Small Business Leadership and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

small business leadership emotional intelligence

A small business owner’s journey toward self discovery, prosperity, and success.



On October 2, 1995. 7:30 a.m. Ed stood at the newsstand in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan skyscraper.

A recent college graduate, he was training to be an investment banker. As dictated by his habits, he bought the Wall Street Journal. On the same kiosk he noticed the cover of TIME magazine. Displayed in large print was a question, “What’s Your EQ?” Although he had no idea what it was, Ed started reading and learned,

“It’s not IQ. Emotional intelligence may be the best predictor of success in life, redefining what it means to be smart.”

Intrigued, he bought the magazine, read the story and spent the next twenty years practicing what it preached. He climbed to the top of his organization helps others to do the same.

He credits the article with having a major in influence on his professional development.

In his quest to ascend the career ladder, he heeded the advice of the article’s prevailing theme:

“IQ gets you hired, EQ gets you promoted.”

In stark contrast, Scott was talented, intelligent, and determined.

His peers considered him to be “the smartest guy in the room.” He had an outstanding high school G.P.A. and near-perfect SAT scores. His parents and teachers told him success would be guaranteed, the ideal pedigree for a swift and prosperous career.

After college he joined a leading financial services firm and became an exceptional salesman. Three years with the company and his prospects for a rapid career ascent were excellent.

Many of his colleagues described him as competitive, aggressive, and intense. In the same breath they added impatient, impulsive, and detached. He spoke more than he listened, and was indifferent to most conversations that didn’t relate to him.

However, negative sentiments from colleagues were easily dismissed as long as he was “meeting or surpassing his monthly targets.”

Well-known in the organization, he networked heavily, especially with superiors. As the business grew, he was promoted and responsible for the performance of twenty-one regional sales- people.

Seemingly ready to lead a young and newly minted sales force, he communicated expectations to his charges on day one. His career climb was well under way.

Until… it came spiraling down, crushed under the weight of his firms’ expectations. According to his superiors, “Scott was ill-prepared to lead the troops.” With his brains and all that God-given talent, what went wrong?

Travis Bradberry, a psychologist and leading researcher in EQ begs an interesting questions in his many publications,

“Why do some people with a high Intelligent Quotient struggle in life, while others with moderate IQ’s succeed?”

He studied success factors in the workplace and concluded they had little to do with G.P.A. and SAT’s. Although one’s intelligent quotient is frequently equated with success, his research demonstrates,

“Good decisions require far more than factual knowledge. They are made using self-knowledge and emotional mastery when they’re needed most.”

Given years of research, his EQ measurement model is divided into four components:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Social Awareness
  3. Self-Management
  4. Relationship Management

Next page- EQ education, like career climbing and mountaineering


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