Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important competencies to acquire as an individual because it determines your level of productivity as well as that of those around you.
By Bankole Williams
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to understanding our feelings and the feelings of others (in this case, our customers). It is an important concept to understand as a business owner, because the quality of information that you have gathered with this knowledge will help you to be motivated to get work done and it will help you manage relationships towards achieving certain objectives. With emotional intelligence, you can also influence the decision of your prospects (potential customers).
Apart customer relationships, the employer-employee relationship can benefit from a good understanding and application of emotional intelligence. Based on my experience from when I worked in a bank, the average employee is not in charge of their emotions. Their emotions are easily influenced. More often than not, the mood of their employer or boss determines their mood and even how productive they are in the workplace.
It is important to understand that the way you feel will determine how productive you are. So, if you don’t feel great, you really won’t give your best and if you are always reacting, you will experience pain in life. If you are always reacting based on how your boss acts or the mood your boss is in, chances are that you will experience a lot of hurt in the workplace.
If you ask the average employee what the best day of the week is, they will tell you Friday and if you ask for their worst, some will say Monday morning and others would say Sunday evening or Sunday night. Many people dread being at work, dread the people at work and that dread is something to pay attention to because an emotional intelligent person should be able to manage their feelings and motivate themselves to get work done. A person who lacks emotional intelligence would be reactive and not able to manage his feelings well enough to achieve a specific objective. Emotional intelligence is actually a concept that is critical in the workplace so people can give their best at all times.
Dealing intelligently with your emotions as a business owner and that of your employees as well as the customer cannot be overemphasised. There are different methods to employ so as to get the best out of all parties.
One of the major objectives of a business owner is to keep his people consistently motivated. An emotionally intelligent person knows his people and their triggers well enough to be able to create the right kind of motivation. Most people think motivation is just money but it is not just that. Some people are motivated by appreciation, a good vision or picture painted so that they would be willing to embark on a journey with you. An emotionally intelligent person knows how to use these triggers to consistently keep his employees motivated so they can stay with him through the tough times that the business is bound to face.
There is usually the argument on whether to hire for competence or to hire for character. Emotional intelligence will help you quickly understand how a person is. It will help you create the kind of scenarios that would elicit certain behavioural traits of the person to help you know the kind of person you are dealing with. One of the key aspects of emotional intelligence is social awareness. Social awareness is the ability to accurately read people and make adjustments based on your findings. An emotionally intelligent person can be in an interview session with someone and pick on the subtle nuances of that person. Those nuances can tell how the person would react to certain scenarios and if they are fit for certain kinds of roles.
Dealing with Clients
We must understand that human beings are emotional beings and most of our decisions, even valid decisions, are based on emotions. For instance, there are times when you make a purchase and wonder why you did after the seller has left. What happened was that the person preyed on your emotions when they were there but logic came into the picture after the person left. Why would you pick a designer bag over a regular one? This is because, at the end of the day, these brands have been able to inspire strong emotions based on the perception of the customers. What this means is that business owners needs to understand that they are not just traders of goods and services, but that they are also traders of emotions.
Your job, if a client comes to you with a frown, is to make sure they leave with a smile. People may not remember what you said but they will remember how they felt about your brand and that is what will influence their buying decision. If you are trying to sell a product, you also want to create an emotional experience around that product because that is what is going to determine, ultimately, the client’s buying decision.
I tell people, when trying to do business with someone, your goal is not just to get the money, your goal is to win the heart of that customer and when you win the heart of the customer, you get his money as a reward. The problem is that most people are focused on the money and the money alone. If you get the money alone, you get a transaction but if you get the customer’s heart, you get a business relationship.
As a Business Owner
In business, you will face challenges that could be so overwhelming that you might be tempted to give up. Remember that the major qualities required for business include doggedness, tenacity, and staying power regardless of the challenges. The problem with a lot of business people is that they have not, beforehand, made a resolve on how they will react to the challenges that would come along the way. I believe every business person needs to have that personal business decision that they make, knowing that on the journey, there will be a number of refusals and rejections.
Predetermining your attitude is saying to yourself, ‘Regardless of the outcome, I will still keep pushing.’ If you look at the most successful entrepreneurs or business people, these are the people who showed up every day; they showed up at their desk when there was nobody knocking at the door. They remained consistent even after they were refused and rejected. One day, as time and chance collided, with a number of adjustments on their part, things happened for them and they pulled through.
It just takes two steps- self awareness and self-management. You need to be self-aware enough to know the things that can trigger you negatively and self-manage your reactions by planning the course of action before that trigger shows up. That consciousness that you carry in business will help you through the difficult times especially if you had made the resolve before you had the experience.
This might seem impossible to do, especially, if you consider that doggedness and resilience do not always come naturally. However, I am one of those people who believe that nurture plays a stronger role than nature. I believe that people can evolve. I wasn’t as resilient in the past as I am today. Life will always teach you, it is up to you to learn from the experiences. Tough times don’t last, tough people do. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, so going through experiences helps you evolve and become. Experiences can teach you to have a tough skin in the face of challenges.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.