How do you steer a ship with a broken rudder in the right direction? How do you make sure the ship avoids striking the iceberg?

Working at a startup is like working on an assembly line. Things are always moving and if you can’t keep up, you will fall terribly behind. Having worked at a startup for some time, I know how frantic things can be. Everyday I would wake up at 4am and be on the road by 5am. We resumed work at 7am and closed at 5pm. I was literally living life on the fast lane, and not in an enjoyable way. The startup life is a life sold out to much work. It’s more than likely that a lot of people will break down, emotionally.

As much as professional conduct is needful in the workplace, it can’t be independent of one’s ability to deal with their feelings and state of mind. A tired mind will produce shoddy work. While there are people who naturally know how to handle their emotions, most other people don’t know how to. This is why a lot of people may not be able to handle working in a startup. As much as we like to deny it, our lives, our decisions and our actions are largely influenced by our emotions. These emotions control the way we see the world. In any organization, the people are the ship and their emotions serve as the rudder. If they are emotionally drained or burned out, be sure the business is on its way to joining the Titanic.

But you see, it is possible to teach Emotional Intelligence. While it may be impossible to increase a person’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ), it is possible to raise their Emotional Quotient. That simply means that you cannot make a person anymore intelligent than they were at birth but you can make them emotionally smarter. And Psychology tells us that Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) is a more important factor for success than traditional IQ*. This is more reason why startups [and other business entities] must embrace Emotional Intelligence. The more it is improved upon, the better the performance of the people.

How can startups embrace Emotional Intelligence?

These are some simple steps:

Employers and employees should take personality tests

The results of this test will help the employees and the employer better know and understand themselves. The results of the test will show strengths, weakness and best career paths and roles. Decisions can then be made based on this result. You can access a free personality test here.

They can also take Emotional Intelligence tests

The Emotional Intelligence tests will reveal your levels of self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness and relationship management. This means that your ability to understand and identify emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to make reasonable decisions with them will be rated. No matter how high or low you score in this test, you must still take steps to improve your EQ level. You can take an Emotional Intelligence test here.

Include Emotional Intelligence as a retreat course or an orientation programme

Emotional Intelligence training can be done as part of an orientation/re-orientation exercise for staff. The startup could also decide to go on a retreat at any location they want. The purpose of the retreat will be to teach their staff Emotional Intelligence and its impact on their lives and work. TalentSmart is a good place to access such resources.

Read books and materials

Reading is not the strong suit of many people, but it is needful nonetheless, if one must be successful. Startups need to encourage this among their people. The focus should be on books with themes of social psychology, self-development, business psychology and human decision making.

*Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves

Photo Credit: VC4Africa via Compfight cc

David Adeleke Author

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