As CEO of a leading commercial skills training and coaching company, I’m often asked what the secret is to achieving real success in business.  And without hesitation, I always reply that what differentiates top performers from the rest of the pack is their ability to recognise, understand and manage their own emotions and those of others.


With research showing that up to 45% of job success is now down to EQ – it’s clear that no one should underestimate the power of developing these so-called “soft” skills. The great news is that your EQ (unlike your IQ) is not fixed and can be improved over time. So here are 4 steps to help you harness your commercial EQ so that you stand out from the competition:


1. Build Strong Relationships

As Helen Keller so powerfully said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” and this is undoubtedly the case in the business world. The ability to use your social skills to find out what the other party can bring to the table is key to commercial success whether you are dealing with colleagues, customers or suppliers. By harnessing your EQ to find common ground, you will be able to build strong relationships based on trust that benefit both parties over the long term.


2.  Put Yourself In The Other Person’s Shoes

It’s important to remember that people like doing business with people they like. As with any relationship – both parties are in it for what they can get out of it. So it’s crucial to create wins for the other side. So draw on your empathy – a key EQ skill – to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand what really makes them tick.  By showing the other party that you value their perspective, you are far more likely to reap the rewards of increased levels of collaboration and creativity that will keep you ahead of the competition.


3. Be A Champion Of Change

In today’s rapidly changing world, adaptability is crucial if you want to achieve business success.  It’s therefore more important that ever to be open-minded and flexible in your outlook. By embracing new ways of thinking and seeing change as an opportunity rather than a threat, you will benefit from increased levels of motivation and improved commercial performance.


4. Bounce-back When Times Are Tough

When circumstances don’t turn out like you’d hoped, it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral of negative thoughts. People with high levels of EQ on the other hand, have the ability draw on their resilience to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. This doesn’t just mean flipping negatives into their opposites – instead it’s about being realistically optimistic. For example, if you’re worried your job may be under threat, a resilient person would think, “What can I do to make sure I am the person they keep.” By avoiding black and white thinking and finding shades of grey instead, you are more likely to bounce-back from setbacks by taking the learnings from the situation and moving on.


Finally, it’s important to remember that developing your EQ skills is no quick fix.  I often remind people that these “soft” skills are often the most difficult ones to master. So use every opportunity during your working week to hone your social skills, boost your empathy levels and develop your adaptability and resilience – you will soon reap the rewards of increased business success!