EQ Is the Skill You Need in 2020—Here’s How to Improve It

February 3, 2020

EQ Is the Skill You Need in 2020—Here’s How to Improve It

Emotional intelligence is one of the most in-demand skills in 2020. That means people with emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, are getting hired and promoted at a faster rate than others, according to data recently surfaced from LinkedIn’s network of over 660+ million professionals and 20+ million jobs. 

So, what is emotional intelligence and why is it so important to hiring managers today?

We asked Gemma Leigh Roberts, organizational psychologist, executive coach, and LinkedIn Learning instructor, to explain EQ and offer three ways to cultivate the highly coveted skill. 

What is emotional intelligence and why is it so important in the workplace today?

Emotional intelligence is twofold:

  1. Understanding your own emotions—what you feel and why you feel that way, and managing those emotions in different situations; and 

  2. Understanding the emotions of others—and being empathetic to other people's perspectives. 

When your EQ is strong, you have the ability to leverage the information that you've interpreted to build strong relationships with others, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Emotional intelligence has become more essential in the workplace because we’ve become more collaborative. The data tells us that while skills like ‘time management’ are critical to our success at work, employers are looking for talent who has excellent interpersonal and people-oriented skills. 

Think about it: if you go through a period of change, whether that’s being hired in a new role or working with new partners, you need to be able to build new and effective connections quickly. In challenging situations, you need to have open and honest conversations. In customer-facing roles like sales or customer success, you need to build strong relationships with your clients and customers so you can sell them a really great solution.

The more emotionally intelligent you are, the more likely you are to foster relationships you need to be successful in the workplace. 

3 Ways to Develop Emotional Intelligence

    1. Practice self-awareness

The first step to cultivating emotional intelligence is practicing self-awareness. The best way to do this is to create opportunities for yourself to reflect on a regular basis. Schedule time to meditate or write in a journal. Maybe you carve out time in the morning, before work, or debrief with yourself when you come home in the evening. What emotions are you experiencing in that moment? How did your emotions impact your behavior or relationships?

    2. Get feedback

Reflection can only get you so far. If you are serious about taking your EQ to the next level, ask trusted friends, colleagues, or family about how you come across in social situations. 

Notice if the constructive feedback is something you want to push back on or reject. Try not to go into defensive mode. Rather, look at the feedback as an opportunity to understand the other person’s perspective, and consider how your emotions may influence how you react, so you can shift how you respond in future situations.

    3. Focus on your breath 

One of the best ways to develop your emotional intelligence is to learn to focus on your breath.  This will allow you to step back from the emotion, see it for what it is, and decide how you want to respond. Do this and you will tap into a more grounded and emotionally intelligent you in tricky situations. 

Discover the 15 most in-demand skills in the global workforce in 2020 and check out the courses below to continue to develop your emotional intelligence: 

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