I meet people all the time who talk about their EQ, and I've yet to meet someone who has strong EQ and frequently talks about how high their emotional intelligence is. It's the irony of it. If you actually have it, you don't tell people you have it. 

As an entrepreneur, CEO or leader at a company, you have a set of skills or desire that has led you to that role. You are employing and leading people who are participating in capitalism: by choice, they are working for you, and in return, you are paying them. Those who find the niche or provide a better product or service at the right price point, win. The question then becomes, do you understand your people? 

Motivation. Desire. Fear. Need. Want. Likes. Dislikes. As a leader of people in today's society, more than ever before, to know these things is what truly defines being a strong manager and a good leader. There are very few great leaders, so start with being good.  

What you speak about on a regular basis is how you are defined by those who work with you, for you and around you. The biggest lack of emotional intelligence I come across is bragging and being a know-it-all to make up for a lack of confidence. Lack of confidence in intelligence, social skills, friendships and accomplishments. There is a lot being written about "imposter syndrome" and there are two ways people who have I.S. respond: 

  1. They stay quiet in groups because they don't feel they belong.   
  2. They talk more than they should and brag to prove they belong.   

Insecurities manifest themselves in many different ways. When you find yourself always talking about the wins you had at your previous company, defining your friends by their job title or net worth, or talking about your vacations by the name of the five star resort you stayed at rather than the geographic location, you are lacking EQ.   

When you have a need to impress with words rather than actions, you lack EQ.  When you do those things, you are creating a culture where employees focus on the wrong things.  Employees at all levels, should be focused on servicing the customer. Delivery of product or service in a high-end quality way.  Everything else creates a split focus. 

I have heard many leaders say they pay employees and don't need to deal with their emotions.  I used to think they had a low EQ. I was wrong. When people don't focus on the soft skills, it doesn't mean they have a low EQ. It means they know who they are, and know how they want to manage and lead.  

Ask your friends and partner (life and business) how you come across. Are you direct? Do you come off as an a**? Want to hear the truth. If you're blunt, is it because the issue is simple and has been addressed countless times, or are you blunt because you lack the empathy of how your staff processes information, and you don't "get it"? 

To fully achieve as a leader of people, the first and most important step is to realize that the people you are leading are not you. They all don't have your understanding, bandwidth, learning process and experiences. They don't have your skills or knowledge. They may be superior or inferior in all, many or few of these categories. Hopefully they are better than you at most! 

Just because you cut the checks doesn't mean you have a high EQ. It just means you're the boss, and being a boss and being an effective leader are not synonymous. 

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