In recent years, businesses have come to realize that “being smart”, or having a high IQ does not seem to be enough to succeed in demanding and ever-changing work environments. Sitting at your desk analyzing figures or coding may be one part of your job, but, nowadays, it is only a small fraction of it. Most projects are developed in teams, and each employee has to deal with their own colleagues, clients, and sometimes suppliers. Being able to “read” emotions and reactions is definitely a crucial asset when it comes to modern work.
But, what is this “reading” of emotions and reactions all about? Well, it is one of the things we think about when we talk about Emotional Intelligence (EI). Emotional Intelligence is usually divided into 5 categories: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation, and social skills. More and more companies are beginning to include EI among the elements they look for in new employees.
One may wonder, however, in which contexts can EI make a difference. In every company, there are daily situations that require a bit more than technical knowledge in order to be solved. In IT companies, especially, project leaders need to have the right emotional skills in order to move their team forward, helping them deal with the difficulties of the daily work, the contact with the client (and their demands), and teamwork, which is absolutely enriching but also brings about its own challenges.
What are some of the most remarkable EI skills that could be helpful at work? Empathy, for instance, is one of the traits that is most looked for: someone who can put themselves in the other person’s shoes, being able to consider several points of view and ready to change their mind if necessary. Flexibility is another key characteristic. Being able to adapt to fast-moving scenarios, and making last-minute changes can be really helpful when working on IT projects.
At work, things do not always go as planned, so perseverance and optimism can also be quite helpful, especially for team leaders and managers. People who do not “faint in the face of adversity” are always valuable members of a team, since they can bring their positivity and encourage their colleagues to keep going, even if things are not going as expected at that time. It has been proved that perseverance leads to success, and this is also true for work projects. Finally, people with great EI will be the ones always willing to motivate others, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and helping them reach their full potential.
In Virtualmind, we make sure that Emotional Intelligence is part of our core, as one of the essential traits that all our collaborators share. During the recruiting process of every candidate, we analyze their emotional strengths as much as their technical skills. For us, both things are equally important. We believe that being able to empathize with others, remain calm and optimistic, and adapt to changing circumstances, especially having remote teams all over Latin America, are highly valuable skills that can help us succeed in all our projects, being one of the reasons why clients choose us to join them for the long-term in their software development journey. We understand and value the complexity of balancing personal and professional life, and empathy is key to that.