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Most Scholars Agree Emotional Intelligence Is the Key to Productivity Emotionally intelligent people spend less time in pointless conflict and more time building teams.

By John Rampton Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Improving productivity is a fundamental part of culture both inside and outside of work. We embrace strategies like the Pomodoro Technique, block off time in our calendars and strive to reduce distractions. We seek advice from countless books, blog posts and TED Talks.

Nonetheless, most of us still struggle with productivity.

That's not to say that the productivity hacks aren't effective. It's just that our obsession with getting more done in less time is stressing us out. Instead, we should be focusing on improving the quality of life for us and those we surround. And, that's where emotional intelligence fits in.

EI is simply our ability to read, feel and respond to our emotions and the emotions of those around us. EI consists of the following four components:

  • Self-awareness. Recognizing your feelings, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Self-management. Regulating your emotions so that you have a "cool head."
  • Social awareness. The social skills to read an audience and clearly communicate your message to that specific group.
  • Relationship management. Empathy for others so that you can build a deeper relationship with them.

As you can see, since emotional intelligence is linked to internal motivation and relationships, it's integral to success. But, what does this have to do with productivity? Here are seven reasons why emotional intelligence is the key to productivity.

1. Increases self-awareness.

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence -- studies show that those with higher emotional intelligence are often more self-aware.

When you're self-aware you know your strengths and weaknesses, so you don't waste time on activities outside your wheelhouse. For example, if you want an app for your startup, but are only a novice coder, then why you would spend the time building the app yourself? Wouldn't you hire a skilled coder to build the app while you focus on what you excel at, such as marketing the business?

At the same time, self awareness will lead you to sharpen your existing skills so that you can complete important tasks much faster and easier.

Related: Why You Need Emotional Intelligence to Succeed in Business

2. Promotes self-motivation.

Individuals with a high EI also tend to be more self-driven and not motivated by money or titles. Their intrinsic motivation is what drives them to get things done, learn new ways to grow and strive always to improve. Self-motivated learners are naturally curious and frequently ask questions. As they search for answers, they pick-up new skills and knowledge that can be applied to their lives.

They also hold themselves accountable for completing projects and overcoming obstacles. They know the value of time and have the discipline to block-out distractions so they're always one-step ahead.

They anticipate new challenges and are always on the lookout for the latest trends and technology to make them successful.

Related: The 7 Secrets Self-Motivated Entrepreneurs Know

3. Helps you accept feedback.

We all make mistakes but few of us enjoys hearing about it from others. However, accepting constructive criticism is necessary for improving the quality of our work.

For example, when I started guest blogging I received a lot of feedback from editors noting my mistakes but also pointers on how to improve my writing skills. Over time I became a much better writer who made fewer mistakes -- which meant less time making revisions. More importantly, I was able to crank-out articles much faster by using their advice.

Related: 5 Tips for Gracefully Accepting Constructive Criticism

4. Encourages collaboration and strategic partnerships.

No surprise here. Emotionally intelligent people are better at collaborating with others to build strategic partnerships.

This is essential for startups. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of your team allows you to assign them the right tasks instead of trying to handle everything on your own. And, you also have the communication skills to clearly explain the goals and expectations for these responsibilities. You can also explain your vision with partners, customers and influencers to motivate them become brand advocates.

Also, with EI you're better suited to read their emotions.

Being able to clearly communicate your expectation, providing autonomy, and being empathetic can boost happiness and morale in the workplace. As a result, everyone's performance will improve.

Related: 10 Simple Ways to Build a Collaborative, Successful Work Environment

5. Boosts positivity.

EI empowers positivity while stopping negativity right in its tracks. Consequently, this encourages you to learn from failure and tackle problems head-on by looking for solutions.

Positivity also sparks creativity and encourages open-mindedness. It also helps you focus. When you're in a better mood you aren't dwelling on all the negatives. You're more present and occupied with the current task at hand.

6. Reduces stress.

America is the most overworked nation in the world. Now imagine running your own business. When the clock strikes five you're not leaving the office. You may have to stay for another couple of hours and then repeat this cycle the next day.

Eventually, you're going to get burnt out.

Thankfully, emotional intelligence makes us to recognize when our stress-levels are about go through the roof. Those with EI meditate, read or exercise to unplug and unwind. They take vacations when they need to completely get away and return refocused on their priorities.

Related: These 5 Stress-Relieving Strategies Work for Even the Busiest Entrepreneurs

7. Gives you the ability to adapt.

The world around us is rapidly changing. Emotionally intelligent people embrace it instead of draining their energy resisting change. They realize that change is inevitable and they need to adapt in order to thrive.

How do you develop emotional intelligence for better productivity? First, learn more about emotional intelligence and its benefits. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and motivational TED Talks are excellent places to start. You can take an online quiz to see how emotionally intelligent you are.

Secondly, start cultivating self-awareness. Meditation, soliciting feedback, reading and establishing boundaries are proven ways to enhance your self-awareness.

Finally, actively listen to others so that you can understand where they're coming from. Pay attention to their behavior and reactions. And, always pause before you take action.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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