Cartoon of man with briefcase standing in front of evil shadow Let's be honest, we all have a little monster inside. The key is having the emotional stamina to keep your emotions in check or the social intelligence to deal with others when we don't. (Photo: JrCasas/Shutterstock)

If there’s anything that helps while away a long day at the office, it’s talking obsessively about your colleagues.

We’ve been classifying and caricaturizing them since the dawn of office culture: the trolls, the brown-nosers, the credit-stealing varmints, the tyrants, the narcissists.

But maybe what really propels the conversation is the underlying sense that, despite how widely scorned these types of colleagues are, they've always seemed to do alright for themselves.

In many cases, they’re even the boss.

But that tide appears to be turning. Increasingly, experience, expertise and talent — the trifecta traditionally defining a sterling employee — are taking a backseat to social intelligence, or the ability to connect with others.

These days, if you’re the kind of person who bristles with so much experience, expertise and talent that you don’t mind telling your colleagues about it all the time, you probably won’t fare so well in the workplace.

But if people feel like they can connect with you, the world is your oyster to shuck — and wash down with a pint after work with colleagues.

Maybe that’s because the workplace has evolved into a more dynamic, almost living organism that depends on all of its parts to work in sync to thrive. All the talent in the world can’t exist in a vacuum, and employers appear to be wising up to that fact.

The value of social intelligence

Experts suggest social intelligence, not professional credentials, could make or break work culture. Sometimes professional credentials alone don't solve the wide range of issues you run into in a day. Just think about the last time a coworker started to cry. How'd you do handling that? (Photo: 13FTStudio/Shutterstock)

In his book, "Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success," management consultant Karl Albrecht argues that "most people have lost jobs due to a lack of social intelligence more than any other factor."

"They just seem to have an utter lack of understanding of what they are doing to those around them and that costs them."

As an example, Albrecht holds up, of all people, Apple founder Steve Jobs, calling him a “brilliant innovator but a lousy executive."

Indeed, despite Jobs’ success, his reputation as a bully or "unbelievable jerk" may have actually held him and the company back.

"Imagine what he might have accomplished if he had been able to have better relationships with those around him," Albrecht notes.

Or, on a much less epic scale, companies may be recognizing that they pay a price for keeping trolls, however talented, on their payroll.

In a study published earlier this year, University of Illinois professor Jerome Popp suggests people who don't empathize with others can become workplace bullies — which, in turn, leads to a host of negative situations from increased sick days to high staff turnover.

Who's failing in the workplace?

Angry office worker illustration Author Travis Bradberry would call this guy a 'Temperamental' type: He likely performs poorly because his emotions cloud his judgment, and his lack of self-control destroys relationships. (Photo: Doppelganger4/Shutterstock)

But bullies aren’t the only types who are failing in the workplace.

Author Travis Bradberry recently identified nine types of people who no longer cut it on the job — no matter how impressive their professional credentials may be.

Bradberry’s gallery can seem downright cartoonish at times.

The Dementor, for example, is the kind of colleague whose negativity instantly sucks the life out of a room. And the Temperamental, Bradberry notes, “perform poorly because their emotions cloud their judgment and their lack of self-control destroys their relationships.”

But make no mistake. These are the New Unemployables. They’re the kinds of workers who may have once sailed along on talent alone. But today, Bradberry notes, “their lack of self-awareness and social skills are massive detriments to their careers.”

These are the kinds of people who fail at work
All the talent in the world can't overcome the inability to connect with co-workers.