Last Update: May 29, 2015
What is it that turns an entrepreneur’s small business into a success — or the average person into a leader? Truly innovative, successful individuals get to where they are not by selling a product, but by selling what they believe. What drives their success is the ability to inspire, and at the core — it is emotional IQ.
Understanding emotional intelligence is the first step to achieving it. The second — and much more difficult — step is applying the skills of emotional intelligence to yourself and those around you.
How Emotional IQ Makes Great Leaders
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Let’s take a closer look at the four core skills of emotional intelligence:
Perceiving emotions is especially important because you cannot use, understand, or manage emotions if you can’t pick up on them. The ability to perceive emotions is the foundation that other skills build upon. Perceiving emotions means that you are able to use faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts to detect and decipher emotions in yourself and others.
The ability to use emotions means that you can harness emotions in yourself and others to facilitate cognitive activities. You are aware of your changing moods and can capitalize on those moods so they fit the task at hand and apply them in an efficient manner.
Emotions are complex and dynamic. The ability to understand emotions means you can comprehend emotional language, are sensitive to slight variations in emotions, appreciate complicated relationships between emotions, and recognize how emotions evolve over time.
This is where the skills of emotional intelligence really come together. The ability to manage emotions means you can regulate emotions in yourself and others, harness both positive and negative emotions, and manage them to achieve specific goals.
As we master the skills of emotional intelligence, we become self-aware, self-regulating, internally motivated, empathetic individuals with excellent social skills. It is these types of individuals who make the best leaders. Those who can connect with their employees and customers — and truly understand where they are coming from — are able to inspire loyalty and achieve valuable insight to create a great product that solves a real problem.
President John F. Kennedy used his high emotional IQ to convince America that we could, and should, go to the moon. In the famous speech he gave at Rice University in Houston, Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”
He understood the American people had an emotional need to prove our ideological and technological superiority over our Cold War rival, the Soviet Union. He didn’t sell us a spaceship or a moon rock; he sold us a dream, and the American people accepted and bought into that dream.
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