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Soft Skills for the AI Era




The word soft skills dates back to the US military in the 1960s which entailed anything that did not require machinery. The term has since taken over corporations all over the world and is used as a substitute for interpersonal skills and Emotional Quotient(EQ). Soft skills are often thought to be the skills that can be learned and mastered easily as compared to hard skills that require strategic learning over a long period to master. This suggests that hard skills matter more than soft skills. 


There is an increasing need for emotional quotient, especially now that remote work has become a norm. Research revealed that Women outperform men in 11 of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies. Women score higher than men on all emotional intelligence competencies, except emotional self-control where no gender differences are observed. 


Women are Better Mentors


Data from 55,000 professionals across 90 countries and all levels of management, collected between 2011 and 2015 using the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory (ESCI) found that women more effectively employ the emotional and social competencies related to effective leadership and management than men. 


Women outperform men in emotional self-awareness, where women are 86% more likely than men to be seen using competency consistently. Apart from this, women are 45% more likely than men to be seen as demonstrating empathy consistently. Women are better at coaching and mentoring, influencing, inspirational leadership, conflict management, organizational awareness, adaptability, and teamwork.   

The data suggests a strong need for more women in the workforce to take on leadership roles. Historically, women have always evaluated themselves as less competent, while men tend to overestimate themselves in their competencies. Research paints a completely different picture, if more men acted like women in employing their emotional and social competencies, they would be distinctly more effective in their work. 


Emotional Intelligence: Need of the Hour


Emotional Intelligence and soft skills are gaining popularity for all the right reasons. In the age of AI, the role of human emotional intelligence in leadership is as crucial as ever. It's not all data and algorithms, connecting with people, understanding them, and engaging with them is what will set leaders apart in the age of AI. The only thing AI can’t interpret fully (as of now) is emotions, something only a fellow human can understand because they feel it too.  

The levels of emotional intelligence displayed by a leader are strongly related to how long their team members plan to stay with the organization. Leaders who focus on emotional intelligence are the most effective. They manage to drive a team by using an empathetic approach which can work wonders for businesses. 



(Author - Karishma is a content writer at Techdoquest. She offers fresh and youthful perspectives on whatever she writes about.) 

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