01 Oct The Secret of Successful Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurs are frequently the subject of intense psychological and academic research. Entrepreneurial ventures, especially the successful ones, require a leader who is both business and people savvy, and while some appear to have been born with this gift, it seems elusive to others.
Whatever the combination of skills and talents it requires to conceive and build a flourishing business, there is one that researchers agree is constant among the eminent trailblazers of the business world. This common trait is a high level of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to understand, assess and control one’s own emotions, and those of work partners, employees and clients.
People who posses superior emotional intelligence are excellent at managing their own thoughts and feelings, perceiving contextual clues and facilitating emotions into thought leadership. Ultimately, this generates a leader who is adept at recruiting the right employees, skillful in evaluating the competitive landscape and a master of client relations. Although those inherently wired with higher emotional intelligence quotients may seamlessly conduct themselves in this way, it is a practice that can be examined and adopted by those with a lesser grasp.
Begin with the understanding that emotional intelligence is represented by four categories: thought facilitation, understanding of emotions, interpretation and expression of nonverbal communication and finally, the management of emotions. In thought facilitation, successful entrepreneurs comprehend the difference between a thought and an emotion, yet they make appropriate use of the emotion to calibrate the thought. This leads to analytical creativity, and as we know, creativity is vital to any entrepreneurial venture. The second trait, understanding of emotions, applies to the leader’s ability to understand her own emotions and those of the people around her. In both cases, correctly comprehending emotions creates the ability to fully understand needs and motivations. If an entrepreneur in a sales scenario can make informed decisions about his prospect’s emotions, while avoiding assumptions, he can improve his relationship with the client and adjust his own conduct accordingly.
Emotionally intelligent people also have excellent command of nonverbal communication. Accurately perceiving nonverbal cues allows entrepreneurs a deeper understanding of both employees and clients through facial expressions and body language. Likewise, nonverbal experts are acutely aware of their own nonverbal behaviors and manage them to ensure their physicality communicates an appropriate message. Finally, if one is to fully embrace and thrive as an emotionally intelligent entrepreneur, one must learn to manage and regulate emotions and emotional expression. Management of emotions creates leaders who are less stressed in high profile situations. Additionally, when managers are capable of positively manipulating emotions within their staff, they can parlay this into inspiring a more productive, healthy workplace. This fourth area of emotional intelligence also includes the ability to create a valuable bridge between the four categories and incorprate their themes into daily work life.
Both aspiring and existing entrepreneurs can benefit from developing emotional intelligence. There are countless resources for assessing and improving this trait. Start by evaluating the relationship between a thought and a feeling and discover how they are different. Think before acting on the first feeling that emerges in your mind, then ask yourself why you feel this way. What’s driving your emotional reaction and why? Employ this practice in considering the thoughts and feelings of others as well, and you will be taking a research-proven stride toward becoming a more successful entrepreneur.