Is Emotional Intelligence important in business?

Pychologies post on Facebeook January 2012

I had to comment on this article, on the Psychologies page, which in general  I disagree with.

“The whole point of ’emotional intelligence’ is to be aware of people’s needs and use that to manage people effectively.  The key here is people (person, personal, humanity etc).  It is one of many tools a manager or leader needs to manage a business effectively – people are not only staff but customers too (and suppliers, stakeholders, networks, word of mouth promoters or critics, complainers or ‘complimenters’ …).  The more you understand, the more you can utilise – in yourself or others, situations and options, surely?”

Emotional intelligence – awareness of people and their needs, situations, feelings and thought processes etc –  is important in business and at home/socially too…because people each have their own needs which change through life and experience, which have to be fulfilled to be successful and for personal development (a natural human drive).   A business cannot function without people – those who run it, buy from it, supply to it, support it, promote it, feedback to it etc.    How can you provide what people need if you don’t know what that is?    Hence the aim of my business is to enhance self awareness – which in turn offers insight into others too, and that information can be used.

Upset your staff – ignore their (real) needs and drives (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) or the stress caused by distracting issues in their life (home and family illness, bereavement/ loss, changes and life events, for example) – puts your business at risk – sickness absence or staff leaving can cause missing service providers and casuses your company to struggle generally or in certain areas; it may even fail if it cannot cope with the missing service in smaller organisations especially; people may be distracted by issues at work or outside,  making mistakes; or even sabotaging processes in extreme situations where they are frustrated or overlooked.

Ignore your customer’s needs, or your suppliers, your stakeholders or those who can influence your business for better or worse and it can cause untold (and unrealised) problems!

I think you ignore people’s needs at your peril in business  so emotional intelligence is important and has developed as a management training focus in recent years because of the realisation it has a huge impact on failure or success of any organisation….

In business we are told to sell to people by understanding their needs, to market to attract attention, to grow and develop by fulfilling the needs of customers – and keep staff happy and fulfilled as they are the ones who run your company – people are key to any business. Aren’t they?