Three Reasons Soft Skills Matter as Much as Smarts

May 1, 2018
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feedback-3239758_1920Soft skills are represented by a cluster of productive personality traits including leadership, self-awareness, communication skills and emotional intelligence. While all are important ingredients for professional success, EQ, or emotional intelligence is the focus of this article.

Essentially, while IQ or a person’s intellectual ability to manage ideas, knowledge and thoughts may get their foot in the door, their EQ—the ability to manage relationships with other people, is what may get them promoted. In fact, according to research by CareerBuilders, more than one-third of employers are emphasizing hiring and promoting people with emotional intelligence.

Here are three ways EQ is just as important as IQ in the workplace.

  1. Impacts relationships - Employees who lack emotional intelligence constrain relationships with colleagues and managers because of their inability to empathize and build relationships. Employees with high EQ are adept at applying Dale Carnegie’s 17th Human Relations principle, ‘Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view,’ which enables them to effectively navigate interpersonal dynamics with colleagues, clients, partners, etc. For example, instead of reacting aggressively when feeling hurt after hearing something someone said, high EQ employees diffuse the disagreement by simply allowing the other person to speak their mind, and then focusing on agreeable areas to find common ground. This enables emotionally intelligent people to retain strong relationships instead of breaking bonds.
  2. Influences career trajectories - People who lack EQ are more inclined to mishandle disagreements because they often misinterpret others’ verbal and non-verbal communication. They are so focused on their own feelings, agenda, opinions and preferred outcome, that they don’t apply Mr. Carnegie’s principles such as #11, ‘Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say, “you’re wrong,”’ and #18, ‘Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.’ The likely result is a blow-up and broken relationships, which makes it nearly impossible for the person lacking EQ to ever promote, even though they may have a high IQ.
    Only employees that have both the IQ to make sound judgements and the EQ to nurture relationships around them are likely candidates for promotion. If one of your goals is to promote to the next level, it would behoove you to check out a Dale Carnegie course in which you would learn emotionally intelligent tactics.
  3. Affects mental and physical health – Without strong emotional intelligence, emotions cannot be properly managed which usually results in uncontrolled stress. The negative impacts to the human body include high blood pressure, weak immune system, increased risks of heart attacks and even infertility. In terms of mental health, the effects vary from completely losing passion for one’s work to becoming depressed, which when unchecked, leads to anxiety. In fact, World Health Organization (WHO)research reveals that 350 million people worldwide suffer from varying forms of depression. Fortunately, human relations strategies, such as Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principles, have been shown to positively impact mental health, confidence and relationships.
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