As organizations are finding ways to automate routine tasks and artificial intelligence (AI) systems are being interwoven with our everyday lives, there’s now a premium on emotional intelligence (EI) skills in the workplace.
These uniquely human skills have come into high demand, and for good reason. More than 83% of organizations believe that a highly emotionally intelligent workforce will be a key driver for success in the next three years. Many leading companies have already started to invest in EI, but what exactly is it and why is it so important? Let’s break it down.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer first coined the term EI in 1990. They defined it as “a form 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 action.” People use EI skills in many different ways throughout their lives—whether to strengthen personal relationships or become successful in their careers.
The ability to recognize and understand our own moods and emotions and how they affect others.
2. Self Regulation
The amount of impulse control we possess over our own actions and moods; the ability to think before acting.
3. Internal Motivation
The ability to stay motivated and passionate with only intrinsic rewards, such as learning curiosity, joy in our work, and inner vision or mission.
A skill and an ability to understand the emotions of other people and treat them in a manner consistent with their emotions.
5. Social Skills
The ability to manage relationships and build rapport within our network.
A person with strong EI skills can more easily understand and manage emotions, create positive social interactions and discover what brings happiness. Developing strong EI can also help improve someone’s ability to deal with stressors and negative emotions, resolve conflicts, and make difficult decisions, both in one’s professional and personal lives.
Why is Emotional Intelligence Important in the Workplace?
The skill and talent shortages that the labor market is experiencing are due in large part to the lack of emotional intelligence skills. Historically, EI skills such as empathy, sensitivity and self-awareness were perceived as weaknesses. Today, with the major rise in AI and automation, the corporate world not only views EI skills as strengths but also lists them as top priorities for their business. Why is that?
1. Emotionally Savvy Employees Build Better Relationships
AI systems and automated roles are performed based on logic and processes. While it’s not possible for a computer to make decisions based on emotion, humans work simultaneously using both logic and emotion. There are many roles in a business where human skills and emotional connection are critical—such as leadership, sales or human resources, to name a few. For ongoing success, corporations need to invest equally in developing EI skills and automation.
2. Holistic Skills Development Means Higher Productivity and Satisfaction
It’s been proven repeatedly that professional skill development in the workplace leads to higher employee satisfaction and productivity. Including a focus on EI skill development in addition to hard skills can lead to lower turnover, enhanced market share and improved revenue generation.
3. Stronger Leaders Create Stronger Teams
Leaders with strong EI skills not only understand what motivates them, how they work best and what triggers to avoid but see these in their teams as well. Being able to read this information allows leaders to leverage their teams’ strengths to deliver stronger results.
Promoting an empathetic, self-aware and motivated workplace will encourage more team members to develop these skills and learn from one and another, leading to higher rates of productivity and lower overall turnover rates. For businesses to close the skills gap and win the talent war, focusing on the development of a workforce with strong emotional intelligence skills will be a key driver.
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