National Incubation Center

Emotional Intelligence for Startup founders

The concept of Emotional intelligence (EI) has recently been on the rise. This concept was originally popularised by a book titled: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, in 1995, proceeded by Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and Social Intelligence. As per Goleman, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.” 

Startup founders, since the inception of their journey as entrepreneurs, endure significant amount of emotional grind, since they have taken a risk against a secure lifestyle they could have managed otherwise. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges for all of us so we can well imagine what a roller coaster ride this has been for startup founders as they have struggled between minimizing costs, retaining workforce, securing cash runway, and basically trying every means for survival. It has indeed been an emotionally exhausting journey. 

 According to Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence Leadership is made up of FIVE skills and competencies: 

  • Self-awareness. 
  • Self-regulation. 
  • Motivation. 
  • Empathy. 
  • Social skills. 

For individuals to achieve greater level of emotional intelligence it is important that they learn the art of self-awareness; self-reflecting to know their emotional triggers, emotional states, how and why they feel and behave under certain circumstances. These realisations help an individual to be in better control of his/her emotional state and make better decisions in situations they are likely to lose emotional control. 

Self-regulation, also known as self-discipline, is the art of channelising our emotions; to not let our emotional state affect the quality of our life, our decisions and our relationship with co-workers and loved ones.  

Motivation in psychology is of two types and most powerful of them is called intrinsic motivation i.e., motivation that comes from within. This also serves as our purpose of work and life. If we are clear about the WHY of our work and life, chances are that we will align our actions, habits, behaviour, and lifestyle to fulfil our purpose. While extrinsic motivation drives us for materialistic achievements like status in society and belongings; intrinsic motivation leads to long-lasting emotional well-being and helps develop a sense of gratitude.  

Empathy is a powerful tool which helps us achieve happiness in our personal and professional relationships as it allows us to process other people’s emotional states by putting oneself in their position to feel what they must be feeling. 

Last but not the least, an equally vital component of emotional intelligence, is our social skills. How we interact with others, what actions we perform and how we behave in certain situations determine our relationships with other people-networking is key for personal and professional success. 

Remember: Staying normal under normal conditions is easy; maturity lies one step ahead. We can only live a life of controlled emotions when we are more self-aware, practice empathy, and use our social skills to develop an attractive personality with more credibility and trust. 

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