This guest article from YourTango was written by Maud Purcell.
Running a successful business in our current economic climate takes more than just an excellent product or service. If you’re a business owner, one of the most important changes you can make is to run your business with greater “Emotional Intelligence” (EI). EI is a term popularized by Psychologist Daniel Goleman who defines it as “…the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships.”
The notion that using our emotions intelligently could have an impact on the bottom line is relatively new. According to The Institute for Health and Human Potential, research tracking over 160 high performance individuals across a wide variety of industries revealed that EI was two times more important in creating excellence than are intellect and expertise alone. In fact, the use of EI in business significantly impacts return on sales, revenue growth and overall profitability.
Let me cut to the chase; here are some simple emotionally intelligent steps you can take in 2012 to set your business apart from those of your competitors:
- Run on time: Show up early for all client meetings and if you are unavoidably detained, apologize. Meet all delivery dates early and if you are unable to meet them as promised, apologize and offer your client a discount on your service or product as a show of good faith.
- Be organized and prepared for all meetings: This tells your client that you value and respect them and appreciate their business.
- Demonstrate warmth: Through your words, tone of voice and actions, show your clients that you value your relationship with them as people, over and above your business relationship.
- Be empathetic: Take your clients feelings and circumstances into consideration by making decisions that work these into your business solutions.
- Put principles above profit: Be flexible and willing to compromise in order to meet your client’s needs. At the same time, be unwilling to sacrifice your core values…even in the face of a great business opportunity. This tells your client that they can always trust you to do the right thing by them.
- Lead with a sense of humor: Let your client know that you take your service or product seriously, but not yourself. Be willing to find humor in situations, especially when they aren’t going according to plan.
With Your Employees:
- Be clear about your expectations and manage to them: One of the biggest mistakes I see in the businesses with which I consult is that employees don’t truly understand what’s expected of them.
- Look for opportunities to pat your employees on the back: By doing this, you will encourage more of what you want from your employees and therefore significantly impact the bottom line.
- No pain, No gain: Without consistent consequences for sub-par performance, employees are less likely to meet your expectations.
- Treat your staff with respect: Although it’s your job to let them know when they are not working up to standard, criticism should always be offered constructively. Labeling the employee as incompetent, selfish, lazy or with any other pejorative will only encourage them to give you the same in return.
- Be empathetic: It’s important that your employees believe that you care about them beyond your business relationship. If they truly believe this, they will go the extra mile for you and your organization.
The real challenge is maintaining a balance between attending to the feelings of both clients and employees, while effectively operating your business. Although there’s no perfect formula for doing this, you’ll only stand to gain by making emotional intelligence a priority in 2012.
More great content from YourTango:
- The #1 Key to Effective Communication
- Emotional Infidelity: 18 Signs You’re Crossing The Line [EXPERT]