Building Smarter Teams – The Unseen Benefits of High Social Intelligence

Building Smarter Teams The Unseen Benefits of High Social Intelligence
Building Smarter Teams – The Unseen Benefits of High Social Intelligence

Social Intelligence, as a concept, was propounded by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1920. In his words, Social Intelligence is “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, and to act wisely in human relations”. To understand social intelligence, it is important to first understand native intelligence and emotional intelligence as social intelligence is the combination of the two.

Native Intelligence is the IQ factor. Something you are born with. Native Intelligence can be evaluated based on short-term memory, analytical thinking, mathematical ability and spatial recognition. It is easy to test, easy to measure and doesn’t change over time. You typically gain knowledge over time and not IQ.

Emotional Intelligence is a combination of one’s emotions and personality. How you understand and manage your own emotions. Self-awareness and self-control such as, staying calm under pressure, not becoming defensive when criticized, listening without jumping to conclusions. How you identify yourself, how you evaluate yourself, how do you control and express yourself. How you perceive and assess emotions in others and how you use emotions to facilitate thinking, understanding and meaning. Emotional Intelligence is not easy to test as there are no standardized tests for emotional intelligence. It’s not easy to measure as there is no quantitative scoring and its dynamic, constantly evolving.

In an article in the Harvard Business Review on “What Makes a Leader”, Daniel Goleman, often referred to as the father of emotional intelligence, highlights the strong connection between High Emotional Intelligence and Effective Leadership. In the article Daniel Goleman states, “my research clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the most important element in leadership”.

In a study conducted on employees in FedEx (McCrum, 2019) after having received training in emotional intelligence, 72% of the leaders reported enhanced decision-making skills. Research published in the Forbes magazine in 2014 stated that 90% of top performers are high in emotional intelligence.

Maneesh Ajmani, Regional Director EMEA, “Emotional intelligence in leadership is not just good to have but a necessity. When hiring leaders, prioritizing emotional intelligence is prioritizing success.”

Social Intelligence is our ability to use our emotional intelligence to enhance the interactions with others under diverse situations and create a successful working environment to help achieve our goal. Like emotional intelligence, social intelligence can be built over time through the learn, practice and develop loop.

Hazem Al Mubarak, Managing Partner, Middle East, “2 out of 3 clients we consult, place increased emphasis on Social Intelligence in their hiring and promotion decisions. The final decision often boils down to the ability to deal and navigate with different situations and stakeholders to bring out the best outcome?”

Social Intelligence of employees often defines an organisations culture. Organisations can promote a certain culture by creating awareness, integrating the right actions and encouraging positive behaviour. Organisations that consciously foster good social intelligence benefit from increased employee engagement, enhanced team collaboration, higher retention of critical skills, effective conflict resolution, higher employee productivity, improved communications and smooth integration when considering a merger or an acquisition.

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