The face of the workplace continues to rapidly evolve thanks to digitalization, globalization and the increasing speed at which we can now interact and do business. Additionally, workplaces are still grappling with the unprecedented changes brought about by the sudden onset of a global pandemic and a rush to work from home, followed two years later by the need to redefine normal, whether that be a full return to the workplace or some hybrid arrangement.
As always, change gives rise to the need for different skills and approaches to succeed in the workplace. It’s no secret that many jobs have been automated and that digital technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) are having a huge impact on the job market. However, many have argued that human skills are more important than ever, and we couldn’t agree more. Deloitte, for example, suggests that such technologies complement human skills and that it’s essential to embrace and develop skills such as collaboration, curiosity, creativity and communication.
The challenge lies in teaching such skills. Those hoping to stay current, retool, or hone existing skills should be pleased to hear that emotional intelligence (EI) is teachable and can positively influence job satisfaction, thus improving productivity and overall well-being.
Training and coaching that begins with emotional intelligence as the foundation and uses blended learning to provide a highly personal experience can yield positive results. Programs that use a combination of face-to-face, self-led study group training and assessment can help learners engage in meaningful personal development that can positively influence their relationships and personal and professional success. Using many approaches provides learners with a variety of options that suit different learning preferences and styles and can also provide convenience in terms of access and delivery.
Personal development works best when learners have insight into their own emotions (often gained through assessment), given that thoughts lead to emotions, and emotions lead to action. Training and leadership programs built on the foundation of EI can help develop the capacity in individuals to better perceive emotions, recognize them in others and to express and manage themselves in a way that promotes interpersonal relationships built on trust. Furthermore, awareness of emotions can improve decision making and resilience.
What’s interesting about emotional intelligence as opposed to academic intelligence (as measured by a standard IQ assessment), is that individuals can enhance EI through coaching, training and mindfulness, whereas IQ remains relatively unchanged over time. This is important when it comes to coaching and training. For example, an emerging leader whose empathy is underdeveloped can work with the coach or trainer to enhance that skill, which will positively affect their leadership.
Learners can build skills by enhancing emotional intelligence with a focus on developing communication, collaboration, problem solving, decision making and much more! Combing on-site and online courses, mixing training programs to include group and individual activities, and providing self-paced and instructor-led options are good mixes to ensure all learners can try different options and find their preference. Courses designed to sharpen essential skills are also geared to target leadership and group development.
Learning materials that are science-based and scaffolded will ensure that learners can build on their emotional intelligence gradually, putting lessons to the test and gradually making the changes they need before developing higher-order skills.
To supplement assessments and training, coaching can give individuals and groups the personalized boost needed to reach a deeper level of development. While training provides knowledge and techniques to develop skills, coaching provides that safe and trusted environment to evaluate challenges and barriers related to thoughts and emotions. Coaching enables individuals to explore solutions that are deeply personal and more likely to be productive and long-lasting.
Why It Works
Using a blended approach to training and personal development is a highly successful for many reasons. First, learners have the flexibility to focus on what matters most to them and to hone skills that are relevant to their unique context. They engage deeply in the learning materials from their individual perspective making the programming uniquely personal and experiential.
Second, learning materials are scaffolded, thus helping learners to gradually build on strengths and observe the benefits of change as they unfold. Understanding one’s emotional profile and honing personal skills starts to have benefits than can feed into a stronger leadership presence or actions that better support a team, for example.
Finally, learning is transferable not just between positions and employment levels but both personally, given that we are all emotional beings.