More than IQ: Soft Skills, EQ and CQ Needed in Today’s Work Environment

Valerie Jones

Take a moment and think about the worst boss you’ve ever had. Was he/she extremely short-tempered, held endless meetings about nothing or perhaps, he/she was just extremely unapproachable? If any of these characteristics ring true, it’s quite possible that your former, or current, boss lacks an integral component of being an effective leader – soft skills!

Baker Hughes Corp. CEO Martin Craighead recently spoke to hundreds of emerging leaders in oil and gas about the importance of soft skills and how they will be necessary for future advancement in the industry. Specifically, he said young professionals will need substantial levels of intelligence quotient (IQ), emotional intelligence (commonly referenced as EQ) and cultural quotient or intelligence (commonly referenced as CQ).

While IQ includes more of technical competence (basically, how smart you are), the need for soft skills, EQ and CQ will prove invaluable for young candidates entering a workforce that will need individuals who can assume leadership roles quickly and tackle projects efficiently, once the industry is on the upswing.

John Colborn, director for Skills for America’s Future – an initiative of the Aspen Institute, recently told Rigzone that employers are not finding the skills they need in candidates, citing a lack of basic skills and workplace skills.

“For even entry-level positions, there is a large expectation to do more,” he said.

So, let’s break it down. Soft skills and EQ are similar, but differ in the fact that soft skills are learned abilities while EQ includes inherent qualities that can be developed or coached. CQ is the capability to relate and work effectively across all cultures.

Being an effective communicator is arguably the most important soft skill to possess. Everything that happens internally and externally in a company will have to be communicated in some form or another. Leadership and decision-making, two additional soft skills, will be especially attractive to oil and gas employers who are currently tasked with making difficult hiring decisions and managing through layoffs.

According to, EQ is responsible for 58 percent of an individual’s job performance. So one could say your EQ could be the determinant for a job well done or a person who just isn’t getting it done. For millennials, who are often pegged as spoiled or having feelings of entitlement, certain EQ qualities will be welcomed by employers such as ambition, a strong work ethic and the ability to control emotions.

Finally, with the highly global industry of oil and gas, it’s just inevitable that you will communicate with someone from another country and/or culture. Success in today’s world of oil and gas will require cultural awareness and adaptability. Possessing a strong CQ will add value to your company by allowing the company to do more business globally as well as attract and retain a diverse workforce.

So in a time period in which young job candidates and emerging leaders are asking, “how do I stand out,” “what are employers looking for” or “what’s my added value?” the industry professionals have made it very clear.

So how can you develop or improve your portfolio of soft skills, EQ and CQ? There are some organic approaches: networking can definitely help with communication and joining professional organizations can provide opportunities to take on leadership positions. There are also numerous courses available in soft skills in which you can earn certifications upon completion. The opportunities are there … don’t limit yourself by not taking advantage of them.

And if you have any doubt that soft skills, EQ and CQ are not necessary in today’s industry in order to be an effective leader, refer back to that horrible boss.


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