When you think of the most important personality traits and strengths you’ll need to succeed as an entrepreneur, you may think of things like intelligence, charisma, and resourcefulness. These are all great traits for any business owner and leader to have, but they’re not all you need, and they may not even be the most important things to running a successful business. It may sound strange, but emotional intelligence is one of the most important traits you can have as an entrepreneur.

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE?

That’s great, but what is it? According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Just seeing this definition should give you an idea of why it’s so important for business leaders. When you can understand and control your own emotions, as well as others’ emotions, you can create a positive work environment and set your team up for success.

People with high emotional intelligence generally have three basic skills that can help them in their personal and professional lives:

• Emotional awareness – They can identify their emotions and the emotions of others in a number of different situations and scenarios.

• Harnessing emotions – Instead of suppressing their emotions, they can harness and control them to apply them to the task at hand.

• Managing emotions – They can not only regulate their own emotions, but they can also help others cheer up, calm down, and/or stay focused.

So why is all this so important to you as an entrepreneur? Here are just a few good reasons that will make you want to hone your emotional intelligence skills.

UNDERSTAND YOURSELF, YOUR MOTIVATIONS, AND YOUR TRIGGERS

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Being emotionally aware will help you identify your own emotions in different circumstances. People who are emotionally aware are able to see what makes them happy about their work, what drives them, what annoys them, and what triggers them to react negatively to others. Seeing and understanding these things about yourself will help you harness and manage your own emotions. If you can do this, you’ll be more likely to react constructively, even when an employee, partner, competitor, or client is pushing all your buttons.

IMPROVE YOUR TEAM’S MORAL – EVEN WHEN TIMES ARE TOUGH

When you practice and hone your emotional intelligence skills, your employees and partners will see your passion for your work, and they’ll see that you stay calm under pressure and that you have confidence in your business. When you practice cheering them up and helping them feel that same calm and confidence, they’ll feel appreciated and heard, and they’ll feel better about working for and with you.

You can lead by example and foster a positive work environment for your people, and they’ll feel more confident in their work and in the company itself, even as you go through the growing pains of launching a startup and getting through the first few months and years of growing your business.

BE THE BOSS PEOPLE WANT TO WORK FOR

Finally, when you’re emotionally intelligent, you’ll be able to read what’s going on with your employees when they’re not performing to their full potential or when they’re showing poor morale. Instead of threatening to fire them if they don’t straighten up, you’ll have the skills necessary to influence them and guide them to a better perspective. As a result, your employees will feel more comfortable and confident working for you. And, when they have problems, they’ll be more likely to come to you than to try to hide them or deal with them in a negative way.

Being emotionally intelligent will help you build and grow your business in ways that you never thought possible, and you’ll feel calmer and more confident in yourself as you do.

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