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No matter what job you do, it will look different in the next 10 years thanks to advances in technology such as artificial intelligence and automation.

The latest predictions are that automation will affect the jobs of 6.5 million Australians. The question we should all be asking ourselves is, how do I make sure I’m not one of those adversely affected?

The key is to upskill and start building a high level of competence at things computers and technology can’t do.

This idea is supported by the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs report that predicts the six most in-demand skills in 2020 will be emotional intelligence, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and people skills.


The Growing Importance of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

We used to think that people with the highest IQs and excellent technical or professional skills were the most productive and valuable at work, and there was probably a time when this was true. That was the time when you completed many of your tasks alone, so it was completely up to you and your skill. Under these conditions, IQ was a great benchmark for quality work.

Businesses today are realising the importance of hiring people with a high EQ.

This not at the expense of a good IQ. However, we are realising that a person with a good IQ and an excellent EQ will be more valuable to your business than a person with an excellent IQ and only average EQ.

The rise in importance of EQ and decrease in the criticality of high IQ is due both to the increase in the amount of work we now do in teams rather than individually and also because automation and AI is often now able to complete the technical tasks faster and more accurately than a person.


Personal Competence

Research shows that in the modern workforce, we do over 80% of our work in teams. This necessitates the ability to work well with other people, people who are often diverse in their thinking, their skills and their personalities.

Most of us perform very well under certain conditions and when working with certain people. People with high EQ perform very well in ALL conditions and with ALL people.

Those with a high EQ are not ‘so lucky’ that they always work in good conditions and with positive, high-performing people. In fact, they too must sometimes work under pressure, in less than ideal conditions and with people they find it difficult to communicate and collaborate with.

The difference is that they make no excuses. They are aware of their emotions, they know the impact these can have on the quality of work and relationships if they don’t manage them well. They choose to manage them well, even under significant pressure or provocation.

Most of us are aware of our emotions, but when we don’t control them well we tend to excuse our behaviour. We tell ourselves ‘well, they forced me to react’ or ‘how far can you be pushed before you, understandably, lose it?’ or ‘I’m only human, some days I’m just not my best’.

Those with high EQ don’t make these excuses. They are aware of their emotions and control them, even when it is very difficult. They can focus on getting the outcome they want, and ensure that their conversations and the control of their emotions help them to do this.

This ability to be aware of your emotions and then to control them, even when it is difficult, is the personal competence component of EQ.


Social Competence

The second component of EQ is social competence. It is the more difficult component of EQ because it involves recognising and managing other people’s emotions.

It is that ability to pick up on the mood in the room and to hear what the other person is ‘really saying’. Both of these require you to let go of your agenda for that moment and become the observer.

It is not only noticing that a person is frustrated or disappointed or ‘emotional’, it is also responding to that situation appropriately. This means adapting your style, asking appropriate questions, choosing to say things that will most likely lead to a positive outcome.

It also means not accusing the other person or saying how frustrated or angry you feel, which may at times feel justified, but will very likely not lead to a positive outcome.

Both positive and outcome are important here. Social competence is not simply recognising a person’s negative emotions, just accepting these and doing ‘workarounds’. It is getting the outcome but choosing a different pathway to get that outcome, so that the person stays ‘on board’.

This ability to work well with others, even when they have very different personalities and styles to your own, to handle different views and conflict effectively are indicators of a high EQ.


Hiring For ‘People Skills’

While some people naturally have a higher EQ, it is a skill and as such can be learned.

As an employer be very mindful to assess and interview for a person’s people skills, including EQ. Don’t let their qualifications and achievements carry more weight than they should in the modern and competitive workplace where those technical skills are being rapidly taken over by automation and AI.

Be certain to assess their ability to communicate with others, to build relationships with colleagues and with clients. These skills are increasingly critical to the success of your business.

EQ can be learned, and to future-proof your career you would be very wise to invest in doing just that.

Improving your EQ will prove challenging, it will also be enormously rewarding in terms of your career. It will impact your day-to-day results too, increasing your sense of achievement and decreasing your levels of frustration and stress.

Ask people you respect and trust to give you advice on how you could improve the way you manage your own emotions, and how you respond to other people when they are negative, accusatory or withdrawn.


To LEARN MORE about increasing Emotional Intelligence, contact World Class Teams on 1300 085 248 or email