"There's more empirical data coming out all the time to show
that such skills as listening and building consensus really do
affect the bottom line." -Hendrie Weisenger, The Power of
In the past, when companies stuck to strict hierarchies, it
wasn't so important to have soft skills-the skills that let us
interact with other people, such as listening, negotiating, and
developing relationships. But now that VPs and interns take
lunch together, and staff members and managers work
side-by-side, soft skills are becoming essential to the success
of businesses. Employees must be able to work as part of a
team, find and communicate solutions, and be effective
What's Your EQ?
Not until recently was there evidence that soft skills
actually make a difference in companies' performances.
Emotion intelligence-a person's ability to manage him or
herself and relate to other people-is at the center of this
new research. In 1995, Daniel Goleman published a best seller
that shows that emotional intelligence (or "EQ") matters
twice as much as IQ or technical skills in job success.
Goleman explains that emotions influence our behavior in all
situations, including professional ones. According to his
research, corporations that seek MBAs look first for three
qualifications: communication skills, interpersonal skills,
A study of nearly 500 organizations worldwide found that the
people who scored highest on emotional intelligence
evaluations rose to the tops of their companies. These star
employees were more outgoing and self-confident than
employees who received less favorable performance reviews.
Add EQ to Your Resume
While you're stuck with your IQ, which is fixed at birth,
experts say that the skills that contribute to your EQ can be
developed through practice. These findings have persuaded
many companies to train their employees in soft
skills-through courses that focus on trust, empathy,
adaptability, and self control-in addition to the usual
What does this mean for you? If you are able to express
yourself effectively, you are more likely to excel in your
job than the person who doesn't listen carefully, engage in a
discussion, ask intelligent questions or, in short,
demonstrate his soft skills.
Getting In Touch With Your emotions
There are different models of emotional intelligence, most
of them a combination of abilities that let a person manage
his or her emotions as well as respond to the emotions of
others. One model distinguishes the following four elements:
Self-awareness: Are you emotionally self-aware? Can you
assess your own skills without over- or under-valuing your
abilities? Are you self-confident?
Self-management: Do you have self-control? Are you
trustworthy? Conscientious? Flexible? Do you have
initiative? Are you goal-oriented?
Social skills: Do you have leadership capabilities? Are you
a good communicator? Can you manage conflict? Build social
bonds? Contribute to a team? Cooperate?
Social awareness: Are you empathetic? Do you try to develop
the skills and contributions of other team member? Are you