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Artificial Intelligence continues to stir up conversations about the future of the modern workplace and its potential threat to our workforce. However, a recent survey carried out by The School of Life for Business has revealed that Emotional Intelligence (soft skills such as self-awareness, decisiveness, resilience and confidence) is taking precedence as a key consideration in the workplace.

The survey of 2,000 full-time UK office workers, took an in-depth look into how they perceive, grow and value emotional skills in the workplace, with the results revealing that there is a significant amount of desirability put upon the development of soft skills.

The results showed that it’s not just the individual who benefits from the development of their own skills, but that improvements radiate out into our teams and colleagues too: 

  • 74% agreed that when working with confident colleagues, it, in turn, makes them more successful in their work
  • 66% agree they are more productive when working in teams that harness their creative skillset

The survey showed that developing the ability to act decisively, work with creativity or harness your confidence, amongst other soft skills, is hugely advantageous overall – as well as to individuals, teams, managers and CEOs. Findings include:

  • 71% of respondents believed that working in diplomatically led teams, allows for each individual in a team to flourish
  • 70% agree that having a self-aware manager made them happier at work
  • 80% of respondents think that empathetic leaders create a tighter knit working team

The results also suggest a generational difference when it comes to which soft skills need developing and where to access that learning:

  • Over a fifth of those surveyed ages 16 to 24 said they feel very confident knowing where to seek training to improve their hard skills, whilst just under a seventh aged 35 to 44 said the same
  • Over half of those surveyed aged 16 to 24 stated the soft skill they most wanted to improve in 2020 was confidence, whereas just over a quarter of respondents aged 55+ said the same.

Alain de Botton, founder of educational company, The School of Life, who commissioned the study of 2,000 full-time UK office workers to show the direct results of developing and engaging our emotional skills for the workplace, said: “As experts in emotional fulfilment, The School of Life is uniquely placed to deliver insights that can transform the functioning of organisations.

"Our carefully curated workshops capture years of work by our in-house learning and development teams and provide a royal road to a more fruitful and productive working environment.”

Previous clients for The School of Life’s workshops include Facebook, Sony Music, Google, Sky, Warner Music Group, Lloyds Bank and more.

Sarah Stein Lubrano, Head of Content and workshop curriculum writer at The School of Life, said: “At The School of Life, we mine history, philosophy, and culture to bring the best examples of what it means to work well.

"We try to ask the really big questions about how to make work meaningful, focusing on the good life, not just life hacks.

"Our workshops and products are all designed to provide the best insights and knowledge to build emotional skills for working life. With these tools, you can begin to integrate the most important ideas about work into what you do every day.”

Other learning programs The School of Life for Business offer include a Management Series, Keynote Speeches and virtual workshops. In addition to these programs and following the success of their 2018 book The Emotionally Intelligent Office, The School of Life for Business have announced two new books to add to the series. 

'How To Think More Effectively' is an operating manual for the mind, showing us how it works and how we can train it to work better. It explores different styles of effective thinking - such as empathetic, cumulative and sceptical - and outlines simple strategies for integrating these into our working days.

'How to Get on With Your Colleagues' is a book of thoughtful advice and practical strategies for dealing with our colleagues. It explores twelve types of challenging behaviour - such as defensiveness, over-optimism and immaturity - and outlines clear strategies for dealing with them.

Neina Sheldon
Article by Neina Sheldon
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