There’s a reason why we’re called IQ-EQ. To succeed you need to understand people, as well as understanding solutions. Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is essential to succeed – not just in business, but in every aspect of living. EQ is the smile behind a simple ‘hello’, or the thought behind a gift. As human beings with our own motivations and desires, we need to understand that every single person we interact with has their own purpose; their own value.
This is why emotional intelligence should take a leading role in business. A client might remember your solutions, there’s a chance they’ll remember your strategy – but they will definitely remember how you made them feel.
It’s also important to remember the roles inclusion and diversity play in promoting emotional intelligence.
EQ in business
Emotional intelligence leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction, which, in turn, positively impacts sales and revenue. Daniel Goleman, the American psychologist who popularised the term ‘EQ’, believed there were five elements to emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
In my experience, the clients and business partners I work with appreciate ingenious ideas, but they also want to know the person behind the big thinking. I want to get to know them, and they want to get to know me. We encounter a meeting of minds, not a business transaction.
The best advice I can give to anyone, no matter their industry or experience level, is to listen. This is where diversity in the workplace comes in; I have one perspective and one background, and I look at life through my own unique lens. When we’re working closely with clients, it’s important that we have other perspectives, and other diverse backgrounds.
To relate to the problems of all our clients, and to build better solutions, we need to see as many angles as possible. It’s no surprise, then, that diverse companies are 87% better at making decisions, 70% more likely to see success in new markets, and 120% more likely to hit financial targets – diversity gets results, because we all have something to give.
EQ in leadership
But businesses aren’t just built on the success of services and sales, they’re also built on the success of their employees. Leaders who understand the importance of emotional intelligence are more likely to motivate their teams and understand their individual needs to support where necessary. According to Gallup, companies who earn the loyalty of their internal talent earn 33% more revenue compared to companies who report a poor company culture.
A critical skill to have as a leader is to be an effective communicator. Once we listen, we need to effectively communicate. EQ competencies encourage teamwork, decision making and how we support change. Collaboration is so important to team success that 86% of business leaders say ineffective communication and lack of collaboration is the root cause of workplace failures.
Given that emotional intelligence is so important to our operation, how do we encourage it?
Diversity. Diverse teams increase EQ. In fact, the aforementioned Daniel Goleman said that diverse teams have the largest array of talents, and have the potential for the best performance. Research also suggests that empathetic leaders may be more effective at fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces. Diversity and emotional intelligence go hand-in-hand; when you increase one, the other will increase too.
EQ with IQ
The case for diversity is clear. To succeed in business, we need different opinions, voices and perspectives. We need emotional intelligence and to be understanding of both clients and our employees. If we bring together IQ and EQ, we create innovation. A brand is its people, and I think we label ourselves very clearly.