Develop Your Soft Skills As a Pathway to Success

Develop Your Soft Skills As a Pathway to Success

In the 1970s, Harvard PhD and New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman coined the term “emotional intelligence” (EI or EQ) to describe the interpersonal and communication skills that underscore human relations. Unlike the intelligence quotient (IQ) which measures cognitive ability as a discrete number on a scale, EQ is more nuanced, covering 25 different abilities in two major classifications: personal competence and social competence.

Goleman’s research discovered that C-level executives are hired for intelligence and experience but are fired for their lack of people skills. Further, Goleman found that up to 90% of top executives’ success is attributable to the skillful handling of relationships with other people. Knowing how to work well with others is a more accurate predictor of success than being smart and capable.

The traditional picture of an effective leader is hard charging, decisive and directive, a definition which attributes business success to an individual, while research clearly demonstrates that the most successful leaders marshal the diverse talents of a team. It is also widely believed that IQ is fixed, while EQ can be learned. In light of this, it is curious that “soft skills” have a connotation of weakness, while a hardline approach is thought to achieve results.

However, having well-developed “soft skills” does not mean being agreeable, compliant, or backing down. People with a high level of EQ are able to maintain and articulate their own ideas and standards, while effectively communicating with others. It is a dance of maintaining principles while being flexible, an art unto itself. This delicate balance between the hard and soft skills brings to mind a quote attributed to Confucius: “The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.”

It seems logical that it is not just C-level executives who can increase effectiveness with soft skills. Strong EQ skills could also enhance the relationships of anyone who works with other people. (Which is…everyone.) For example, sometimes an entrepreneur must interact with employees of a hiring company to deliver a product. Capturing the ideas of the employees, combining them with the expertise of the entrepreneur, and delivering a product on time and on budget can be a communications headache. Mismanage that relationship, and next time, a competitor may get hired for the job.

Whether you work for a big company or for yourself, incorporating EQ into business relationships requires more time, effort and practice than a traditional directive approach. The benefits, though, are clear as a well-functioning team delivers results greater than the sum of the talents of each individual. Working to develop your EQ will make you stand out, regardless of where you work.

Ready to increase your effectiveness by mastering EQ? Here are five things you can do to start:

  1. Spend an hour defining your principles and standards.
  2. Clearly articulate standards to teammates, clients and customers.
  3. Consistently reinforce your standard by behaving to your standard.
  4. Develop top notch listening skills.
  5. Learn about the 25 EQ competencies. Think about which you excel in and which could use practice. Put together a plan to explore one of the behaviors.

Developing the complex set of “soft skills” encompassed by the term EQ is a lifelong pursuit, a journey to a destination never to be reached. The ingenious person with a desire to have effective and satisfying relationships will make it a point to incorporate soft skills into their everyday life.

Related content:
Are You Lost In Transition? Three Stages
The Power of Transformation
What Kind of Under Stress Boss Are You?

RELATED POSTS

3 Takeaways to Avoid Typical Hiring Mistakes

3 Takeaways to Avoid Typical Hiring Mistakes

New hire refresher course Editor's note: this is part one of a two part series. Recently, I helped a start-up client with the screening and interviewing process for a new hire. It was exciting for my client to be able to allocate for an additional staff member and at...

Discovering Balance and Bliss: Embracing Yoga

Discovering Balance and Bliss: Embracing Yoga

With Yoga as a steadfast companion, the pursuit of balance, bliss, and well-being becomes an invigorating and enriching voyage Finding moments of tranquility and inner harmony is a precious gift. Enter yoga – an ancient practice that extends far beyond the realms of...

Video Gallery

Johanna Godinez Latin Biz Today partner, International Yoga Day: Celebrating Unity and Wellness on June 21st
Modern version of Stoic philosopher Epictetus
A professional leads a cybersecurity training session for employees, emphasizing best practices. The photography captures the engagement of participants, showcasing the educational aspect of safeguard
Hispanic bearded male businessman trainer teaching coaching new recruitment African American female businesswoman employee in formal suit sitting studying learning company graph chart strategy
The presence of a robot using a computer. Office keyboard being typed on by machine. future IT group,.
Latino Streetwear Entrepreneur Latin Biz Today
Chef Lorena Garcia cooking with a wok
Latina Chef Loren Garcia

Polls

Which item currently represents the greatest hurdle in the growth of your business?(Required)

Sign Up for the Latin Biz Today Newsletter

PR Newswire

Featured Authors

Innovation & Strategy

Money

Four Basic Principles for Raising Capital

Four Basic Principles for Raising Capital

Outside investors want to understand a business' strategy as well as its financial statements.   The need to raise capital from outside investors requires a great deal of preparation across multiple dimensions. Among many things, investors look to understand...

Talent/HR

Legal

Marketing

Culture

Fashion

Food

Music

Sports

Work & Life

Mindfulness

Health & Fitness

Travel & Destinations

Personal Blogs

Pin It on Pinterest