EQ in an AI World: Why Emotional Intelligence is Critical in the Virtual Workforce
February 6, 2019
The advancements in artificial intelligence are staggering – self-driving cars, digital personal assistants like Siri and Alexa. Heck, IBM’s Watson is solving medical cases that have stumped doctors for years.
Looking beyond the sci-fi hype, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what AI means for the workplace. Sure, we’ll all in favor of increased efficiency, improved processes and letting the machines take on the more tedious aspects of our jobs. But how do we retain our value in an AI world? How do we ensure that our very humanness stays relevant as learning machines get smarter and smarter? What skills will be the most useful before the machines take over? (Just kidding ;-)
I think I have the answer. I believe that in our increasingly disconnected, virtual work environments, it will be the organizations that recognize the importance of human connection and emotional intelligence that will rise to the top.
As described in the Harvard Business Review article, The Rise of AI Makes Emotional Intelligence More Important, those who want to “stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings.” In other words, emotional intelligence.
This article is speaking my language.
Emotional intelligence is the key to setting yourself apart in an AI world. Emotional intelligence, or emotional quotient (EQ), is the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Basically, it is having emotional awareness and the ability to harness emotions and apply them to things like problem-solving. It’s empathy, persuasion, observation and understanding; it’s the ability to motivate a team, dodge political hot buttons and identify the right people for the right roles.
As much as AI tools are being programmed to learn emotional intelligence, it’s no replacement for the real thing. In today’s workplace, we are already out of practice picking up on the visual cues, non-verbal behaviors and body language that help us communicate clearly and interpret the emotions of the people around us. You need to keep your human EI and EQ skills sharp.
The best way that I have found to create emotional intelligence awareness is through DiSC Certification and Wiley’s Everything DiSC suite of products. It provides unbiased language for people to talk about their own strengths and weaknesses and understand people’s behavioral differences. Support your team’s EI in an AI world!