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Success vs. Failure: Does Your Biz Have Emotional Intelligence?


This is a serious passion topic for me, I think more small businesses need to take Emotional Intelligence into account when it comes to their employees and leadership.

Before I started Avery Atelier, I spent some years working in corporate and in the military. I’d been a business owner for over a decade at this point, but the pandemic had made me nervous. I thought a change of pace would be a great idea.

In some ways it was, but I found myself astounded at the number of managers and business owners that truly seemed to flail around like a blind platypus when it came to leading teams.

Sad to say, these companies lost valuable employees that would have loved to stay, but the leadership choices drove them away. As they say, people don’t leave companies—they leave managers!

I don’t want you to get caught in the trap that will spiral your business into failure, so let’s go over what Emotional Intelligence looks like for small businesses.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Before we dive in, let’s understand what Emotional Intelligence (EI) is. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions – both your own and those of others. It’s about understanding your emotions, empathizing with others, and navigating social complexities skillfully.

The Five Components of EI

Daniel Goleman, a pioneer in EI research, outlines five key components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Let’s go over what each component is and how you can integrate it into your daily life.


Being self-aware means recognizing when you’re stressed during the morning rush and how that stress affects your team. Perhaps you get snappy, which in turn dampens their enthusiasm.

By being aware of this, you can manage your reactions and maintain a positive, energizing atmosphere.


In the fast-paced world of a tech startup, self-regulation is crucial. This means not letting a setback like a failed pitch throw you off balance. It’s about staying calm, composed, and focused on solutions rather than being overwhelmed by the problem or passing on stress to your team.


Running a small business requires constant creativity and innovation. Here, motivation is key. It’s not just about financial rewards but about passion for the work, the desire to tackle challenges, and the drive to continually improve.

This intrinsic motivation is contagious and can inspire your team to push their creative boundaries.


Understanding customers’ needs and emotions is vital. Empathy allows you to connect with customers on a personal level, making their shopping experience memorable.

It’s about genuinely listening to their preferences, maybe even remembering their names or previous purchases, which can turn a one-time shopper into a loyal customer.

Social Skills

Your social skills help in building and maintaining relationships – not just with clients, but also with staff and vendors. It’s about effective communication, conflict resolution, and creating an environment where everyone feels valued and understood.


People don’t leave companies—They leave managers

Why is EI Important in Leadership?

Building Strong Teams

Leaders with high EI create a positive work environment, fostering collaboration and trust. This is essential in small businesses where teamwork can significantly impact productivity and morale.

Effective Decision-Making

EI aids in making more thoughtful, informed decisions. It involves considering the emotional impact of decisions, ensuring they align with both business objectives and the well-being of the team.


Small businesses often face rapid changes. Leaders with high EI can adapt to shifting circumstances and guide their teams through transitions smoothly.

Conflict Resolution

In any business, conflicts are inevitable. Emotional intelligence equips leaders with the skills to handle conflicts constructively, maintaining harmony within the team.

Customer Satisfaction

In small businesses, personal connections with customers are crucial. EI helps in understanding and meeting customers’ emotional needs, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

Developing Your Emotional Intelligence

Improving your EI isn’t an overnight process, but it’s definitely achievable. Here are some steps to get you started:

Self-Reflection: Regularly take time to reflect on your emotions and reactions. Journaling can be a great tool here.

Seek Feedback: Don’t shy away from constructive criticism. Feedback from peers, mentors, or even employees can provide valuable insights.

Empathy Practice: Make a conscious effort to understand things from others’ perspectives. This can be as simple as active listening during conversations.

Emotion Management: Learn techniques to manage stress and stay calm under pressure. This could be through meditation, exercise, or hobbies that relax you.

Communication Skills: Enhance your communication, especially in how you convey and interpret emotional cues.

Where To Next?

Embracing emotional intelligence in leadership is like adding a secret ingredient to your business recipe—it can transform good management into great leadership. As a small business owner, developing your

EI can lead to more cohesive teams, better customer relationships, and a more resilient business. So, sit down and consider how best to embark on this journey of emotional growth and watch as it not only transforms our businesses but also enriches our personal lives.

Here’s to leading with empathy, understanding, and intelligence! 

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