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7 emotionally intelligent entrepreneurial leadership traits

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What is emotionally intelligent leadership?

As defined by Oxford Languages; leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organisation.

Similarly, emotionally intelligent leadership focuses on people within your business and the needs of your customers, partners and team.

7 emotionally intelligent traits of an entrepreneurial leader are provided below:

1. Quality communication with your customers, team and co-founders

The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.” - Sydney J. Harris, American Journalist

Whether you’re employing staff or working with freelancers, you must be in a position to provide your customers with the best service, which ensures your team and your co-founders are all aligned with your objectives.

Your customers will tell you everything they expect from your business, but they will also let you know what’s working well and what needs improvement.

Directly engaging with your customers is key as it builds a dialogue between your business and your customers.

Leading your colleagues and collaborating with your co-founders is much easier when you can clearly communicate your business direction, your future plans and articulate your customers’ needs.

2. Visualise your business in your mind

Everything you can imagine is real”Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist

Before you start, you must have a clear vision. Visualising your business provides an initial roadmap for entrepreneurial leadership.

Think like a long-term business owner

Imagine you aspire to run a marathon.

It’s likely you would use a training plan, set time aside for regular runs and improve your diet. Each decision and action would put you in position to complete your marathon goal. Successfully running the marathon is the end result of your planning and your training.

Running 26.2 miles without training is unrealistic for most people. Distance runners initially train over a much shorter distance and gradually increase their training mileage.

Distance running is like entrepreneurship. Increasing your revenue and improving your business skills go hand-in-hand. Everything starts with a thought and a belief, which in turn drives regular actions.

Most people want a business generating millions, but have you experienced (i.e. trained) creating entrepreneurial businesses? Do you own a business generating half a million revenue or even a few hundred thousand? If not, you may need to modify your vision and plan where you can spend your time training and interacting with customers to reach your long-term revenue goals.

3. Empathise with your customers and understand different perspectives

When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.” - Susan Sarandon, American Actress

Your business will not exist without customers and there is likely to be significant competition for the same customers. That’s where a complete focus on your customers’ problems and understanding their needs, wants, lives and perspectives will help your business thrive.

Eventually, with enough customer knowledge you will modify and improve your proposition and provide your customers with long-term value.

4. Generate long-term confidence in your ability

As long as you keep going, you'll keep getting better. And as you get better, you gain more confidence. That alone is success.” - Tamara Taylor, Canadian Actress

Building your business is not the time to doubt yourself.

There will be ups and downs. You cannot possibly know everything there is to know about your industry, your customers, your business or how the market will react to your offer.

It’s impossible to know everything before you start your business. Working on your mission and overcoming challenges will give you confidence. You will naturally become more knowledgeable through the process of doing and overcoming obstacles.

You do not need to know everything, but you need to believe every problem has a solution and have the confidence to meet each and every challenge.

5. Recognise the good and encourage the great

I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it's proactive and there is positive intent behind it.” - Michael J. Fox, Canadian Actor

You will never do anything in isolation.

If you’re a solopreneur and perform all business tasks, you’re reliant upon customers choosing to pay for your product or your service.

If you provide clear instructions to freelancers, employees and partners you can direct the growth of your business by focussing on the activities, which provide the most value for your business and your customers.

As an entrepreneurial leader you should recognise and encourage customers, partners, employees and co-founders. You can set an example by demonstrating you value their good work, their continued support and their commitment.

Recognition and appreciation will live long in everyone’s memory, which can only be a good thing for you and your business.

6. Feel your business like the back of your hand

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.” - [Marilyn vos Savant, American Writer

You must be the one who understands business operations and how your business provides customer value. If there’s an expert in your business, it should be you.

If you’re directly providing products or services to your customers, you’re more likely to understand the ins and out of your business. However, over time you may delegate responsibilities and become less focussed on the minute detail.

Unless there are strict process guidelines, you should be more concerned with your customers’ realising their value rather than micromanaging details.

Taking a leadership view will allow you to objectively review your business operations rather than concentrating on minute details, which may not directly impact your customers.

7. Help your business become the best version of itself

Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection” Kim Collins, St Kitts. Athlete

Leadership is about striving for greatness. Taking a leadership position often requires you to identify problems, make suggestions or gather team recommendations.

Working as an entrepreneurial problem solver will gradually improve your products or services and steadily increase your customer value over time.

A focus on continuous improvement and business development is key to leading your business and providing customers with ongoing and every increasing value.

Why emotions and business are good together

Focusing your attention on your business doesn't mean you have to forget you’re human. Your customers are human, your team and co-founders are also all human.

Therefore, bringing emotional intelligence into your entrepreneurial mission can inject human qualities into your business and help you achieve your goals and improve your self-confidence at the same time.

Good luck!

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