Debt Collection and Your Emotional Intelligence

7 May

Can Emotional Intelligence Make a Difference In Debt Collecting?

Found in the April edition of the NACM newsletter we read this,

Emotional IQ C2C Resources.comEmotional intelligence centers on one’s ability to not only manage and understand our own emotions, but also those of the people around us. This quality allows us to influence others and manage personal relationships.

Collecting a debt can be an emotional experience for some business owners and operators as well as for the debtor. That’s why the above definition for Emotional Intelligence struck a chord with us.

Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer, the leading researchers on emotional intelligence defined it as, “The subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.”

While the NACM newsletter article focuses on how a person’s EI (also referred to as EQ) factors into a person’s leadership abilities, we see all the same correlations for in-house collectors and even third-party collectors such as ourselves.

As the article states, leaders who want to be effective must develop in the following emotional areas:

  • Self-awareness – understanding your own emotional state
  • Self-regulation – controlling your emotions
  • Superior communication skills – ability to speak clearly and be understood
  • Social awareness – empathy
  • Teamwork – a “WE can work through any challenge” attitude

The process of collecting a debt successfully involves maneuvering through the emotions of the debtor without walls going up and doors slamming shut. Like a dance, we listen, we ask questions, we listen, we respond. And we do this while guiding the debtor toward the desired resolution.

Those who manage their emotions effectively are in good position to make a collection call or meet personally with a delinquent client.

What do you think? How does EI factor into collections?




Photo courtesy Victor Habbick/

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