One of our recent guest speakers at Praesta, Judith Glaser, author of Conversational Intelligence, recently tweeted a link to a Washington Post article on what Google have discovered about their most successful hires.
“Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard.”
Of course, the workplace needs people with good technical skills, but the evidence from Google indicates that it is not the only ingredient:
“STEM skills are vital to the world we live in today, but technology alone, as Steve Jobs famously insisted, is not enough. We desperately need the expertise of those who are educated to the human, cultural, and social as well as the computational.
No student should be prevented from majoring in an area they love based on a false idea of what they need to succeed. Broad learning skills are the key to long-term, satisfying, productive careers. What helps you thrive in a changing world isn’t rocket science. It may just well be social science, and, yes, even the humanities and the arts that contribute to making you not just workforce ready but world ready”
Research into the idea of emotional intelligence goes back to the 1940’s, to David Weschler’s concept of “nonintellective aspects of general intelligence”. This was further built on in 1960 by Mayer and Salovy in their work on “emotional aspects of intelligence” and then popularised in 1995 by Daniel Goleman in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence where his research into star performers demonstrated that emotional competence is twice as important as purely cognitive abilities. Academic abilities are assumed, but personal qualities such as empathy, self-control, and adaptability are the key differentiators in successful leadership.
Isn’t it interesting that in an ever-increasing digital world, the ability to engage, listen and relate is more important than ever? The good news is that emotional intelligence can be assessed and developed; there is no magic bullet, but executive coaching can provide the necessary insight, challenge and support to help individuals and teams enhance their emotional competence and thereby help navigate the fluid and complex world of work in the 21st century more effectively.
Daniel Goleman: “Working with Emotional Intelligence”