Diagram of a brain with a heart inside, representing emotional intelligence

How to develop emotional intelligence

Soft skills. You’ve probably heard that term over and over again. But when (and why) did soft skills become a thing?

Recently, employers discovered that it wasn’t enough for their workers to just complete the technical aspects of their job. Nowadays, employers expect more. You’re expected to add value to meetings, take on feedback and collaborate with others. Your communication skills and interpersonal skills are important too. You need to have a handle on hard skills – and soft skills. And emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the soft skills that you need to master if you want to succeed in the workplace.

Insight sat down with Marie Ball, a lecturer in management and marketing at Charles Sturt University. Marie is a human resource consultant who specialises in working with teams to help them understand themselves and each other in order to build cooperative capability. Marie has been with Charles Sturt since 2017, primarily lecturing in human resource management.

So, what is emotional intelligence?

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and manage our own feelings and to recognise and understand the emotions of people around us.  

“If you’re self-aware, you know how you feel and you know how your emotions and your actions can affect the people around you, you can control and manage yourself. This is particularly useful when you are under pressure and in difficult situations.”

And why do employers look for candidates with emotional intelligence?

“Having EI allows staff to navigate all the social situations that occur in the workplace. By being more aware, and understanding yourself and others, you can minimise conflict and stress in the workplace. You can communicate more effectively and cultivate stronger working relationships.”

So, if you can prove that you’re rocking EI, you’re adding to your chances of landing the job.

Soft skills: what are they and why do you need them?

More and more, we’re hearing that employers are looking for soft skills, in addition to technical professional skills.

But what are soft skills?

Soft skills are skills that are more aligned with your general disposition and personality, and less specialised, less rooted in specific vocations. Soft skills are things like good listening skills, a positive attitude, resilience and the ability to give and receive feedback.

Marie knows how important soft skills are in today’s world – and she thinks that there’s an emphasis on communication.

“Soft skills are paramount in the workforce today. Being able to communicate effectively, cooperate with others, give and receive feedback, lead with purpose and problem-solve are all really important skills to have. It’s great to be in an environment where you can excel using your technical abilities, but it’s also great to use your soft skills to advance the goals of the organisation.”

So now you know all about soft skills and why you need to have them – want to know how to get them?

Single subject study is the way to go

At Charles Sturt University, we have this thing called single subject study.

We’ll let Marie break it down for you.

“Single subject study allows you to road-test a subject to see if you enjoy it, before committing to a full degree. It’s a great opportunity if you’re taking the first steps towards a degree, returning to study, or preparing for a change in your career.”

Plenty of the subjects on offer are related to soft skills. There’s even one about emotional intelligence.

Wondering how best to go about it? Marie’s got the lowdown.

“Identify your area of interest and investigate the single subjects available online. You could also have a chat with our advisers about what you’re looking for and the best option for you.”

Ready to learn more about single subject study – and get ahead of the game?

All you need to do is jump online and take a look around! You’ll find everything you need to know about the subjects on offer, how to apply and the cost.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? We’re always here to help. Just reach out to our friendly student adviser team and they will get you sorted.