Emotional intelligence is an understanding of one’s own emotions and the emotions of those around you, as well as how to act on that information. The four critical components that make up emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship/social management.
The most important component that all leaders should look for is the ‘self-check-in’ where you take a moment to gauge where your own emotions are at a given moment of time. This is important because this is a real-time metric to gauge what you are feeling at a given moment, whether you feeling defensive or depleted, or otherwise stressed. Tips for nurturing self-awareness include everything from reframing the problem to simply taking a few deep breaths to understand yourself in order to understand what your triggers are.
This means understanding and taking that awareness and then choosing what to do and what not to do. For example, if you’re feeling flustered, wait an hour before replying to an important email or if you’re feeling drained, go for a stroll along with family or friends. And, it’s important to remember that self-management applies to good moods, as well. When you’re feeling optimistic, spread your happiness in various and distinctive ways possible. The mere spread or acts of that happiness can boost your gratitude, which for sure is the new skill of the new norm. This is not only rejuvenating, but a means to make you emotionally recharged.
Social Awareness and Relationship/Social Management:
This follows the same pattern as self-awareness and self-management. First, read the room or context to understand how people are feeling and thinking and then decide on how to act or project the desired behavior based on that information or cue captured. This then means checking in with people with the intention of truly understanding how someone is doing and feeling – the art of demonstrating the three vital skills – compassion, empathy, and kindness.
Honing these interpersonal aspects of EQ can feel unnerving in our current virtual world. But there are plenty of means and ways to read and react to people through your virtual collaboration tools like Teams/ Google Meet & Zoom. As an ‘Emotional Intelligent Leader,’ it becomes imperative for him/her to start any meeting by simply asking his/her team members the below-given questions to capture the true moments of their emotions.
1. How is he/she feeling at the current moment?
2. Is he/she feeling effective and giving the best?
3. Is he/she able to contribute to the best in the current moment?
The above questions are just threads to initiate a conversation and are not bound by any boundaries.
Implementing Emotional Intelligence in a Family Business
All leaders deal with conflict, but it’s a different order of conflict when it’s between you and your friends, family, and your boss. The so-called ‘social-emotional intelligence’ has become even more important in keeping the current norm in place. So how do the four components of ‘social intelligence’ work in the family business enterprise?
The key advantage of a family business is that builders have a ‘lived experience’ of the business that they created. It is something that has been indoctrinated in them, which then gets injected into an organization in the form of culture through norms, style, artefacts, beliefs, and values. Successors not only face the pressure of living up to expectations, but they also face the pressure of sustaining and raising the bar compared with preceding generations. The only tool to develop, sustain and navigate these pressures is self-awareness. New family leaders must first identify their strengths and interests and figure out how to use these assets to contribute to the enterprise. Whether or not their leadership style differs from that of the previous generations, they need to emphasize that the company’s core value and its culture will remain stable. This makes room for ensuring that the purpose is served while keeping the vision, philosophy, and values intact.
Family leaders must not only craft the self-awareness framework but also ensure that it meets the perception of the other family members who would be a part of this long journey. This not only means having transparent and honest conversations about performance but about everything and anything, thus removing any kind of ambiguity by all means. It becomes imperative for family leaders to create an environment where feedback for development is appreciated and always nurtured, which by itself gives way to excellence. This allows family leaders to take perspective and decide how best to adopt and adapt to the new norm based on context and circumstances.
In a family business, there are more emotional landscapes that help to lead to a map of situations where your roles as a family member, shareholder, and others can crash – one that alerts you of the areas to tread carefully and to set your intentions in advance. The potential for conflict within a family business makes it important for leaders to learn to recognize the patterns & cues, plan for, and check their own negative emotions. Family leaders should be adept in mastering these kinds of ‘cues & signs’ and then accordingly plan their move. These signs or cues can be in the form of people, scenarios, and topics that have the potential to set us off. The more aware you are of these signs, the more likely you are to catch yourself before you react destructively. Recognizing these signs in yourself allows you to take the time and thought you need to respond than react to the situation at hand. Managing self has never been easy, but a real family leader needs to see the cues & signs and then act accordingly. There is a tendency in family businesses to forget about the importance of nonverbal cues as you get more emotional and personal than looking at the context through a rational mind. Family business leaders should remember the importance of a productive tone, positive body language, and basic processes, like having an agenda.
Social Awareness and Relationship Management
A big part of social and emotional intelligence is being able to manage relationships based on an understanding of others’ emotions. If so, for leaders of family enterprises, empathy & social awareness becomes even more crucial to understand and act in a family enterprise, where the stakeholders fall into three interconnected circles: the ownership, the operating business, and the family itself. Understanding the perspective of each stakeholder becomes more challenging. There are no demarcation lines, and hence things of personal and professional nature cannot be separated, which makes things more complicated. The family business leaders need to be able to step back and assess these issues objectively.
Though it may be a challenge to foster social-emotional intelligence, as a whole, this pays off in the long run for the family and the business. The great news is that family leaders have the opportunity to shape the emotional and social environment of successors. This is an opportunity for family business leaders to not only set a culture but also create and craft ‘Emotionally Intelligent Leaders’ at all levels.
Once you harp on emotional intelligence, that sets the momentum towards excellence.