Those of us in business — either working in a company or as entrepreneurs — are aware that we need to be constantly learning new skills to stay competitive. We attend conferences, read books, take courses and belong to mastermind groups.
But it takes more than technical skills to succeed. It is a lack of emotional intelligence that can torpedo our grand plans.
As Daniel Goleman has written in several books and in a recent New York Times article, you also need emotional intelligence. In brief, he describes emotional intelligence as having self-awareness and realistic self-confidence. You also need to have emotional insight, and understanding of your feelings.
High on his list is self-management, the ability to be resilient and recover quickly from upsets. You also need emotional balance and self-motivation: the ability to keep moving toward distant goals despite setbacks.
He also writes that you need to have empathy and be able to read other people’s feelings and to listen so you understand what other people are saying. Finally, you must have the ability to build relationships.
Where it Goes Wrong
Emotional intelligence is an ideal to strive for. But what if you work for a company that stifles creativity, sniffs at employee engagement and creates such a toxic work atmosphere that even the strongest of us can lose our emotional balance?
What if you’re an entrepreneur who is striving to make ends meet and then your largest client stiffs you by not paying your invoice? Or you discover that you’re in the wrong business after years of hard work? It takes a lot of self-awareness and resilience to overcome these obstacles.
I believe we all need to develop our own strategies to keep ourselves in emotional balance. For some it’s prayer or meditation. For others, it’s the company of loved ones. We live in very tough times.
We avert our eyes from the thousands of refugees who are fleeing their homelands for a better life. We want to help, but what can we do?
Companies no longer value their employees. We feel a lack of control and helpless to control our own destinies. Having strong emotional intelligence will help us to carry on. But how do we develop homeostatis — maintaining a condition of balance or equilibrium within our internal environment, even when faced with external changes?
Below is a slide presentation by Daniel Goleman that describes emotional intelligence in more detail. I hope it helps in your quest for emotional intelligence.
I’d very much like to hear from you about your strategies for building and maintaining emotional intelligence in your personal and business life. So please leave a comment below if you’d like to share what’s worked for you.