All the data suggesting that coding is rapidly becoming an essential skill for any job–not just one in tech–only tells one side of the story.
The other side indicates that soft skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, attention to detail, and writing proficiency top the list of what hiring managers find missing from job seekers’ personal tool kits. But according to theWorld Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, one the job skills that will make a candidate competitive in the job market of the future is emotional intelligence. The WEF predicts it will be among the top ten in 2020.
How emotionally intelligent are you now? There are several ways to test it (including one that’s so accurate it’s creepy). The good news is that even if you’re a bit deficient on some traits, emotional intelligence can be improved. Here are some suggestions on boosting your EQ right away.
Improve Your Listening Skills
Most people are by nature bad listeners. People spend 60% of their conversations talking about themselves, according to the Harvard University Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. And when others are talking, we’re busy trying to craft a response so that we’re not really listening.
Learning to be a better listener is a matter of doing a few simple things. One is simply to take a pause after the person is done speaking and then think of a response. Another is to paraphrase what you think you heard to make sure you are really paying attention.
Read more: Six Habits Of Good Listeners
Manage Stress More Effectively
It’s tough not to blow your stack when annoying coworkers or a demanding boss are getting on your last nerve. But emotionally intelligent people understand that it’s important to de-escalate anxiety whenever possible.
You can do this by relinquishing some control and admitting you need some extra help. There are no brownie points for heroic handling of projects if it causes you to burn out. Keeping a cool head while critical mass is being reached will get you noticed and may put you in line for a promotion.
Give Good Feedback
Emotionally intelligent people are excellent communicators and giving quality feedback is part of that skill–even if it’s negative.
Checking yourself before you start spouting any specious commentary can increase the chance that your feedback will be most constructive. For that, it helps to channel the words of 13th century mystic Sufi who wrote: “Before you speak, let your words pass through these three gates: At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it kind?'”
If your suggestion doesn’t check all those boxes, best to keep it to yourself until you’ve had some more time to process.
Evaluate Your Empathy
An empath is aware of others’ feelings and takes them into consideration when they’re working with them. It doesn’t mean they’re a pushover who lets others do as they will in order to be well-liked. They just know how their words and actions will affect individuals and teams.
Becoming more empathetic starts with being curious about where other people are coming from. You can also try putting yourself in a colleague’s shoes, especially if they are angry or upset. Try to understand their motivations, even if you don’t agree. And share your own thoughts and feelings. Nothing builds trust faster than being open yourself.
Read more: 5 Ways To Increase Your Own Empathy
If you’re able to show that you can manage your emotions (especially when everyone else is losing their cool), collaborate with a variety of people, listen well, and offer constructive feedback, you’ll be way ahead of the curve come annual review time. And you may even find an open path to your dream job in the coming years.