The Benefits of Emotional Intelligence and Empathy to Entrepreneurship

This paper reviews the literature on emotional intelligence/competencies and relates it to entrepreneurship. Emotional intelligence/competencies are positively related to job performance, leadership, and physical and mental health. This paper also reviews the research on another emotion-related trait, empathy. Empathy is related to leadership emergence and effectiveness, and empathic leaders have followers who experience less stress and physical symptoms. This paper generates nine propositions that relate emotional intelligence/competencies and empathy to entrepreneurship.


Entrepreneurs high on emotional intelligence/competencies will


(1) be more emotionally resilient when facing obstacles,


(2) be more successful at handling intense emotions when working with family members, and


(3) they will work more effectively with their employees, customers, and other stakeholders and they will be rated higher on leadership by their employees. High emotional intelligence will give entrepreneurs


(4) an advantage in developing new products and services, and


(5) in negotiating with financial backers, vendors and suppliers, distributors and retailers, and with their employees. Entrepreneurs high on empathy will be more successful at


(6) motivating and leading their employees, and


(7) helping their employees cope with workplace stresses. They will be


(8) more attuned to their customers’ wants and have higher customer satisfaction, and


(9) be more innovative.


Ronald H. Humphrey