Emotional Intelligence for Business: 12 Unconventional Tips Revealed by Experts

In our pursuit of empowering individuals to learn business, we explored the connections between emotional intelligence and business success.

Emotional intelligence is crucial in today’s workforce and ranks among the top essential skills. In fact, a study by OfficeTeam found that 95% of HR managers and 99% of employees believe emotional intelligence is an essential skill for all staff members. The study surveyed over 600 HR managers and 800 office workers in the United States and Canada.

We, Skill Success, had the privilege of interviewing industry experts to learn about their successful businesses and unconventional tips for mastering emotional intelligence. Let their stories and insights inspire your own growth, propelling you towards unparalleled success in the dynamic business landscape.

symbol of emotional intelligence

Expert Tips to Master Emotional Intelligence for Business Success

Convert Your Emotions into Strength

In the business world, patience and endurance are tested, and success can only be achieved by setting personal emotions aside. Ray Pierce, CEO and founder of Zippy Cash For Cars, personally faced fear and uncertainty while building his career. He often questioned his choices and had a deep fear of failure.

"The business world is great at testing your patience and endurance. One who can put his personal feelings and emotions aside to derive success can only stay in the field for extended periods. One such emotion is fear that I have faced while building my career. I always wondered whether I was choosing the right pathway for myself and feared failure. While talking about emotional intelligence, many people need to remember to mention the importance of controlling individual emotions to derive success. It is not only about bringing team spirit but also about converting your emotions into strength. I converted my fear into excitement while facing a challenge to continue my chosen path. "

Ray Pierce, CEO and Founder of Zippy Cash For Cars

Ray transformed his fear into excitement, using it as a driving force to persevere on his chosen path. Today, he attributes his position to the mastery of emotional intelligence gained through personal experiences.

Make a Difference in People’s Lives

Stephanie Venn-Watson, DVM, MPH, finds fulfillment as an entrepreneur by making a difference in people’s lives through her groundbreaking dietary supplement. She identified the first essential fatty acid in 90 years and transformed it into a revolutionary dietary supplement.

"To me, the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur is knowing that I am making a difference in people's lives through the research I've conducted, which resulted in a groundbreaking dietary supplement. As an entrepreneur, I am deeply passionate about sharing my life's work with others. When I reflect on my life, I want to be certain that I have made a positive and lasting impact on those I have touched. This pursuit of making a difference is not only fulfilling but also a secret to enhancing my own emotional intelligence."

Stephanie Venn-Watson, DVM, MPH

Making a positive impact in people’s lives can improve our emotional intelligence by increasing self-awareness, compassion, and interpersonal skills.

Make Connections on a Personal Level

Josh Snead, the CEO of Rainwalk Pet Insurance, believes that emotional intelligence is important in the pet insurance industry because pets are emotional investments for their owners.

"The pet insurance field is one where emotional intelligence is incredibly important. Pets are ultimately an emotional investment, and the value of pet insurance largely comes from the peace of mind it gives our customers. The ability to connect to pet owners on a personal level and explain our services in a way that connects to the personal relationship between humans and their pets is the key to our marketing success. We try to incorporate strong consideration for emotions not only into our marketing materials but also especially with our customer service team; they often have to deal with our customers when they're at their worst and need help and information about who is going to pay for their pet's essential procedure."

Josh Snead, CEO of Rainwalk Pet Insurance

The same principle can be applied to businesses in other industries. By understanding the emotional needs of their customers, businesses can create products and services that meet those needs. This can lead to increased sales, customer loyalty, and brand awareness.

Read more: Developing Networking Skills

Take Emotions Out of Decision-Making

Carolyn Young is the lead business expert for Step By Step Business, and her advice on taking emotions out of decision-making is spot on. When we make decisions based on emotion, we are more likely to make impulsive choices that we later regret. We may also be more likely to act in ways that are harmful to our relationships or our careers.

"As an industry leader in business consulting, I have worked very hard over the years to act with empathy, but also to take emotion out of decision-making. I try to make decisions that are based on reason and facts but with the goal of having an outcome that’s a win-win for all parties. This has allowed me to work better and smarter with people, gain respect, and find opportunities in my career that may otherwise not have come. It’s also drastically lowered my stress level because I consciously take emotion out of my business actions and decision."

Carolyn Young, Lead Business Expert for Step By Step Business

Taking emotions out of decision-making is not always easy, but it is a skill that can be learned and mastered. With practice, you can learn to make more rational and objective decisions that will help you to achieve your goals.

Learn more: Actionable Tips to Develop Decision Making Skills in Business

Convince Others to Believe in Your Cause

In today’s interconnected world, success is rarely achieved in isolation. Marnix Broer, the CEO & Co-Founder of Studocu, focuses on the importance of convincing others to believe in your cause.

"We can’t become successful in a vacuum - we must rely on each other to buy from us, invest in us, collaborate with us, and believe in us. Since we’re so intrinsically tied to each other, a high emotional intelligence helps us meet others authentically to deepen the relationships that help us succeed. Business success is all about convincing others to believe in your cause, so EQ will make or break you."

Marnix Broer, CEO & Co-Founder of Studocu

It may seem unconventional to say that we need others to achieve success, as many people are highly independent and driven to succeed on their own. However, I agree that in teamwork or collaboration, members should believe in the leader’s cause. A shared vision can create a powerful force for change.

Participate in Acting Exercises

Who would have thought of this strategy? We’ve attended many seminars and workshops about emotional intelligence, but Taisa Duske, CEO of Museum Hack, offers a unique approach. 

"Many of our Museum Hack guides are professional performers, and I've followed their lead and taken inspiration from the dramatic profession to improve my emotional intelligence as a leader. I participate in acting exercises with my staff where we adopt different perspectives and step into stories and pieces of art and history as players with different perspectives. These activities have deepened my compassion and ability to read emotions and helped me to emphasize and resonate with others on different emotional, social, and cultural levels."

Taisa Duske, CEO of Museum Hack

The principle of using acting exercises to improve emotional intelligence can be applied to various business fields beyond museums. For example, in a sales-driven business, employees can participate in role-playing exercises where they simulate different customer scenarios. By stepping into the shoes of customers with varying needs and emotions, the sales team can develop a better understanding of how to connect and empathize with potential clients.

Foster Psychological Safety

Many leaders tend to focus on technological advancements, salary raises, or increased vacation time as means of motivating their teams. However, Maria Szandrach, CEO of Mentalyc, a company that develops AI-powered tools for psychotherapists, emphasizes that psychological safety is a critical factor that often gets overlooked.

"Create an environment of psychological safety where individuals feel comfortable expressing their opinions and taking risks without fear of judgment or reprisal. This empowers your team members to contribute their unique perspectives, fostering innovation and growth."

Maria Szandrach, CEO of Mentalyc

Leaders who prioritize psychological safety demonstrate a deep understanding of emotional intelligence. They create a work environment that encourages open communication, trust, and mutual respect, ultimately fostering a positive and productive work culture.

Respond, Don’t React!

In a world where conflicts are inevitable, the power to respond instead of react becomes a valuable asset. Nick Arnaud Whitfield, Founder and CEO of City Unscripted, highlights that leaders with high emotional intelligence remain calm and composed when facing challenges, navigating them with grace and wisdom.

"In my experience as a chief executive officer, I would advise responding to disagreements instead of reacting to them. Feeling frustrated or angry when you're up against an obstacle is normal. However, emotionally intelligent people can keep cool no matter how heated the situation. They can control their impulses and respond thoughtfully to any given circumstance. They have internalized the message that resolution is the end game and prioritized their words and deeds accordingly. This stance will help you deal with conflicts more maturely, keep your relationships strong, and foster a more positive and productive workplace atmosphere. A key component of emotional intelligence that can significantly influence professional success is the ability to respond rather than react."

Nick Arnaud Whitfield, Founder and CEO of City Unscripted

So, next time you find yourself faced with a disagreement, stay calm, breathe, and respond thoughtfully, knowing that it is a sign of emotional intelligence at work.

Be Assertive

Assertive communication plays a crucial role in improving emotional intelligence in the workplace, as highlighted by Joshua Bartlett, Owner and Editor-in-Chief of I’ll Just Fix It Myself

"Emotional intelligence is a key factor in the success of my company, and I can attest to this as the CEO. Use an assertive communication style to help you become more emotionally intelligent. When assertive, you can clearly state your needs and desires without being rude or disrespectful to others. It's essential to balance being overly assertive and being too passive. Stronger relationships, more respect from coworkers, and clearer expression of ideas can all result from adopting an assertive communication style. It's essential to practice attentive listening, understanding, and response. Building your emotional intelligence through practicing assertive communication skills will help you advance in your professional life."

Joshua Bartlett, Owner and Editor-in-Chief of I'll Just Fix It Myself

In some cultures, speaking up, expressing personal needs, or challenging others’ opinions may be seen as rude or confrontational. Assertive communication is not about being aggressive or demanding. It is about being able to express your needs and wants clearly and directly without being rude or disrespectful to others.

So, as leaders, let us embrace assertive communication and unlock the potential of emotional intelligence within ourselves and our organizations.

Acknowledge Your Emotional Triggers

Emotional triggers are events or situations that cause us to experience strong emotions. They can be positive or negative, and they can vary from person to person. For example, some people might find public speaking to be a trigger, while others might find it exhilarating.

Stefan Chekanov, co-founder and CEO of Brosix, believes that one of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and acknowledge your emotional triggers. 

"One part of mastering emotional intelligence that’s important is acknowledging your emotional triggers. Self-aware people are able to identify their emotions as they are happening. It's critical to be adaptable to your emotions and adapt them as necessary. Take the time to process your emotions before sharing them; don't be rigid with them, but don't ignore them either."

Stefan Chekanov, Co-founder and CEO of Brosix

I hope Stefan’s wisdom resonates within you. As emotions arise, take a moment to acknowledge them and understand their underlying causes. Allow yourself the necessary time to process these emotions, ensuring that your responses are thoughtful, considerate, and aligned with your goals.

Proactively Take Full Responsibility

Taking responsibility involves owning up to mistakes, taking proactive steps to rectify them, and learning from them to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer of Checkr, emphasizes the proactive act of taking responsibility as a means to improve emotional intelligence.

"Don’t wait for teammates to come to you with issues or place the blame on you - they often won’t tell you if you hurt their feelings or stepped on their toes. If you feel you made a mistake in a professional or personal interaction, take action and apologize directly. Apologizing and acknowledging shows humility, not weakness, and it often helps deepen the trust in a working relationship."

Denise Hemke, Chief Product Officer of Checkr

Challenge yourself to embody responsibility as a core value in your leadership journey. Embrace the strength that comes from admitting and rectifying errors, as it fosters an environment of trust and respect.

Learn more: Top Leadership Skills for Entrepreneurs

Embrace Continuous Education

At Skill Success, we strongly believe in the power of continuous education. Learning is a lifelong journey, and when it comes to improving emotional intelligence for business success, the quest never ends. 

David Scott, CEO and co-founder of Top Reviews, emphasizes the importance of dedicating oneself to continuous learning and progress. 

"The road to emotional intelligence lasts a lifetime. Dedicate yourself to ongoing study and progress. To increase your knowledge of emotional intelligence and learn new skills, read books, go to seminars, or ask a mentor for advice."

David Scott, CEO and Co-founder of Top Reviews

Make a commitment to your personal and professional growth by engaging in lifelong learning. Each new piece of knowledge or skill acquired brings you one step closer to becoming an emotionally intelligent leader.

different emotions at work

More Tips to Improve Emotional Intelligence

After hearing advice from experts, let me share more tips on how to improve emotional intelligence for better success in business. We will explore simple strategies that can boost your emotional intelligence.

  1. Enhance Self-Awareness: Take time to reflect on your emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Consider how they impact your behavior and interactions with others.
  2. Practice Active Listening: Truly listen to others without judgment, paying attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues. This fosters understanding, empathy, and effective communication.
  3. Develop Empathy: Put yourself in others’ shoes and try to understand their perspectives, feelings, and needs. Empathy enhances relationships, collaboration, and the ability to navigate conflicts.
  4. Manage Emotions: Learn to recognize and regulate your own emotions. Practice techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or taking a pause before responding to challenging situations.
  5. Cultivate Effective Communication: Clearly express your thoughts, needs, and boundaries in a respectful and assertive manner. Be open to feedback and willing to engage in constructive conversations.
  6. Build Social Skills: Develop strong interpersonal skills, including networking, relationship building, and conflict resolution. Effective social skills enhance collaboration, teamwork, and leadership abilities.
  7. Practice Emotional Resilience: Learn to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to change. Develop a positive mindset, maintain optimism, and embrace challenges as opportunities for growth.

What Sets Companies with High Emotional Intelligence Apart

We, at Skill Success, highly value emotional intelligence. We believe that companies with high emotional intelligence possess distinct qualities that set them apart. We understand how emotional intelligence impacts team dynamics, productivity, and overall success. Let me describe what our organization and other companies with high emotional intelligence look like:

  • Companies with high emotional intelligence prioritize empathy. They foster a culture where individuals genuinely care about the well-being and perspectives of their colleagues. This empathetic approach creates a supportive and inclusive environment, where employees feel valued and understood.
  • Companies with high emotional intelligence excel in communication. They promote open and transparent dialogue, encouraging team members to express their thoughts and emotions freely. Effective communication channels enable healthy discussions, conflict resolution, and the exchange of innovative ideas.
  • Companies with high emotional intelligence prioritize collaboration. They understand that collective intelligence leads to greater creativity and problem-solving capabilities. These organizations tap into the diverse talents and strengths of their teams, resulting in higher levels of innovation and success.
  • Leaders in emotionally intelligent companies demonstrate exceptional interpersonal skills. They lead by example, showing empathy, active listening, and a genuine interest in their employees’ growth and development. These leaders inspire and motivate their teams, cultivating a positive work culture where individuals feel empowered and engaged.
  • Companies with high emotional intelligence embrace continuous learning and growth. These organizations invest in training programs, workshops, and resources that enhance emotional intelligence at all levels. They enable their workforce to thrive personally and professionally.

These organizations recognize that emotional intelligence is crucial for success in today’s interconnected business world. It is not just a buzzword, but a key driver of success.

FAQs About Emotional Intelligence for Business Success

  • What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as to recognize and empathize with the emotions of others. It involves effectively navigating social interactions, building relationships, and making sound decisions based on emotional awareness.

  • Why is emotional intelligence important in business?

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in business success. It enables effective communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can motivate and inspire their teams, adapt to change, and make empathetic decisions that benefit the organization as a whole.

  • Can emotional intelligence be learned or developed?

Yes, emotional intelligence can be learned and developed over time. By increasing self-awareness, practicing empathy, improving communication skills, and seeking continuous personal growth, individuals can enhance their emotional intelligence and apply it to various professional settings.

  • How does emotional intelligence impact leadership?

Leaders with high emotional intelligence can inspire trust, create a positive work environment, and effectively manage their teams. They have the ability to understand and address the needs and concerns of their employees, leading to increased engagement, productivity, and overall team performance.

  • Are there online courses available for improving emotional intelligence?

Yes, there are online courses and resources available for individuals looking to enhance their emotional intelligence. Skill Success offers a wide range of courses specifically designed to enhance emotional intelligence. These courses provide insights, practical techniques, and exercises to develop essential emotional intelligence skills, including self-awareness, empathy, and relationship management.

Key Takeaways

As you embark on your own journey towards business success, remember the lessons shared by our esteemed experts. These industry experts have demonstrated that emotional intelligence plays a significant role in achieving success, despite the inevitable challenges and failures that may arise along the way.

The demand for emotional intelligence is soaring in today’s business world. It goes beyond diplomas or technical skills, as employers recognize its critical value.

To boost your personal and professional growth, subscribe to our Skill Success All Access Pass. Gain unlimited access to 3000+ courses, including courses about emotional intelligence, that can support your journey toward greater business success.

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