Why Emotional Intelligence Matters in Business

Culture Counts

Kristin Pruis



Some people might frown upon the idea that emotions are an integral part of doing business. Some might say they get in the way of making smart, logical decisions. And that’s probably more often right than wrong.

However, the problem with always separating the two is that there are humans involved in every business, and humans are innately emotional beings. How we choose to handle those emotions is the only thing that differs between individuals, but they’re still present. So, are emotions really something to frown upon when it comes to business?

Let’s start by taking a look at the foundation of businesses—startups. Have you ever thought about what it takes to hit the ground running? First and foremost it takes passion. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, passion is what sets the wheels in motion. It is the fuel that gets you through the rough patches as you begin to build and grow your business. Think about why entrepreneurs typically get people on board with their ideas. They are better sales people because they are passionate about their business.

So, what often happens when a business goes from a startup to an established business? Somewhere along the way they buy into the idea that emotions aren’t good for business, so they stymie it. They begin investing in HR departments to keep people at bay and set ground rules for separating emotions from business operations. Pretty soon, the workplace begins to feel like just a job—a place to clock in and out of every weekday. Not to mention, if the business only focuses on growing profits and neglects its employees, the employees begin to feel undervalued and overworked.

All that seems glum, but it’s really not how great companies work. Companies who are truly connected with their employees recognize that emotion are a part of business and should be encouraged. That’s where emotional intelligence comes into play. In a recent Inc. article called, “Why Good Leaders Get Angry—and Show It,” Jeff Haden wrote “the highest performing people and highest performing teams tap into and express their entire spectrum of emotions.”

However, that’s not to say you should just fly off the handle when you’re upset or cry uncontrollably at your desk. It’s about being “intelligent” when you’re emotional. That means looking at the situation and making decisions about how to react to it without directing those emotions at others. Instead focus on the feelings and what you can learn from them. By doing this, businesses can actually strengthen team relationships because everyone can be their authentic selves and not just simmer below the surface about things.

To sum it up, it’s healthy to foster emotions in business. It leads to better, healthier companies because it lets people be people—not machines. How do you feel about emotions in business?

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