Why Emotional Intelligence is the new top skill in tech

Coding Black Females

Awareness around Emotional Intelligence has increased significantly over the last few years. We’re beginning to appreciate that the ability to understand and manage our emotions effectively helps us to empathize with others, overcome challenges, and supports our personal wellbeing. This is expanding to our working lives and in the tech industry, the importance of emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly apparent; often being listed as a required skill-set in job descriptions — and even becoming an area of focus in interview processes.

But what is emotional intelligence, and why is it important in tech?

Emotional Intelligence (or EQ) focuses on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills. Science shows that emotions precede thought. Therefore, if we can’t manage or understand our emotions, we can lose control in situations which cause an emotional response (e.g. if you receive criticism on your performance at work, or have a disagreement with a friend).

Tech companies are tuning in to what this means for their teams. Why? Tech has become a collaborative and creative field, thanks in many ways to the adoption of Agile principles; where teams focus on collaboration to deliver products in short time frames, gather feedback and iterate on the product. Working this way requires clear, concise communication, the ability to voice concerns in order to achieve the best product, and separate feedback on your work from feedback on your character.

So if these skills are so important, how can we improve them?

As is the case with IQ, it’s possible to train and improve your EQ through practice. At Makers coding bootcamp, Chief Joy Officer Dana delivers an EQ curriculum to students during their training in order to prepare them for working in real tech teams.

She says “Ultimately organisations are made up of people, and people are emotional creatures — whether we like it or not. We’re realising that it’s smart to pay attention and navigate our inner workings consciously and skillfully.”

In her workshops, Dana asks students to model a series of scenarios to practice core elements, of EQ including communication, giving and receiving feedback, and empathy.

According to Dana, “Feedback is essential for progressing in life and yet it can be so painful as it sits at the crux of two of our core human needs, the need for growth and the need to be loved and accepted as we are. When it is given regularly and mindfully, the results include accelerated learning, progress tracking, collaboration, trust and more.”

On July 7th, Dana will be delivering an online workshop on communication and feedback exclusively for Coding Black Females and codebar members. Tickets are limited, so if you’d like to register, sign up via the link below.

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