Emotional intelligence is no longer a ‘nice to have’ in the workplace, but a ‘must have’ to be effective in the modern workplace.
Today’s post is by Asha Tarry.
Emotional intelligence skills are those important soft skills that are now reaching the desk of more and more leaders. It used to be targeted as a set of skills that belonged to customer-driven and service industries. However, we are learning there are people who are inept at having those important, emotional, human skills which connect people and build strong teams. That is why emotional intelligence is now being considered an important asset for employees.
We need to reevaluate how we review resumes. It matters that employees have a good grip on soft skills. For example, being an effective communicator, and being able to adapt to the different styles in which people work, should become required skills. Most people want to avoid certain emotions at work, but that is where they spend most of their time. That is why emotional intelligence should not be limited to helping just customer-driven industries or education workers.
We can learn how to make emotional intelligence more relevant and important from people who have been overlooked for being too sensitive, or from people who are more concerned about building a peaceful work environment. They can teach us how to build leadership by creating different levels of management—with employers who are able to understand how people communicate and can bridge gaps between departments who work independently within the same corporation. This would be extremely helpful for the influx of newly graduated prospective employees, or those who are pivoting their careers.
We need to look for people who have certain characteristics that would allow for employees to stay at their job because they feel happier and part of something that is changing and benefitting them. This is a way to motivate people to stay longer at their companies. Millennials tend to change jobs more often than the generations before them. This is why we need to be able to develop quality professionals with strong resumes, and for that, we need them to stay at a job longer than two years. If they hit a ceiling, or if there is limited mentorship, we are going to have all these broken parts between what employees are good at and how to build the skills they lack. These are opportunities for mentors and sponsors to help, guide, and lead stronger teams of people into wanting to stay with a company by forming a company that wants to invest in their employees and see them grow.
I counsel and coach millennials, and the gaps I have seen in their skills are not due to a lack of intelligence, or to a lack of technical training from college. They miss those emotional cues that are valuable— like, not taking things personally from their bosses, knowing how to initiate conversations that are not so black or white, or involving themselves in an all-or-nothing manner. If they had more time with mentors and leaders, they would see more opportunities opening for them to occupy leadership positions earlier in their careers.
This skill is something people can learn. There are ways for people to learn how to become more emotionally intelligent, starting with providing leadership training on the job and tuition-reimbursement for completed coursework in this area.
Emotional intelligence is extremely valuable, and it will become a relevant asset in the next wave of employees and what employers will be looking for. Ultimately, it is going to make people feel more important in the work they do and the places they work for. They will feel respected, appreciated, and regarded for the additional skills they bring to the table—especially those which may have been overlooked in the past.
Asha Tarry is an author, an award-winning community mental health advocate, psychotherapist, and certified life coach. Tarry is the founder of Behavioral Health Consulting Services LMSW, PLLC which provides consulting, counseling, and coaching to creatives and small business owners in the wellness and entertainment industries and educational sector. As a treating provider, Tarry has 20 years of experience providing evaluations, diagnoses, treatment, and life-enhancing skills to children, adults, families, and couples.
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