Frustrated Woman

Startup Tips: Emotional Intelligence In Business and Outsourcing

26/05/ 2015   |   Joanna C  |   Outsourcing

Known as EQ, emotional intelligence measures how you act and react toward people and situations. You–and your virtual assistants–need to nurture and develop it. Here’s why and how.

We often see successful entrepreneurs portrayed as heartless, cold, domineering. That’s fiction. In real life, these moguls (sometimes they’re overnight millionaires) actually achieved success through emotional intelligence as much as their genius ideas and implementation processes.

Our very own virtual team inspires so many of my articles. For instance, this one was germinated by our ‘Do What’s Best for US’ memo, which also inspired 4 Signs You’ve Found Your Perfect VA. We have 7 keys as we work: DELIVER – SELF MOTIVATE – COMMUNICATE – ADAPT – HONESTY – CONSIDERATE – FUN

Jenny and Rea jokingly told Dan we only remember FUN. FUN being seventh is a sign we all lucked out with our team. As you read this piece, you will notice that all seven are values of emotional intelligence.

How does EQ come into play? Right from the start and continually. You need charisma and teamwork to make things work.

1. Self-awareness and self-control

HOW THEY WORK: The most sought-after startup tips target the self. Self-help. Self-government. Self-control.

For an entrepreneur and a skilled freelancer, self-awareness is how well you recognize your strengths and weaknesses. More than that, it’s recognition of your emotions. No confusion. No excuses. Knowing what you feel as it happens, without hindsight or needing someone to explain it to you. To borrow from Shakespeare, ‘To thine own self be true.

Self-regulation acts as the counter for self-awareness. Yes, you’re disappointed. Yes, you have every right to be. No, you don’t have to blow your top or let it ruin the whole day.

No disruptive actions due to what you’re feeling. You stay rational. You own up to mistakes. You are not closed off to change plans or adapt to new circumstances.

Conscientiousness. Trustworthiness. Adaptability.

Successful entrepreneurs and skilled freelancers have these in spades. They’re their own bosses in that they drive themselves to perform well. They don’t act impulsively, and therefore can handle investors’ and clients’ trust (and doubt). They embrace change and “updates,” evolving as needed.

HOW TO WORK IT: Pause. Don’t respond immediately. Sometimes those 2-3 seconds are enough to bring clarity. Sit down with your emotions–they quiet down eventually, replaced by rationalism.

Emotions spring from thoughts. And thoughts also tamp down emotions. Learn the habit of controlling your thoughts. Practicing this pause is the first step, and practicing it all the time shrinks how long you have to pause, until you’re like those business geniuses on TV.

They probably got the ‘cold’ and ‘unfeeling’ reputation from their ability to quickly process their emotions and get past them without being moved by them at all.

Virtual assistants need a healthy dose of this to keep themselves motivated despite challenging circumstances and difficult clients.

2. Optimism and Self-Motivation

HOW THEY WORK: Countless startups never even become startups because of doubt and pessimism. Startup tips are always telling you to never give up. It takes a lot of drive and persistence to launch something, to move something beyond the conception stage.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already started. Congratulations! Now you need a continuous dose of optimism and self-motivation to keep at it. And you need to require the same from your skilled freelancers. Teamwork and charisma are rooted in a sunny outlook and cheerful positivity.

Optimism and self-motivation means everyone is driven to deliver, eager to improve and share ideas, and to continue onward despite challenges and hurdles. There’s initiative, and there’s commitment to achieve what’s initiated.

HOW TO WORK IT: This is why businesses have ‘mission’ and ‘vision’. It’s not something to impress site visitors–it’s a reminder for the business owner/s and employees (in-house and virtual assistants both) of what they’re doing and why.

A purpose and a destination keep people’s spirits up. And of course, it’s plenty of help to keep the working atmosphere pleasant. How would you and your freelancers remember the mission and vision if you’re just trudging through the day robotically, wishing it over? That’s why we have CONSIDERATE and FUN up there. We’re friends. We joke. We bully Dan and each other. Mostly Dan.

3. Empathy and Social Skills

HOW THEY WORK:  Successful entrepreneurs are worse than politicians in how well they can charm you! Skilled freelancers know the power of warmth and relatability in marketing. Whole books on startup tips revolve around how to court your customers and keep them loyal. Countless businesses (aren’t they all?) are rooted in empathy.

Think about it. You recognize a need for a product or a service, and you make it your business to answer that need. You study your target market. As soon as you formulate your business plan, you anticipate more and more of their needs as they transact with you.

When both sides have high perception of each other’s and their clients’ needs, entrepreneurs and virtual assistants are at their most influential.

The entrepreneur appreciates and motivates his freelancers.

The freelancer knows how best to be helpful and valuable to his boss and their clients.

Empathy recognizes others’ feelings and needs. Social skills sum up how well an entrepreneur and a freelancer communicates to respond to those feelings and needs. Entrepreneurship and customer service are social activities. Now, more than ever, because of social media. No more having to knock at doors or waiting for people to pick up the phone!

Social intelligence not only applies externally but is at its most influential internally, especially within virtual teams. Feel close together even while continents apart. Collaboration toward shared goals, teamwork and charisma, conflict management, leadership, friendship and persuasiveness–all are manifestations of good EQ, all essential for your startup to take off.

HOW TO WORK IT: Lead by example. And find others to help you lead by example as well. This is infectious. Let caring be the unspoken but clearly-felt culture of your little virtual office. 

If you’re looking to build your own virtual team, or if you already have one, even if it’s a team of two–just you and your freelancer–evaluate for emotional intelligence. It could predict how well you’ll be moving forward, daily and in the long run.

Image: Creative Commons,