5 Workplace Skills That Are More Important Than Professionalism

In the future, when information and knowledge become available to everyone and robots begin to replace humans at work, the question is – what will the workplace look like? Many believe that robots represent the future workforce and it is just a matter of time when technology will replace a lot of jobs. If that is to happen, then what will be your most valuable skill at work?

I asked Soulaima Gourani, a lecturer, corporate counselor, and author, to share her insights about the future of work and what skills will be needed. Gourani believes that emotional intelligence will become the most powerful asset in professional settings.

She states, “If you want to be competent in the future, it is not your education, business skills, or expertise that make you valuable at work. What you need to develop are soft-skills, such as empathy, ability to work with others, and integrity.”

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will be one of the most valuable skills you could have in the future because people with good emotional skills can make a positive working atmosphere. Studies, show that a that positive environment can boost workplace creativity and productivity. When you feel safe, you are willing to take risks.

According to Soulaima Gourani, these are the five key traits in people with a high EQ.

1 – They are self-aware.

If you intend to become successful, you must be able to get things done and that sometimes requires help from other people. To get others to “want” to help you requires that you understand yourself, your behaviors, and how they affect others. That combined with the ability to collaborate, motivate, and communicate with other people is the key to building trust in others, and that is how you achieve success in life. People who are self-aware, don’t tend to micro-manage others, are good listeners, and don’t always place the blame on others.

2 – They can connect with others.

Many less-educated and “self-made” people do far better in life than you might expect despite the fact that their traditional intelligence (IQ) may be average or even below average. How so? They can arouse confidence in others and can get others to agree with them. They can sell a good idea and get people to support them, their ideas, and their suggestions.

There is no correlation between how smart people are and how successful they can become. It is in your ability to connect with others. And the good news is you can train yourself to “relate to others.” I believe that people who focus significant effort on “social investments in and for others,” in addition to their main activities, seem to be both more successful in their chosen work and more fulfilled in their lives. You don’t need to know a lot of people, just the right people. These people have mastered the ability to connect with others.

3 – They embrace change.

Embrace changes, write new rules, and learn to spot trends. Don’t be taken by surprise. Learn about all the choices you can make today that will change the way you move through life as a working and ambitious woman, for the better. You must continually develop yourself—there is no finish line.

Working to enhance your EQ is a lifelong process without a finish line. All of the people that you will encounter during your career are as individual as you are. Because you will be faced with working with a variety of personalities constantly develop your EQ. Prepare yourself for a lifelong marathon by developing the following:

  • Your social skills
  • Your positive attitude toward other people
  • Your comfort zone expansion
  • Your healthy attitude toward yourself
  • Your effective approach to life
  • Your mental health
  • Your ability to understand and handle your fears

4 – They embrace and encourage diversity in the workplace.

In many organizations – even if you are a freelancer – you have to work in teams. There is still much ignorance on how to attract, retain, and develop employees of different generations, races, educational backgrounds, etc. We still tend to employ people we like and talent we understand.

Diversity and generational understanding are crucial to innovation and to understanding ourselves better. They teach and remind us of multiple identities, truths, and individuals’ emotions. It may not make your life easy or comfortable, but it is healthy for you. Dealing with conflict and spending time with people we don’t look or feel like, is the best personal development path in the world. You grow from constructive conflicts. Innovation and personal growth happen in that gray-zone and will place enormous demands on your overall EQ.

5 – They are open and embrace critical feedback.

The key to success is openness, trust, confidentiality, and honest and nonjudgmental feedback from people who care. People often tell you what you want to know. Real friends are the ones who tell you stuff you need to know. Once they do, you have to embrace it. A lot of people does not readily receive critical feedback.

High EQ includes in a reflection and feedback loop: Reflection & Feedback -> Self-Compassion->Self-Acceptance-> Self-actualization and back to Reflection & Feedback. Feedback is an essential component of change. You have blind spots. And if “you’ve got broccoli in your teeth…” you need people to tell you!


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