Beyond just a buzzword, Emotional Intelligence carries great weight for both business leaders and individuals, which is why the need for it is so great at the cross-section of these two worlds – family businesses.
Encompassing empathy and compassion, our ability to understand our own emotional state and that of others and respond appropriately, the degree of our Emotional Intelligence – our Emotional Quotient (EQ) – is but one of three gauges by which successful leadership is often measured. And while each of these three quotients plays a significant role in anyone’s life, they are especially relevant to family business success where the need for stable, healthy interactions is of utmost importance:
- Intelligence Quotient: The importance of education has always been stressed in my family. I saw firsthand the need for both formal learning and the kind of learning that can only come from doing. When it comes to the sustainability of family businesses, an attitude of entitlement from family members can quickly eat a business alive. Instead, a family culture that encourages and expects its family members and employees to not only pursue formal education, but also the necessary “hands-on” experience before assuming any kind of leadership role, will strengthen its chances of longevity and success.
- Emotional Quotient: Running your family business may feel like a constant seat at the “holiday table.” Depending on your family dynamic, this can either be a wonderful dinner or one of the most painful nights of the year. Successful family businesses have found a way to foster respect and understanding from one generation to another. Every family member brings a different perspective, passion, and purpose, and when those family members possess strong emotional intelligence, these unique skills and gifts are far more likely to be appreciated and encouraged.
- Adversity Quotient: Disruptions in business are unavoidable. Most of the time we assess the interruption, figure out how best to address it, adapt, and move on. However, this can be a far more significant challenge when dealing with family members. It’s in how we accept and adapt to these changes that will determine the success of our businesses.
Pay close attention to your IQ, EQ, and AQ, as well as the culture within your business. Encourage opportunities that enhance each of these quotients and strive to improve them in yourself – doing so will have a lasting impact on the longevity of your family’s enterprise.