You graduated with honours, have more practical experience than anyone you know, and you’re still having trouble landing the position you want. Could it be your interpersonal abilities that are working against you? Many job-seekers remain blissfully unaware that it’s not always the education or the hard skills they lack, it’s those pesky interactive aptitudes.
Let’s look at the reality of today’s employment environment. Key findings in the Australian government’s 2016 report on the IT labour market confirm that employers are emphasising the importance of interpersonal and communication skills. The document went on to note that candidates who lack these soft skills are far more likely to have difficulty being placed. Enter the importance of emotional intelligence – also known as EI or EQ – in the workplace.
What is EQ?
EQ is more than just a fancy corporate buzzword. It’s the ability to recognize, manage, and express emotions effectively for better, more productive communication. And company cultures that are looking to reap the many benefits of an EQ-driven workplace want candidates who demonstrate:
· Social awareness, and
· Relationship management abilities
Even Prime Minister Turnbull has acknowledged that emotional intelligence is THE key asset within a leadership role.
So where does that leave the rest of us? Are those who lack responsiveness and flexibility in their interactions with others just plain out-of-luck in today’s professional landscape?
Not at all. While it’s true that some people are more naturally inclined toward emotional intelligence, it’s definitely a skill set that can be acquired and developed with practice. All it takes is the right motivation.
Why Do I Need it?
If you need incentive to work on your EI abilities, consider this. TalentSmart – a leading global provider of EQ training that serves more than three-quarters of all Fortune 500 companies – has revealed some eye-popping statistics:
· emotional intelligence is the strongest of all performance predictors, explaining a full 58% of success in all job types
· 90% of top performers rank high in EQ
· those with a high level of emotional intelligence command a significantly higher annual salary – equivalent to about $38,000 dollars in the Australian workplace
And these findings apply to workers in all industries, at all levels, in every region of the world.
Regardless of your career goals, learning to be more emotionally intelligent will serve you well. Today’s trend is toward recruiting well-rounded candidates who are quick to adapt, and who can be relied on to contribute meaningfully within a team-based environment. If this doesn’t describe you, it might be time to consider working on that.