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Why Emotional Intelligence Will Become A Key Leadership Skill At Work

by Soulaima Gourani, founder and CEO of Tradeconductor

In the future, when information and knowledge become available to everyone and robots begin to replace humans at work, the question is – what will the future of workplace look like? Many believe that robots represent the future workforce and it is just a matter of time when technology will replace a lot of jobs. If that is to happen, then what will be one’s most valuable skill at work?

If you want to be competent in the future, it is not your education, business skills, or expertise that makes you valuable at work. What you need to develop are soft-skills, such as empathy, ability to work with others, and integrity.

I consider Emotional Intelligence (EI) as one of the most valuable skills one could have in the future because people with good emotional skills can make a positive working atmosphere. Studies, show that a that positive environment can boost workplace creativity and productivity. When you feel safe, you are willing to take risks.

Digitalization and automatisation will replace a lot of employees, but they cannot replace meaningful human connection. In that condition, your ability to understand each other, form supportive relationships, and build trust becomes the backbone of creativity and innovation.

You cannot grow and learn in the working atmosphere of distrust. Until you feel safe, you will not step out of the comfort zone. Under those circumstances, you withdraw your ideas to yourself and expect to be judged.  The judgmental atmosphere will not encourage anyone to be authentic, creative and innovative.

True understanding can broaden your perception and help you embrace mutual differences. When you form your relationships based on similarities instead of differences, you will create the atmosphere of trust.

Elon Musk is a leader with a good emotional intelligence – an example, in an email he sent to his Tesla Employees. The future of leadership is to step down from a pedestal, share their struggles, and connect. Future leaders will be the leaders you can trust. You cannot buy anything from a man just because of his expertise or fancy suit. You will buy from people you can trust. This principle will apply at every level – customer, employee, personal, etc.

Only trustful leaders inspire confidence in others. They possess a good self-knowledge and are not afraid to share their stories.

Future demands of the workplace do not expect good emotional skills only from leaders. These skills become essential for everyone. Because of that, instead of investing your time, money, and energy on building intellectual skills and expertise, you will benefit the most from training your emotional intelligence. Build great emotional skills, especially when facing difficulties and conflicts. When you see problems as challenges and conflicts as an opportunity to connect deeper, you will stretch your emotional muscles. This practice can help you grow and train these precious skills and be ready for the future.


Founder and CEO of Tradeconductor Soulaima Gourani is a lecturer, corporate advisor, and author. In 2012 she was announced as one of the Young Global Leaders by World Economic Forum and later that year named to be the chairwoman of the non-profit organisation Global Dignity.  In 2013 she was announced as one of the greatest thinkers in the Nordic by Nordic Business Forum. and in 2014 chosen as one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders. She was elected as a TED mentor in 2016.


This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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