Last year, the World Economic Forum released its fascinating Future of Jobs Report, looking at the employment, skills, and work force strategy we should expect by 2020, as the Fourth Industrial Revolution goes into full swing.
But here's where it gets interesting: With the roles of advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning increasing, chief human resources officers from global companies were asked what they see as the top 10 job skills required for workers to thrive by 2020.
As you can see in the comparisons below, we will experience some notable shifts between skills required in 2015 versus 2020.
Creativity, for example, will become an even more valuable skill to have, jumping from No. 10 to No. 3 on the list. With new technologies forcing new ways of working, employees will need to become more creative to keep up with the changes.
Two newcomers on the 2020 list will be critical skills to have. One of them is cognitive flexibility. It makes sense, as superior customer service will demand agility, and be on-demand, personalized, and conversational.
But did you notice the other new skill appearing in 2020 that wasn't even around in 2015?
Emotional Intelligence as a Critical Job Skill
Like cognitive flexibility, in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, emotional intelligence (E.I.) demands that before you hastily dash into technological problem-solving, you pause to contemplate and explore the real needs of people from a human-centric angle.
According to E.I. expert and author Harvey Deutschendorf, "the realization that E.I. has become an important predictor of job success, even surpassing technical ability, has been growing over the past number of years."
Deutschendorf writes in Carrier Management that a 2011 CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,600 U.S. hiring managers and human resources professionals revealed:
- 71 percent valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ.
- 75 percent said they were more likely to promote a high E.I. worker.
- 59 percent claimed they would not hire someone with a high IQ if they had low E.I.
Companies are placing a high value on E.I. in new hires for several reasons that lead to competitive advantage. People with high E.I. understand and cooperate with others, they are exceptional listeners, are open to feedback, have more empathy, and make thoughtful and thorough decisions, says Deutschendorf.
How Do You Actually Practice Emotional Intelligence?
In my search to answer that question in a practical manner applicable to almost everyone, I referred to my go-to source on all things E.I.
Enter Six Seconds. They are the foremost emotional intelligence resource on the internet, and the world's largest network of emotional intelligence practitioners and researchers. They also aspire to a very ambitious goal: one billion people practicing the skills of emotional intelligence by 2039.
In a recent blog by Six Seconds CEO Joshua Freedman, he asked the company's worldwide network of certified practitioners this question: How would you recommend that people practice E.I.to be more intentional and less volatile?
Here are some of the best responses I found, edited for length.
1. Nehad Tadros: Pause. Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings. Clear your mind.
Acknowledging your emotions brings together the cognitive and the emotional, which research has shown to be a powerful way to lessen the intensity of an emotional reaction. After pausing and acknowledging, your mind will already feel much clearer.
2. Rita Haque: Ask yourself, "Do I feel expanded and open or contracted and small?"
When you feel compressed, breathing deeply into the belly can release muscles. Really breathe, and let your shoulders open and relax. As you fill up with air, the physiological expansion influences the mind and emotions as well, reducing stress and increasing openness. This helps us make more powerful, positive choices.
3. Sandeep Kelkar: Ask yourself the three questions of optimism.
Am I thinking that this is permanent? ("It will never get better.")
Am I feeling this is pervasive? ("It is changing everything.")
Am I giving up my power? ("There is nothing I can do.")
Then step back and become a detective and try to gather evidence for those views. If those thoughts are inaccurate, dispute them and choose realistic, accurate, positive thoughts.
4. Dawn Cook: Focus on what you can influence.
When you hit a setback, separate the parts of the situation you can control or influence from the parts you cannot. Focus on what you can influence, and notice how much more confident you feel about overcoming the setback.
5. Niloufer Aga: Take a six-second pause.
When you are frustrated or upset, before you say something harsh, take a six-second pause to quickly assess the costs and benefits of that action. When you apply consequential thinking, you make more careful choices that ultimately work to your advantage.
6. Joshua Freedman: Find something impossible to do and practice.
It sounds corny, but it's a profound mental switch. Just try saying, "I can't," and then "I can't yet" -- the emotional experience is dramatically different. The first is a wall. The second, a door.
7. Carolyn Meacher: Tap into compassion everywhere.
Engage in positive caring dialogue with the taxi driver, the dry-cleaning man, the grocery-bag packer, etc. Say good morning to passing people on the sidewalk. Ask meaningful questions. Really listen to the answers.
8. Beth Hammett: Take two.
Set aside two minutes--relax and breathe deeply. Then write down two solutions to your problem.
9. Dexter Valles: Share what you feel.
Create opportunities to informally share what you feel and ask for feelings feedback--in your teams as well as with clients. This can clear the air of any harbored darkness in the relationship.