She Leads Africa: Emotional Intelligence as a Tool For Taking Your Business to the Next Level
Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business. If you’re passionate about starting a business that will be highly successful, or trying hard to take your existing business to the next level, then you have to read this.
Various works of research have shown that we need more than knowledge or high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) to really succeed in life; mores, at running a business.
As an entrepreneur, it is important to attend business school, read wide, have a firm grip of your industry, and know what works and what does not. But even more important is having a high Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ). And this is because business in its entirety is all about people; whether you deal in products or services, you’re dealing with people.
Emotional Intelligence has to do with understanding our feelings and those of others. It is that “thing” which determines how we make personal decisions, respond to emotions, interact with people, and sail through social intricacies.
How do you offer the best service possible to your clients when you don’t understand how they feel? Despite what many believe, this form of intelligence comprises a set of skills that can be learned and applied every day.
Let’s take a look at some of these recipes for success.
You need to have emotional self-control
To understand people, it’s important to understand yourself first. You have to have control over your own emotions —the way you react to issues or situations— if you hope to keep your clients, and add many new ones.
Having emotional self-control means you can respond to negative situations rationally rather than emotionally. Don’t forget that people enjoy doing business with someone that is emotionally stable. And that means a lot for the growth of your enterprise.
To have emotional self-control, you have to be aware of your emotions from time to time. For example, the presence of negative emotions like anger, anxiety, pessimism, sadness can weigh you down and take a drastic turn on your business.
But once you’re aware of them, what triggers them, and how they affect you, then they can be put in check over time. I mean you can manage them as much as possible. I know this can be challenging at first, things would always get better with time.
In essence, to move ahead in your business —and even your career— you must stay motivated. And to stay motivated, you have to have control over your emotions.
Adopt listening as a skill
Running a business has everything to do with managing relationships. Yet it is practically impossible to manage relationships without getting to know the concerns or perspectives of others.
The window to the heart of your prospective or existing customers is active listening. Let them tell you what and how they feel about your product or service with a lot of assurance that you care.
Listening goes beyond just hearing someone else. It’s a skill that could be used to set your business —and indeed your life— on the path of great success. From your business partners and investors to clients and staff, you should pay adequate attention to whatever ideas or suggestions they put across to you.
Whether you approve of their ideas or not, make sure to listen with rapt attention and nod in acknowledgement. Why is this essential? People enjoy doing business with someone they like, one who listens to them, their complaints as well as their feedback.
Many business owners are too busy chasing profit without considering the magical power of active listening. They’ve forgotten that when they listen effectively to their customers, they would get more insight into how people view their products or services. And this in some way would hint them as to what and what should be done to make their businesses perform better.
Never underrate the power of listening; it could make a lot of difference in your business.
Showing empathy is the way to go
As an entrepreneur, it’s not enough to listen to those you’re transacting business with, showing care is essential. Think of your customers as yourself. Put yourself in their shoes. Be on the same page as your clients. Ask yourself: if I were the consumer of this product or service, how satisfied would I be?
It’s good to let your business be that ‘person’ whom people are endeared to and are willing to be with no matter what because she cares.
Showing empathy means looking into customers’ complaints with as much urgency as genuineness. It also means sincerely putting your customers first as far as the delivery of your service is concerned.
Emotional Intelligence is the magic wand for your business
Beyond being intelligent and strategic, beyond having a vast knowledge about running a business, there remains a great secret of success that can help you lead effectively in your industry and that’s Emotional Intelligence.
Although some are born with a high level of this form of intelligence, it can be learned. Once you take control of your emotions, use listening as an important skill and show great empathy for your clients, you’re already adopting Emotional Intelligence as a powerful tool to take your business to the next level.
Kofoworola Ayodeji is a freelance writer, pan-African transformational speaker, social and political commentator based in Nigeria. For more articles like this, join the SLA community here.