Demand for strong emotional intelligence skills is predicted to rise by over 600% over the next three to five years. Faced with an ever-increasing amount of automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, our workforce needs to adapt if we want to survive in this brand-new economic landscape.

This is one of the many reasons why every organisation, no matter what its size, should start investing more in these ‘soft skills’ to achieve optimal business success over the coming years.

Keep reading to find out more about what emotional intelligence is and how it can help your business.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is a person’s ability to recognise, understand and manage their own emotions effectively as well as those of the people around them. There’s almost certainly at least one or two members of your existing team who already display these kinds of qualities.

They’re those individuals who can keep calm despite whatever chaos. They can stay objective yet fair in emotionally charged situations whilst also honouring the feelings of those involved and they can find an effective solution to whatever comes their way. They know their strengths, they can handle criticism and they’re always available to provide support to those who need it the most.

We can break down emotional Intelligence into six key competencies which are as follows;

1. Self awareness

Self awareness allows you to be aware of your true feelings and acknowledge the role they play in various aspects of your life. You’re better able to manage your emotions so they can have a more positive effect on your decision making, behaviour and performance. It also allows you to be more confident in your abilities.

2. Emotional awareness of others

Emotional awareness of others is the ability to recognise the way others are feeling, demonstrate empathy and adjust your behaviour accordingly. We use these skills when providing support to a friend or colleague, providing a service to others, dealing with a customer’s complaint or being an effective leader.

3. Authenticity

Emotional authenticity means that you feel comfortable expressing yourself, managing your emotions and supporting others to do the same. It allows you to come across as trustworthy and genuine, building relationships and fostering positivity.

4. Emotional Reasoning

Emotional reasoning unites your observations about your own and others’ feelings with facts so you can make better informed decisions. Because you’ve taken feelings and emotions into account, your decisions are more likely to be both effective and better supported by others. 

5. Emotional Self-Management

Also known as self-regulation, this is about managing your stress levels and your emotions so you can make the most of any situation. It also allows you to avoid being limited by negative emotions such as anger, frustration and depression, feel more optimistic and find innovative solutions even when the outlook appears bleak.

6. Positive Influence

Positive Influence allows you to support, encourage and motivate those around you by fostering a creative and positive environment. It allows you to help others find solutions to difficult emotional problems, overcome limitations, build bonds and encourage greater collaboration across the team.

Why does emotional intelligence matter in business?

Clearly, having a high degree of emotional intelligence can make a huge difference to your personal life. Your relationships are likely to be stronger, you’ll feel more confident and motivated and you will feel more resilient when life gets tough.

However, emotional intelligence is also a vital soft skill for success in the workplace that is said to be just as important as technical skills. “Workers with high EQ are better able to work in teams, adjust to change and be flexible,” says Entrepreneur.com, “No matter how many degrees or other on-paper qualifications a person has, if he or she doesn’t have certain emotional qualities, he or she is unlikely to succeed.”

After all, an individual’s ability to recognise and manage their emotions can affect everything from how they provide customer support, resolve conflict, handle high pressure situations, work as a team, handle criticism and approach challenges.

If an employee or a leader doesn’t have these essential soft skills to fall back on, they’re more likely to suffer from stress, their relationships with their colleagues can be strained and staff turnover is likely to increase.

Why is emotional intelligence even more important in the age of AI?

As we mentioned earlier, booming growth of the machine learning and AI industry means that emotional intelligence will become even more important over the coming years. If we want to make the most of these exciting technologies, we need to use our natural advantages. Namely, our ability to feel and be guided by our emotions.

Although great effort is being made to integrate a more human approach to AI by including features such as facial recognition and voice understanding, nothing can yet replace the complex emotional understanding of humans.

“Technology today has a lot of cognitive intelligence, or IQ, but no emotional intelligence, or EQ,” says AI expert Rana el Kaliouby in the UK Financial Times, “We are facing an empathy crisis.”

Human beings are still better at understanding emotions, persuading, influencing, empathy and social understanding. We’re still better at providing support for those around us, solving conflict and, of course, connecting in a meaningful way with others.

For these reasons, forward-thinking business cannot afford to ignore the key role that emotional intelligence will play in the workforce of tomorrow.

Nicolas Frasquet, vice president of US business Luxury Procurement, Coty Inc. reinforced this idea in a report from the CapGemini Research Institute; “I would say maybe 10% to 15% of the time would be for pure technical skills in the near future, and all the rest will be about emotional intelligence. This is because a lot of what we are doing will be automated, but teams generate value by engaging with the client.”

Summary

Emotional Intelligence is a key soft skill that can help improve business performance, increase workforce satisfaction and build happier, more motivated teams. By investing in these skills, you can give your company the competitive edge it needs to foster optimal future growth.


Lisa Evans helps professionals to develop the soft skills they need to succeed in the workplace. Lisa is a certified business coach and experienced and accredited trainer, and a professional speaker. Lisa is a GENOS Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, which means she is certified to deliver the GENOS range of Emotional Intelligence Workshops and Developmental Assessments.

She has coached over a thousand leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales, and not-for-profit and community associations.
If you’d like to chat about how Lisa can help your team excel with the right soft skills, please contact us.

Soft Skills Training Workshops include:

The Emotionally Intelligent Leader includes a GENOS 180° leadership assessment.
The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace
Executive Presence for Leaders
Public Speaking for Leaders
The Leader as Storyteller
Communicate with Influence
Improv Skills for Leaders