We all have been told over and over again, about what makes an entrepreneur successful. Suppose we go by the common belief, it is perseverance, higher IQ, risk-taking propensity, creativity, skills like marketing, finance handling, negotiations and so on. While we idealise successful entrepreneurs as strong, confident and go-getter people with all these qualities, we somewhere fail to acknowledge the one thing that sets them apart from the league of other entrepreneurs and what drives their long term success – it’s their higher Emotional Intelligence. Emotional Intelligence (EI) has been said to matter twice as much as Intelligent Quotient (IQ) for predicting business success, making it the buzz word even in the leading Entrepreneurship courses in India.

So let’s look at what exactly is EI and how it changes the way entrepreneurs think and make decisions. Emotional Intelligence is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” says Howard Gardner, the influential Harvard theorist. The important aspect of it is, self-awareness, which is being aware of how you feel and how your feelings affect you or even control you. Another key element to EI is the ability to empathise with others. Empathy is not just great for a better world but can also give you an edge in your business. An empathetic entrepreneur understands his customers and their needs better, and in turn, can design more relevant products and services. A great example for this is Project Aristotle, a study released by Google in 2017, showed that the Google’s most ground-breaking new ideas came from the teams whose members exhibited a wide range of skills including equality, generosity, curiosity toward others’ ideas, empathy and emotional intelligence. Hence in our entrepreneurship development programme and family business management program, we heavily emphasize on developing not just the skill sets but the mind-set of the budding entrepreneur.

Also Read: Why Entrepreneurship Training Matters

Emotionally Intelligent entrepreneurs prove to be a better decision-makers as they don’t let their immediate feelings influence decision making. An entrepreneur’s life is full of critical decisions, and most of these decisions would be driven by emotions – like hiring an employee or collaborating with a company, while you go through these ups and downs it’s important to be aware of your feelings and stay away from impulsive decisions and instead make sound decisions.

EI can make or break a leader. As the captain of the ship, it’s the entrepreneur’s leadership that will steer the way for the company. If you understand your employees better and empathise with them, it creates a nurturing culture and will help you get the best out of your teams, boost their morale and even retain the right talent. An emotionally stimulated person will always be a good communicator since they understand the audience, be it about handling a difficult client or a complex negotiation with an investor they will know how to make a compelling case.

Let’s look at some beginner’s steps to enhance our emotional intelligence

  • Make a conscious effort to recognise your feelings and actions while trying to relate how they affect each other.
  • Start with reading the room – Pay close attention to people around you, listen to them and think about what they might be feeling.
  • Try to respond rather than react.

As an entrepreneur, you get to experience a spectrum of emotions and it will be your personal capacity to sunder the negatives and the positives, which will lead you to a more rewarding future. We know it isn’t easy to improve emotional intelligence but is definitely possible with lots of practice and guidance from the experts. As a leading entrepreneurship college in India, EI has been the crux of MIDAS’s program and our mission is to make the student ready not just for their first business but life as an entrepreneur.

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