A smart business owner should know her numbers. She should know her COGS (Cost of Goods Sold), her supply and demand, her target market, her profit margin, her margin of error, the cost of advertising versus marketing. A successful business owner will know her numbers and the five core aspects of social-emotional intelligence.
Why should a business owner have social-emotional intelligence? Chiefly because the top five soft skills of all major businesses are regarding social-emotional intelligence. This means that the biggest and most powerful businesses on the planet are mainly looking for employees who have the ability to navigate people. While certain hard skills are in demand, most hard skills (which are specific tasks) can be taught; however, soft skills (the way you do those specific tasks) would cost far too much time and money to try and train.
Think about it as if you’re going to a fancy restaurant with someone you have never met. This person knows exactly which meats are aged to perfection, which vegetables are in season, can pair the perfect wine and order it in French, but when the food comes, uses her hands, chews with her mouth open, doesn’t use a napkin… you get the picture. The content knowledge is the “hard skill,” while the process is the “soft skill.” Anyone could learn how to pair a good wine with a simple Google search, but etiquette and decorum take actual practice.
As a business owner, you are responsible for your own hard AND soft skills. The great point about exercising your own social-emotional muscles is that when you do grow your business, it’s always easier to hire someone with hard skills if you’re already skilled at the soft skills.
So, what are the five aspects of social-emotional intelligence?
- Self-Management: Managing emotions and behaviors to achieve one’s goals.
- Self-Awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and values as well as one’s strengths and challenges.
- Responsible Decision-Making: Making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior.
- Relationship Skills: Forming positive relationships, working in teams, dealing effectively with conflict.
- Social Awareness: Showing understanding, empathy, and compassion for others.
If the list above seems daunting to you, pick one where you already feel some level of confidence and build that particular skill through practice. Ask a trusted friend, advisor, network leader, coach, or mentor to help you run-through the different scenarios. Once you feel confident in an area, choose another area to begin working on.
I find journaling and working with a fellow network leader most fruitful for personal growth. I write down different situations that happen to me and reflect on how I responded – I go down the list and check-off the different aspects of social-emotional intelligence to see if they tie into the advice I would have given to one of my business clients. This keeps me married and present in the work.
Be Patient with Yourself
Remember that obtaining these particular skills is a marathon. Real change takes real time. You may not be where you want to be, but you’re better than where you were!