Digital economy requires emotional intelligence skills, says banker

The convener of the Employee MarketPlace (EMP) Initiative, Mr. Nduneche Ezurike, has called on professionals in leadership positions within formal organizations to pay greater attention to the development of their emotional intelligence skills in other to deliver on innovation and business growth in the turbulent era of the fourth industrial revolution.

Mr. Ezurike said this while fielding questions from the participants at the 2019 EMP forum which held in Lagos last week.

The convener acknowledged developments in affective computing and neural networks, which have modeled algorithms after the human brain and greatly enhanced the automation of many tasks. He, however, maintained that rather than erode human skills, the developments instead present higher challenges for professionals to develop and apply higher-order cognitive abilities in approaching leadership roles within their organizations.

Citing the example of Sophia, which is the first humanoid robot, Mr. Ezurike noted that with artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning, becoming more prominent features in the workplace, Generation X leaders in the modern workplace must embrace digital awareness as one of the fastest ways to unlearn old ways, and acquire new skills in order to remain relevant both as individuals and as organizations”

He further noted that although the Millennials are celebrated as pathfinders and natives of the digital economy, sustainable digital leadership requires advanced cognitive skills to maximize the value of digital talents and scale enterprise innovation.

He decried that the low level of development of emotional intelligence skills by the Millennials and low level of digital adoption by Gen X and Baby Boomers is fueling inter-generational conflict in many organizations.  He noted that “Employee Marketplace initiative is a leadership playbook focused on co-creation regardless of gender or generation. It enables innovation-focused enterprises to understand the interplay of three major factors: communication, collaboration, and community in mobilizing talents. Above all, deliberate attention to self- awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills, will stimulate distinctive ways of thinking and working in today’s business environment”.

Sharing his perspective at the forum, the Registrar and CEO of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Awojobi commended Mr. Ezurike for the Employee Marketplace initiative especially for bringing up the millennial in the workplace issue, stating that the older generations must brace up to the challenge of tolerance and harmonious work environment in the digital era. He also noted that to achieve a more productive and stable workplace, both generations must learn to embrace each other.

Mr. Ikem Okuhu, Brand writer and the author of the book,  ‘PITCH: Debunking Marketing’s Strongest Myths’ emphasized the need for organizations to define a common purpose which helps to bridge the knowledge gap between the contending generations in the workplace.

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