Benefits of Emotional Intelligence for Your Business

You most certainly have come across a person who flies off the handle when stressed - it may be you who is reading this - and another person who has the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. I am tempted to mention a few Kenyan political names but for now, let's focus on the corporate world.

Stressed employee

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups. It describes an ability to monitor your own emotions as well as the emotions of others, to distinguish between and label different emotions correctly, and to use emotional information to guide your thinking, behavior and influence that of others (Goleman, 1995; Mayer & Salovey, 1990).

In case you didn't know, different studies indicate to us that it is emotional intelligence (EQ) that sets great leaders apart from the rest and not the level of IQ that one has. Research indicates that EQ is twice as important in leadership as IQ and technical expertise combined.

Others have gone ahead and pointed out that while intellectual capability, knowledge and technical expertise are needed for entry in a field, they do not make you an outstanding performer. EQ is the differentiating factor for success.

Now you know!

Now that you understand what emotional intelligence is, let's now divert our attention to how this is important in the workplace.

1. Self-Awareness

Emotionally intelligent people are not only good at thinking about how other people might feel, they are also proficient at understanding their own feelings. Becoming more self-aware in the workplace allows you to relate better with your workmates and superiors, creating a more harmonious environment. You are able to look at issues more objectively and the role you may have played in creating them.

When you have self awareness it means you are able to grasp your own emotional strengths and weaknesses, therefore being able to avoid emotion-based confusion in difficult situations. You are able to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

If we don’t have self awareness, our actions can become misconstrued. In a business setting, this can not only cause friction between teams but it can make it more difficult to hit targets, and can even reduce profitability.

2. Self-Regulation

Emotionally intelligent people know that emotions can be powerful. You must not only be able to recognize your own emotions, you must also be able to appropriately express, regulate and manage them. Being able to think before you act, not overreacting to minor stressors, not taking out your stress on others or holding on to toxic feelings is what a good leader should have, and that is what self regulation is about.

Remember, if you are an entrepreneur, as you build your company you will face uncomfortable situations on a daily basis. In order to address these situations successfully, you need to be calm so that you can think clearly, evaluate thoroughly and develop the most sound decisions in any given circumstance.

3. Motivation

Emotionally intelligent people do not give in to their emotional cravings as this destroys self-control which brings about the lose of hope of ever being self-motivated.

There is a quote that my mentor once told me, "it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

I cannot over-emphasize the importance of employee motivation by the employer or leader. Employee motivation is a critical aspect at the workplace which leads to the performance of the department and the company at large.

Motivated employees can lead to increased productivity and allow an organization to achieve higher levels of output. A positive attitude in the social dimension is motivation, one of the key features of emotional intelligence and leadership.

4. Social Awareness

Emotionally intelligent people know that understanding yourself is a great start, but to be a successful leader you must be able to identify other people’s emotions. This is what is called empathy. They are able to manage other’s emotions and move people in the desired direction.

Empathy is a perfect trait for management and leadership roles. Leaders and business owners who display knowledge of how their workers are feeling makes them great at collaboration, communication and conflict resolution. When managers or leaders approach staff with open dialogue, understanding and a willingness to offer help, staff are more likely to respond with mutual willingness.

Successful people do not operate alone, each of us needs the support of others to achieve positive results that push us toward our goals. Successful business leaders are receptive to disruption and are aware of what is going on in their organizations both internally and externally.

5. Social Skills

Emotionally intelligent people are able to interact well with others. Emotional understanding involves more than just understanding your own emotions and the feelings of others - you also need to be able to put this to work in your daily interactions and communications.

Managers benefit by being able to build relationships and connections with employees, while workers can benefit from being able to develop a strong rapport with their leaders. When people have good social skills, there is improved conflict management, negotiation and communication.

Social skills create group synergy in pursuing collective goals as an organization. This can include finding common ground with others, managing others in a work environment, and being persuasive.


Emotional competence makes the crucial difference between mediocre and

outstanding managers. Outstanding leaders show significantly greater

strengths in a range of emotional competencies, including influence, team

leadership, political awareness, self-confidence and achievement drive.

Start working on being more emotionally intelligent and you will be well on your way to becoming a greater leader.

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