4 Workplace Trends in Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is a hot and evolving topic. Find out the current EQ workplace trends and how they will affect you and your career.

Soft skills becoming more valuable

With automation taking over many hard skills—such as data entry and processing, and certain physical jobs like machine operation—soft skills are becoming much more valuable to employers.

Soft skills include managing and interacting with people, decision making, planning, and creative work. Basically, all skills that require a high EQ. Technology futurist Erica Orange predicts, “As smart machines relieve us of tedious manual tasks, they may allow us to spend more of our time being creative…skills like relationship-building, collaboration, empathy, and cultural sensitivity will become top currency.”

EQ as a competitive advantage

While hard skills like experience, machine operation, and computer program efficiency are easier to quantify, soft skills are proving to be a competitive advantage.

During the hiring process, when all things are equal among competitors, EQ expert Bill Benjamin says, emotional performance “counts for twice as much as technical and intellectual skills combined.” This is because it’s often easier to teach hard skills. While soft skills like patience or teamwork can be taught, they often take longer to develop (though that still doesn’t stop companies from offering EQ training!).

Emotional Intelligence training in workplace

Recognizing the value of EQ growth, employers are offering Emotional Intelligence training to employees.  

Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” two-day course is similar to a leadership course that centers around teaching the tools of mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence. The course was started by engineer Chade-Meng Tan—employee number 107 at Google—who wanted to train people to be more aware of their emotions and to be more capable of workplace collaboration and relationship building. Specifically, the course focuses on five components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Collaboration is on the rise

Finally, as workplaces diversify in gender, race, and age, the ability to work collaboratively as a team towards a common goal has become more valuable.

In the new book The Best Team Wins by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton, the authors teach two important strategies to make team collaboration more effective.

First, it’s important to be transparent about collective team challenges. This involves everyone understanding their role, what problems there are for the team, and how the team fits into the larger picture of the business.

You can help establish this transparency by asking yourself questions like: “Do my employees have a say in setting goals that are important to their jobs?” and “What avenues do my team members have to voice their ideas and concerns?”

Second, it’s important to make the meaning of the work clear to team members. In order to get the most out of teams, team leaders must define a clear and compelling “why” for the work. This might be a mission statement that explains the purpose of the work and each person’s role, or a simple sentence that shows how the team can make the world a better place through their efforts.

To determine your team’s purpose, ask questions like: “Why do we exist as a team?”, “What job do we do for customers?” or “What gets you excited to come here every day?”

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