The global job market is increasingly competitive, driving employers to value soft skills not previously considered “resume-worthy.” According to a recent LinkedIn survey, more than half of 300 hiring managers claimed the lack of soft skills among job candidates is limiting their company’s productivity. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn has also predicted Emotional Intelligence (EQ) would be the top skill to have in 2018, and that prediction shows no sign of abating.
Whether a company is racing to become best-in-class, fully automated or first to market, they will require effective employees to lead the charge. This is where EQ becomes an important upskill and something families should look to foster amongst all members.
“The job market is more competitive than ever,” David Gosse, senior coordinator of human resources for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada tells Parentology. “More than ever, we need excellent communicators and collaborators.”
While having technical hard skills definitely matter, here are the main EQ characteristics that add major value to prospective employers.
As Socrates once said, “Know thyself.” Being aware of yourself and how you function in the world is a key indicator of how you work with others. Identifying your feelings, knowing your strengths and weaknesses — these are all attributes that can identify you as either a consummate professional or an emotional train wreck.
“If you’re in touch with your own emotional temperature by keeping track of how you react in a given situation, you’re way ahead of the game,” Gosse says. “As a manager, it behooves you to impart that ability to your team so everyone can manage expectations.”
Pursuant to self-awareness, being capable of managing your inner emotional spectrum means you’re more likely to deal competently with workplace pressures. Functioning well under stress demands an ability to manage emotions. The higher your EQ, the better equipped you are to make decisions in stressful situations.
“In my experience, the workforce can be pretty volatile,” Gosse says. “If you’re able to manage your stress levels, you’ve increased your value exponentially.”
Having coping mechanisms and support structures in place when things get tough will positively impact your ability to do your job effectively, and employers are taking notice.
People with high EQs are generally better at putting aside their own emotions and taking into account the feelings of others. This works particularly well in collaborative scenarios, where someone with high emotional intelligence can use their sensitivity to build trust and bring a team together.
Empathy helps predict how decisions will impact others and allows for more proactive behavior, rather than in-fighting and office politics.
“We want to think that teamwork is all about problem-solving and providing work-based solutions,” Gosse says, “and it is, but there’s also a lot of ego involved. Someone with a high EQ can navigate those turbulent emotional waters and use their sensitivity to keep people on-task.”
Have you ever had a conversation where the other person didn’t look like they were truly listening to you? Everyone wants to be understood and heard. Being engaged and responding to others is integral to building strong working relationships. People with high emotional intelligence are experts at active listening, reading body language and responding to verbal cues to create successful, dynamic connections.
People who can understand and integrate with their peers are becoming increasingly valuable. Candidates with a well developed EQ are sought after by employers because they have great people skills; getting along with others, being receptive to feedback and building relationships across a diverse landscape are all assets that contribute to an increasingly globalized workforce.
There’s evidence to suggest emotional intelligence is surpassing IQ for the top criteria of successful hires. A recent Wall Street Journal survey found 92% of executives surveyed considered soft skills to be equally or more important than technical skills. Conversely, 89% said they had a very difficult time finding people with those attributes.
“People who can adapt to change, manage their emotions and work well with others are invaluable,” Gosse concurs.
Workplace pressure isn’t going away. Rising above common pressures to lead and influence will make candidates with a high EQ more important than ever.
Emotional Intelligence Job Skills: Sources
David Gosse, senior coordinator of human resources for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
INC: 6 EQ Skills
Wall Street Journal: Employers Find ‘Soft Skills’ Like Critical Thinking in Short Supply