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? One of the most powerful business leaders today, Elon Musk, believes that robots represent the future workforce and it is just a matter of time when technology will replace a lot of jobs. In that environment, what will be your most valuable skill at work?

To answer this question, Soulaima Gourani, a lecturer, corporate counselor, and author, shares her insights about the future of work. According to her, emotional intelligence will become the most powerful asset in professional settings.

“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,” she says. 

Gourani considers emotional intelligence as the most valuable ability in the future because people with good emotional skills can make a positive working atmosphere. She notices that positive environment can boost your 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,” she states.

Gourani adds that 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.

She says “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.”

Gourani thinks that Elon Musk is the leader with a good emotional intelligence. His example confirms that 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. Gourani notes that 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,” Gourani continues, “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, Gourani suggests “instead of investing your time, money, and energy on building intellectual skills and expertise, you will benefit the most from training your emotional intelligence.” She recommends building great emotional skills, especially when facing difficulties and conflicts. According to her, 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.