While an employee's interpersonal skills have always been important to companies, they will be absolutely essential in the future. Why? Many functions — particularly those that can be broken down into repetitive steps — may be automated over the next 15 years. Yet technology will still lack a personal touch. As a result, a premium will be placed on workers who are socially adept, empathetic, influential, intuitive and optimistic. To prepare yourself for future success, start enhancing your emotional intelligence now by engaging in these activities:
View the glass as half–full. Manage your moods; don't let them control you. If you experience a setback at work, accept it, learn from it and then move on. Dwelling on negative experiences can adversely affect your ability to focus, retain information and think creatively. Studies show that optimists outperform pessimists in almost all areas of professional and personal life.
Monitor moods. Staying attuned to the dispositions of your manager and colleagues is just as important as being in touch with your own emotions. By paying close attention and being sensitive to your coworkers' states of mind, you can develop better tact and timing.
Get to the point. As personal communication devices grow in popularity, professionals will receive data around the clock. The key to preventing information overload will be the ability to quickly extrapolate and process only the most important items. Being able to do this for yourself and others will significantly enhance your value to your company.
Be the conversation quarterback. Administrative professionals increasingly will be called upon to collaborate with diverse work teams. In these situations, the ability to build consensus and resolve conflicts will be critical. Look for common ground when working with a group, and steer conversations toward productive solutions.
Play nice. Your future livelihood will depend on your ability to work with others. Consistently complimenting coworkers and sharing credit for a job well done will help you develop a reputation as a team player. Humility, a sense of humor and a ready smile will also go a long way to helping you build rapport with colleagues.
Adopt an elastic attitude. Adaptability is a hallmark of emotional intelligence. Try to embrace change rather than feeling threatened by it, and be willing to bend to accommodate colleagues' preferred work styles. People who exhibit flexibility will thrive in the fast-paced world of tomorrow.