One Skill That Cannot be Become a Commodity

Technology will continue to evolve and take repetitive tasks away from humans. This was highlighted on a call with a sales person recently. They were demoing a finance software. Every question was met with:

  • It does that automatically.
  • You don’t have to do a thing. The system does it for you.
  • No, trending analysis is done and delivered to you daily.
  • Our embedded AI will tell you what’s needed.

With a couple clicks of a button, the platform did everything we needed and then some. The sales rep said similar software essentially performs the same functions, only this company’s cost is lower than the competitions. To me that says, our technology is a commodity.

One question, though, was met with a different type of answer. In the event of a dispute, how will the system handle it? The answer; “For that, you’ll need to reach out to your contact to discuss.”

That brought to light that even though technology will continue to advance and automate our lives, there is one skill that cannot become a commodity.

Emotional Intelligence.

You need to be able to interact with others to be successful. Have discussions. Engage in spirited debate. Embrace conflict. Connect with another human. Be empathetic. Listen. Relate.

In the world of project management, there are more and more tools on the market to plan, monitor and control initiatives. Software can automate notifications to those assigned tasks. Status reports are created at the touch of a button. But what it cannot do is talk to project team members about tasks that may be behind, or tell a story to a stakeholder reading a status report. It can’t empathize with a team member going through an illness. It can’t handle the conflict that may arise between a project sponsor and a manager when resources aren’t made available. It also can’t resolve conflicts that inevitably show up.

It is said on average 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating. Anyone in the role can agree with that. A project manager also knows it takes a higher EQ, or emotional intelligence, to do it well. No two people are the same and the PM must be aware and adapt to a variety of personalities. High EQ is what helps us deliver, build trust with those we work with and resolve issues quickly.

Though software and AI will continue to automate certain functions of our jobs, it can’t replace emotional intelligence (at least not yet). Continue to hone and improve your EQ skills. These are what will help you deliver results!

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