Being a small business owner requires not only technical skills but soft skills, as well. The accumulation of these soft skills is referred to as having high emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand what you and others are feeling and to appropriately respond. It's one thing to understand that someone else is having a problem, but knowing how to respond appropriately is a completely different issue. It is here that people often struggle. However, business owners need to rise to the challenge of developing their emotional intelligence skills so that they can be more effective leaders. Here are 3 tips to enhance your emotional intelligence.
One of the first things that will help increase your awareness of your self and others is to open up. Be transparent with yourself and others. When you open up and are honest about yourself, you will become aware of your feelings. Awareness leads to understanding your feelings, which, in turn, allows you to take control of them. People who have high emotional intelligence have an ability to control their emotions and respond appropriately even in the midst of crisis.
When team members or customers have something they want to talk about, you can listen, nod your head, and try to appear like you care, or you can practice reflective listening to show them you do care. Reflective listening is simple and it's a technique psychologists use that has empathy at its core. However, it can be used whether empathy is needed at the moment or not. When someone tells you something, repeat back to them what you thought they said. This allows them to make any corrections and makes them feel heard.
When dealing with someone who has an issue or challenge, take time to respond thoughtfully. This means think it through. Don't jump to the first conclusion that comes to mind. Sometimes business issues are not easily solved and require time for careful thought. As you make a habit of responding thoughtfully, it will build your reputation as someone who cares.
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