The reality is that soft skills matter. This skill set includes personal values, critical thinking tools, and character traits. At the top of this list are communication skills, which involve being able to listen attentively, speak precisely, read fast, and write well. Unfortunately, communications skills have eroded in the last several generations.
Flexibility and insight are also important. Employees at all levels are now responsible for managing multiple tasks, adjusting to changing work conditions, coordinating team efforts, and coping with a constantly shifting set of goals. What employers are looking for at all levels of responsibility are natural-born, decisive leaders who can figure out what to do and when to do it, juggle simultaneous tasks, and perform day in and day out without undue stress. A tall order, indeed!
Employers are also looking for interpersonal and leadership skills. This refers to how you relate to people, resolve conflict, and if you are a supervisor or manager, how you encourage, motivate, and lead others. Companies of every kind benefit from “relationship builders” who can achieve consensus & deal with abrasive personalities in a firm but sensitive manner.
Obviously, technical mastery is important for success in any profession. But, raw intelligence, training, and experience are not enough to assure job success.
We all know that job security is no longer a given in today’s society. So — members of today’s workforce need to find their security within themselves, regarding their own skills. The ability to interact well with others and adapt to change are now actually more important than technical expertise.
American Express has created a detailed hiring profile based on its customer service needs which assess not only skills in math, computing, reading and retention, but also applicants’ aptitude for teamwork and communication skills.
A survey of reasons for job firings identified insufficient technical abilities as only 10% responsible for terminations. The other 90% are the result of problems having to do with interpersonal relationships, inappropriate behaviors, or bad attitudes — all of which are related to EQ.
EQ has been found to be the most important variable in differentiating star performers from employees whose performance is described as average or marginal. EQ, which leads to emotional competence has been found to be 2X as important as cognitive abilities in job success.
The truth is… we don’t just bring our professional selves to work, we bring our emotional selves, too. Work is not separate from our relationship to rest of the world — all business is personal. It’s unrealistic to believe emotions can be checked at the door.
What is EQ?
High EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) means that an individual is able to manage his or her own feelings in a way that they are appropriately and effectively expressed. If you can avoid inappropriately inflicting feelings like anger and frustration onto others, you are managing your emotions. EQ involves understanding and managing yourself and understanding and managing others.
A study of 130 executives found that how well people handled their own emotions determined the degree to which those around them preferred dealing with them. This makes sense — no hair-trigger responses or drama queens/kings.
Here are three Components of EQ:
- Self-awareness: knowing emotional states, preferences, intuition. The greater our self-awareness, the more we can develop self-control
- Self-control: managing emotions, impulses, and resources
- Out of control emotions make smart people dumb.
- Self-control involves recognizing/managing our negative emotions, not stifling them.
- Empathy: awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns (At its most basic level, empathy requires being able to read another person’s emotions)
- Emotional GPS system that tells us how to respond to others
- Being able to tune into others and understand the world from their point of view is essential for relationship-building.
At the heart of empathy is good listening skills, and listening well goes beyond what is said. Those who can’t or don’t listen come across as uncaring and prevent others from communicating their feelings. Active listening involves asking questions and restating what you heard in your own words to make sure it’s accurate.
To learn more about EQ, contact Heather at 610-763-7905.