In a recent report, top human resources officers were asked to forecast the 10 job skills  they feel will be an absolute requirement by the year 2020.

Coming in at number six was emotional intelligence, which surprisingly landed above more cognitive skills like "judgment and decision-making" and "negotiation."

Emotional intelligence has garnered considerable press over the years as an important predictor of job success, surpassing technical ability.

In 2011, a CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals revealed that 71 percent valued emotional intelligence in an employee over a high IQ.

Understanding the key aspects of emotional intelligence genuinely modeled by your own colleagues or leaders is the first step to help your ability to defuse conflict and minimize your contribution to office drama. If you're curious, ask yourself whether you're known for displaying these behaviors at work, and whether you can learn from someone on your team who displays these behaviors.

1. You assess your situation to know what's stressing you out.

Do an honest self-appraisal of a situation that makes you feel threatened. What is it about this issue that makes you feel that way? What you'll find is that the most emotionally intelligent people process their thoughts carefully and drill down until they get to the root of the matter, going below the symptom level to reveal the core of what they're feeling. For example, if you're angry at something or someone, that may be a secondary emotion to something much deeper -- the primary emotion -- that remains unresolved from the recent or distant past. This may be the source of your festering anger and resentment. 

2. You're naturally positive and optimistic.

Emotionally intelligent people are positive thinkers who don't get caught up in things they can't control, like obsessing over political diatribes or the latest tragedy reported in the news. They put their energy and effort on the things within their power -- the things that matter most in life, like their relationships. Because they're naturally optimistic, studies have shown that they are physically and psychologically healthier than pessimists; they also perform better at work. 

3. You are well balanced.

Do you balance empathy and kindness with the capacity to assert yourself and set boundaries with others when needed? If you do, this ability is ideal for managing conflict. While it's important to display our most virtuous behaviors to develop and maintain healthy relationships, emotionally intelligent people do all that while drawing the line when others violate their values or mutual agreements. This necessary balance helps keep emotionally intelligent people away from unfiltered emotional reactions and enables them to counteract toxic people.

4. You manage your emotions better than most.

This falls under self-management (or self-regulation) in emotional intelligence and is a personal competence found in high performers. The question behind self-management is simple but rare: Can I manage my emotions to a positive outcome? Psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman says this about people who manage their emotions well:

Reasonable people--the ones who maintain control over their emotions--are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.

5. You display empathy.

People are drawn to empathy. It's an attractive quality to have in building successful relationships at work. In fact, DDI research has proved that empathy is the number one driver of overall organizational performance; it's the strength of high performing and collaborative teams that produce results. In empathy, you'll find a team member thinking about another colleague's challenge or frustration, knowing in his or her mind that those emotions are every bit as real as his or her own. This uncanny ability to understand and share the feelings of another helps develop perspective and opens team members to helping one another.

Published on: Dec 12, 2017