Times Have Changed Regarding Getting A Good Job
Once upon a time, getting a good job was about having the relevant education and wearing proper business attire. However, times have changed a lot since then and since HR managers have started to pay attention to so-called “soft skills” the things they are looking for in applications are now completely different. The scientific terms of soft skills are EQ – Emotional Intelligence Quotient – and this is an attribute that is hard to measure and takes work to master. However, it seems to be more important to businesses than qualifications, experience or what someone wears. Unsurprisingly, soft skills training is becoming increasingly popular.
So just what is emotional intelligence? How is it defined by experts in the field?
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize your emotions, understand what they’re telling you, and realize how your emotions affect people around you.” Emotional Intelligence – Developing Strong “People Skills”
However, it isn’t just about recognizing your own emotions; it is also about recognizing the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to understand, manage and respond effectively to one’s own emotions and to sense, understand and react to others’ emotions, and manage relationships. As such, soft skills are about empathy and respect as much as anything else. People who have high levels of emotional intelligence tend to attract other people because they appear to be trustworthy and good listeners.
The Characteristics of Someone with Excellent Soft Skills
There are a number of things that, when combined, form emotional intelligence. Most business leaders now look for these things during interview processes, particularly for positions of senior management and above. The first of these characteristics is self-awareness.
“People with high emotional intelligence are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions, and because of this, they don’t let their feelings rule them.” Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills: What Employers Are Seeking
Someone who is self-aware tends to be confident, because they know what they are and aren’t capable of and they don’t let their emotions run riot with them—they are more likely to stay calm under pressure. Furthermore, they are willing to look inside themselves if something does go wrong and will accept responsibility where it is due, whether negative or positive.
The second element is self-management. Someone with a high EQ does not need a lot of supervision or guidance, and is instead able to work more independently or under minimal levels of supervision. They tend to be more adaptable to change and willing to take on new challenges whenever they are presented.
Then, there is social awareness. The DiSC Test provides insights into your social awareness.
“You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.”
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) – Key Skills for Raising Emotional Intelligence
This is the element of empathy. Someone with high social awareness understands how emotions affect performance not just of self but also of others. This is a very important factor, because it helps to resolve conflict as well. Furthermore, people with high levels of social awareness also tend to be much better team players because they are empathetic to their team members and react accordingly.
Finally, there is relationship management. This is about being able to motivate others around you into doing the work that needs doing, which is particularly important for managers and leaders. Relationship management is about having excellent communication skills, being a good listener and understanding how to foster relationships at all times. Conflict management also benefits greatly from people with excellent relationship management skills.
Why Are Soft Skills Linked to Leadership Skills?
In the past, leadership skills were very clear cut. You could go to college or take individual courses in leadership skills and learn about things such as time management, conducting interviews, dealing with disciplinary procedures and so on. However, none of these courses really touched on soft skills and were mainly theoretical rather than truly practical. This has now changed and businesses have a far greater understanding of how soft skills training can benefit their leaders and managers.
“EI enhances a leader’s ability to recognise and solve issues facing them and their organization. Specifically, leaders high on Emotional Intelligence are able to accurately recognise emotions and are more able to determine whether emotions are linked to work opportunities or obstacles.”
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership: Why The Soft Skills Matter
This means that leaders are able to use emotions to guide themselves in their decision-making processes. Rather than simply thinking with their head on how something should work on paper, they also think with their heart, meaning they think outside of the box of theory and really consider how other people will be affected by any decisions they make. Furthermore, because they are empathetic, they can make sure that employees are encouraged and motivated to get the work done.
How to Improve Your Soft Skills
There is a range of soft skills training available on the market today, but there is also a lot that you can do yourself. For instance, the 3 Vs of communication can be implemented straightaway.
“Think visual, vocal and verbal. Research from Harvard University found that when you stand or sit confidently, your testosterone levels rise and your cortisol levels fall. If you want to make an important point, sit or stand upright and keep your arms open.” The Secret To Understanding Soft Skills
You should also take some time to study others. This is true not just to learn more about the various levels of emotional intelligence in others, but also about your own. Talk to other people who are at the same level with you and find out how they were able to overcome certain obstacles and difficulties. You can then compare how you have responded or would have responded in those same situations and see whether or not there is something for you to improve upon.
The most successful people know who they are—they understand their strengths and limitations.
These “peak performers” understand themselves and how their behaviors and emotions affect others. They tend to have a positive attitude about themselves which causes others to have confidence in them.
They know how to adapt their behavior to meet the needs of other people and make better decisions in their personal and professional lives.
There are various other steps you can take to improve on your emotional intelligence. Start by observing yourself and how you respond to others. You may be judgmental of others. You need to think how you would feel if someone responded to you the way you respond to them.
Also, try to find out how you behave at work. Do you need a lot of acknowledgement for anything that you achieve, or do you feel more comfortable giving others that acknowledgement? You should also find out what your response are when you become too stressed and take responsibility for your behavior and your emotions. Finally, always be aware of how what you do affects other people.