and self composed, understanding that stress reduction is important. They usually possess a good sense of humour and if conflict arises that can’t be avoided, they work through it as quickly as possible.

Can emotional intelligence be learned?

EQ is a skill and like all skills, it takes practise, knowledge of your own shortcomings and the ability to apply a skill to your life circumstances. Each person responds differently to stress just as all business owners are different and they will have to learn which stressors in their business have the most effect on them. Unlike IQ, which tends to be linked to learning at a younger age, particularly in music, EQ includes the ability to be aware of oneself and our emotions.

Since EQ has a huge effect on problem solving, the higher your emotional intelligence, the better equipped you will be to deal with all aspects of your business. Though intangible, we see it in those who are socially aware, competent in a variety of situations and measured by performance. Someone with a high EQ is able to train themselves to use behaviours that will benefit them. They can modify their own behaviour to the extent that it changes their whole world.

Business involves networking with people who have completely different personalities than your own. Understanding yourself means understanding others and it also means influencing others. Your emotional intelligence can be improved and because of that you can also learn to overcome challenges that you once found impossible to deal with.

© Chris Draper, DemGen Inc. 2015