In the last three articles we established that in the majority of incidents of small business failure we can trace the true cause back to the individual and a lack of knowledge and in many a cases this lack of knowledge is accompanied by a lack of awareness and emotional intelligence, sometimes referred to as EQ. It is this EQ that we will start to look at in the next few articles in this series.

EQ is made up of a series of components and I am pleased to say that unlike your IQ which will only improve marginally with age, EQ can be developed and increased in anyone who is minded to take it seriously. Developing your EQ can have an astounding positive effect on your performance and in turn the performance of your business; this alone should be enough of an inspiration to get you to look at the development of your levels of emotional intelligence.

Developing your EQ requires three key things, they are; an understanding of the components that make up EQ; the ability to change your habits and the desire to do so! The first two are the easy part. Most failure will come from the third part. Having the desire to make the change is key, many try and most of them will give up because they do not see the changes, or improvements quickly enough. It will take time but the changes that can be made and the resulting increase in performance are certainly well worth the sometimes-considerable effort required.

Why do we need EQ?

The individual who possess good levels of emotional intelligence will be very noticeable insofar as they will not only be able to recognise their own emotions and then control them but will also be able to recognise emotions in others and react accordingly; an essential component in the development of leadership skills.

For the owner and main leader of a small business your levels of EQ will determine, in part, the levels of success you’ll experience as you and your business develop. The bigger your business becomes the more important EQ becomes. The most effective small business leaders are alike in one crucial way: they all have a high degree of emotional intelligence. Surveys have shown that technical skills, IQ and emotional intelligence are all essential ingredients in the success of a business. The same research also shows that emotional intelligence was proved to be twice as important as the other elements where leadership was concerned. There is a real and definite link between emotional intelligence and success and longevity of the start-up business.

In our next article we will look at this subject in more detail and start to understand the key elements of emotional intelligence, which include; Self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skills. When it comes to increasing your knowledge and ability to learn, and therefore avoid failure self-awareness and self-regulation are the essentials, not having them can significantly retard your ability and willingness to learn.

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