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People with high social intelligence … are magnetic to others. We seem well overdue to make SI a developmental priority in our early education, public schooling, adult learning processes, and in business. Children and teenagers need to learn to win the fellowship and respect they crave.

College students need to learn to collaborate and influence others effectively. High-tech professionals … need to understand the social context and achieve their objectives by working from empathy. All adults, in their careers and personal lives, need to be able to present themselves effectively and earn the respect of those they deal with. Social intelligence can reduce conflict, create collaboration, replace bigotry and polarization with understanding, and mobilize people toward common goals.

We seek to understand how highly effective people navigate social situations so skillfully, and how they know — at least most of the time — how to engage others in ways appropriate to the context. Going beyond IQ. He posited that human beings have a range of key competencies — intelligences — and they exist in various proportions in various persons. EI, SI or both? Then we can clearly delineate our model of social intelligence in terms of externally oriented competencies. In other works, we need both of these intelligences for personal success.

From toxic to nourishing toxic behaviors — nourishing behaviors. Toxic people often become so preoccupied with their own personal struggles that they simply do not understand the impact they have on others. They need help in seeing themselves as others see them. Blind spots, lenses and filters. Social halitosis, flatulence, and dandruff.

Nurturing behaviour

Social flatulence originates in ignorance, lack of situational awareness, or — possibly worse — a lack of respect for the accepted norms for behavior. They all represent various versions of self-centered, selfish, and self-serving behavior, lacking in altruism or consideration for others.

Seldom does their educational experience alert them to the fact that they will one day have to explain their ideas to others, persuade others of the value of their opinions, and sell their ideas and themselves. Like innocent sheep, they enter the political environments of large organizations assuming that their great ideas will sell themselves, that only a stupid person would fail to grasp the value of their contributions.

Can we become a socially smarter species? First, we need leaders who model high social intelligence.

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success

Second, we need an educational system that honors the principles and behaviors associated with high social intelligence, and that teaches our young people to understand the cultures and subcultures through which they must navigate in this modern world, and that emphasizes the value of collaboration over conflict. Third, we need a media environment that serves the higher values of the culture and not simply the commercial interests of corporations whose executives feel entitled to sell anything they choose, to anybody they can influence, by any means possible.

Are you able to understand and empathize with people in different situations? Can you sense their feelings and possible intentions? It means having an appreciation for the various points of view others might hold, and a practical sense of the ways people react to stress, conflict, and uncertainty. Having a good situational radar means having a respectful interest in other people. If you are self-centred, preoccupied with your own feelings, needs, and interests, and not open to the feelings, needs, and interests of others, it will probably be more difficult for you to get them to accept you, share themselves with you, like you, and cooperate with you.

Ballistic Podiatry: Making the Worst of a Situation. The antidote for bullet holes in your penny loafers is to respect and develop the art of Situational Awareness. Know when to speak and when to hold your tongue. Be able to size up the situation you find yourself in, rather quickly, and make the best response based on both your intuitive radar and real-time intelligence. Reading the Social Context.

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What to Look For. Proxemic: the study of differences in distance, contact, posture, and the like in communication with people. Every human-designed space has its apparent meaning …. Proxemic politics. To the extent that they share the same behavioral codes, they typically get along successfully. If one or more of the people in a particular situation does not share — or chooses to violate — certain of those codes, conflict can arise.

Words … are the very structure of thought. Many famous leaders have understood and capitalized on the psychology of language, and have used this knowledge to arouse and mobilize people, for both good and evil. The study of rhetoric deals with the primal patterns of language, and how a skillful turn of phrase conveys meaning beyond the mere symbolic level of words. Many Meanings. Wars and ethnic conflicts often start as a result of, or in connection with, reckless use of highly charged language.

Its meaning is embedded in the nervous system of the person saying it or hearing it. Finding agreement ultimately comes down to sorting out the verbal maps being used by the various parties and arriving at a few key verbal maps they can agree to. Beyond Logic. One can observe the interplay between subconscious mental process and social behavior, in the shift of language. We can exercise Situational Awareness and establish empathy with those involved by matching the language they use — within reason.

In a sense, we may need to be multi-lingual within a single language. Navigating Cultures and Subcultures. The more you know about an in-group, the easier it is to understand why its members react the way they do in certain situations. Every subculture is really just a part of our larger full culture. But even though they belong to our meta-world, they see their miniature worlds as more important.

There are many commonalities that make very different groups more similar than one might first imagine. Subcultures tend to flourish and thrive when the barriers to entry are stringent. Women in many cultures have suffered for centuries under oppressive, male-dominated behavior codes. Part of growing up in a world run by adults … means learning how to behave.

And learning how to behave means following the rules created by those in charge. Building the Skills of Situational Awareness. Are you approachable? Do you convey a sense of confidence, professionalism, kindness, and friendliness or do you communicate shyness, insecurity, animosity, or indifference? We all need to pay special attention to the sense of presence we communicate, especially if we want to be accepted and taken seriously.

Being There. It lives in the moment, involves listening with skill, and creates and provides a quality of self-assurance and effectiveness that allows you to connect with a person or a group. Is Charisma Over-rated? Official charisma is that which is attached to a world leader etc…. Maybe the essence of real charisma — the earned kind — is what goes on inside. One gets the sense that great spiritual leaders … would go where they go and do what they do regardless of whether others chose to follow them.


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Do Looks Matter? When all parties know and abide by the generally accepted rules, the interaction may unfold amicably and successfully. When one or more parties violates the social compact by behaving in unapproved ways, serious conflicts can arise. At a minimum, we need to be able to anticipate situational rules, or to detect them as they arise or take shape. Police officers in particular face a very difficult psychological challenge. The Ugly American Syndrome. Having Presence includes being respectful of the people around you and showing real rather than manufactured interest in them.

More of You, Less of Me. A Case of Attitude. While we tend to think of Presence from the external point of view — as others perceive us — it also has an important inward dimension. Presence is partly about living in the moment, being available, not just physically, but emotionally as well … for people who need you at that moment, to be aware of their issues or needs.

This requires being emotionally self-aware and centered. Does a Zen-like approach invite you to think about solutions and alternatives rather than staying stuck in the past, with the problem? This concept of living in the present, being in the moment, and staying focused on the world of possibilities will take some people a lot of time to adapt to. The way to put an end to suffering is to stop wanting everything, all the time. Would that we all could live in the moment and enjoy what we can out of what we have; then we would really know what it is to be Present.

And being Present, both emotionally and behaviorally, enables us to reach out to others and build the connections that can contribute not only to our success, but also to theirs. Building the Skills of Presence. Authenticity: This dimension reveals how honest and sincere you are with people and with yourself, in any given situation. To the extent that you feel — consciously or unconsciously — that others will not accept you, respect you, love you, or cooperate with you if you act according to your own needs and priorities, you are likely to behave in ways that others perceive as inauthentic.

The appeal of Mr. Rogers was simple: he always talked to children at their level, and he was neither sickly sweet nor condescending. Think about the most nourishing people you know:. If you are truly blessed, all of these adjectives may describe just one person …. Left-handed Compliments. The Puppy Dog Syndrome. Narcissism and altruism stand at opposite poles of human motivation.

The Value of Humility. Head Games, Power Struggles, and Manipulation. Inveterate game players are typically people who did not succeed in building a strong sense of self-worth coming out of childhood …. Authenticity Made Very Simple. Build the Skills of Authenticity. Clarity: measures your ability to express your thoughts, opinions, ideas, and intentions clearly. Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Do you speak to fast, too much, or not much at all? Does your voice production — pitch, rate, volume, and inflection — inspire confidence or lack of respect?

Do you use language skillfully? Can you frame concepts and issues for others in an articulate, compelling way? Using metaphors can help you get your ideas across to other people. A Way With Words.

Social Intelligence: One of the keys to workplace success

It is a relatively rare — and usually highly effective — person who has learned how to use language as a strategic asset. Sometimes saying less accomplishes more. Sometimes you can get into trouble no matter what you say. You just have to sense the right response, based on your overall understanding of both the context and the content of the encounter. Role-Speak and Real-Speak. Helicopter Language and Elevator Speeches. The litmus test of the clarity … explain it in three sentences. Getting your point across … depends on packaging ideas skillfully and compactly.

The self-reference makes the sentence irrefutably true and not subject to argument or combat …. Verbal Bludgeons. Examples of Semantic Malfunctions. Antidotes to Semantic Malfunctions. Train yourself to say the following three things freely, appropriately, and without guilt:. If we want to influence other people with our ideas and get them to cooperate with us, it helps to present information in a way that makes it easy for their brains to process it.

First you have to find out where it is — capture the full attention — and then you have to plan out a trip from where it is to where you want it to go. Route Dropping One Shoe: … start with a provocative statement that captures attention, and then capitalize on the dramatic effect. Pyramid: A quick snapshot of what you will say, followed by more and more information. Zooming In or Out. The Power of Metaphor. Speech by Chief Seattle, Building the Skills of Clarity. Are you able to tune in to other people as unique individuals?

The usual connotation of being empathetic means to identify with another person and appreciate or share his or her feelings. However, in the context of social intelligence, there is an additional level of depth — the sense of connectedness — which inspires people to cooperate. In this discussion, empathy is defined as a state of positive feelings between two people, commonly referred to as a condition of rapport.

Common sense tells us that people are more likely to cooperate with, agree with, support, and help you if they like you and share a sense of mutual respect and affection with you. To achieve empathy with another person means to get him or her to share a feeling of connectedness with you, which leads the person to move with and toward you rather than away and against you. The opposite state, of course, is antipathy, a feeling that causes a person to move away and against you. Toxic behavior, obviously, destroys empathy. Nourishing behavior restores and builds empathy. If we want to gain the personal and practical benefits that come with building empathy with others and maintaining quality relationships, we have to do two things:.

What Destroys Empathy? Getting to empathy calls for a proactive commitment. Exhibit 6. This is about the how someone communicates clearly and unambiguously. To what extent is someone able to express his ideas clearly, effectively and efficiently. In addition, it includes a whole range of communicative skills such as listening, providing feedback, paraphrasing and using metaphors to clarify or help explain something. That allows someone to really build a connection with others and approach them respectfully. It even goes beyond the conventional definition of empathy; it is about a mutual feeling between two people.

By dividing a circle chart into five slices that each include one of the five basic skill categories, the Social Intelligence Profile can be completed. A person filling out the Social Intelligence Profile for self-evaluation will answer a range of questions that relate to the different behaviours.


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Each category has five scores, varying from little to a lot. The higher the scores, the higher the level of Social Intelligence. It should be noted that social intelligence only applies if there is an even distribution across the five basic skill categories. If one category is missing or if the score is particularly low, it is a good idea to focus on this area and practice with it. What do you think? Have you ever heard of Social Intelligence SI? Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods.

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