Key Performance Skills to Master in 2020

Should Hard Skills Get All the Credit?

If IQ is your super power, it’s time to grow your EI strength.

When the goal is achieving business objectives, managers tend to place a higher premium on “hard” skills vs. “soft” skills at work. Some of the trendier hard skills valued in business today include:

  • cloud computing
  • analytical reasoning
  • artificial intelligence
  • business analysis
  • affiliate marketing
  • sales
  • IT & computing
  • video production

Yet, consider the consequences if a business analyst, IT guru or sales associate is unable to control their emotions, manage feedback and  contribute as a valuable team player, performance and business goals suffer. Forward-thinking leaders place a premium on both soft and hard skills – a balanced blend of IQ & EI.

EI – Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control and express our emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

EI tends to be regarded as an important but soft business skill. EI allows us to navigate more effectively socially, and it informs our capacity for empathy, reasoning, stress management, self-awareness, self-regulation, conflict resolution, communication and the superpower of superpowers-courage. EI also enhances our ability to collaborate – to work effectively within teams and cross-functionally in organizations.

It’s IQ complemented by EI that enhances performance, productivity and overall engagement levels at work and in life. Great leaders work on mastering both the hard and the soft skills for achieving higher levels of performance. If EI tops the soft skills list, here are few other soft skills every leader needs to master as well:

  • creativity
  • persuasion
  • collaboration
  • adaptability
  • courage

Brilliance in not enough to succeed as a leader in 2020 and beyond. If IQ is your superpower, it’s time to acquire some EI strength to pave the way for improved performance at work and more enrichment in life.

What can you do to grow your EI and build on your soft skills?

  • Evaluate yourself according to the list above. What soft skills should you improve?
  • Do you ever feel yourself losing control of your emotions? If so, practice the art of the PAUSE…breath and think before you speak and/or push “send.”
  • Be vulnerable – ask for specific feedback from a few respected colleagues; reflect on its merit and use it to redirect your behavior moving forward.
  • Practice empathy – when someone is frustrated, stressed or emotional for any reason, try to imagine what they might be thinking or feeling BEFORE you jump in with your own story.
  • Grow your network. Look for hard and soft skill gaps. If there is someone in your network who has mastered the skill you’d like to grow, get to know them and how they developed their skills.