A high level of emotional intelligence (EQ) is increasingly being considered a ‘super power’ by organisations. Technical or ‘hard skills’ are of course important, but if you’re managing others, having the ability to relate, empathise, communicate and understand the impact of your own behaviour on others is what will set you apart.
Like technical skills, EQ or ‘soft skills’ can be developed and improved through learning. But the problem has always been how do you get that learning to stick?
Dr Alex Young is a former trauma and orthopaedic surgeon and founder of Virti, a cutting-edge learning technology business that uses tech like augmented reality to greatly improve employee engagement and EQ by focusing on human skills, such as empathy.
In this episode
What was the problem you were trying to fix?
Alex reveals that during his time as an NHS surgeon he observed many colleagues who were technically very gifted but lacked what he describes as soft skills including leadership, decision making and communication abilities. It was this lack of embedded soft skills training that often led to conflict or complaints affecting both the wellbeing of the individual and those around them.
The explosion in wellbeing apps
Alex argues that organisations that select off-the-shelf wellbeing apps for employees are probably wasting their money. He encourages leaders and HR managers to get to know their colleagues better and help design wellbeing interventions best tailored to that individual.
Does the corporate wellbeing market need regulation?
Some national healthcare systems such as the NHS in the UK do have their own recommended ‘app store’ whereby some wellbeing apps have been reviewed by medial professionals. However, the situation is patchy and therefore the corporate wellbeing market probably needs regulation.
The line manager / worker relationship
The thread that runs through much of how we feel about work is the relationship we have with our line manager. Alex suggests that the pandemic has really had a negative effect on this relationship given many of the interactions have been remote.
The advantages of using augmented reality in learning
He explains why technology such as augmented reality is so effective in delivering soft skills training when compared to more traditional methods of learning.
Why do we have such an issue with soft skills in the UK?
According to Alex, the UK is not alone with having a workforce lacking soft sills such as empathy, communication and leadership. He suggests that part of this lack of skill can be attributed to the education system that is generally focused on exam results and the social class in which you are born.
Are soft skills power skills or something else?
Alex gives an amusing response to this question and laughs at some of the PR fluff attached to the descriptions.
Should leaders reveal vulnerability?
Yes is the simple answer. Alex argues that the paternalistic and militaristic view of leadership whereby leaders and managers didn’t share their vulnerabilities is drawing to a close and there is a strength in sharing problems with your team.