There is an exercise I like to do with business teams at the start of a workshop. I ask them to think of a person who has had a major positive influence on their lives. Someone who, even when they think of them, brings a smile to their face and warmth to their heart. I then give them 5 post-it notes and ask them to write down 5 of the attributes of that person which have most impacted them. One attribute on each post-it note. On two adjacent walls I then stick 2 headings – Technical Skills/Intelligence, and Social and Emotional Intelligence (S&EI). They then choose which heading best describes their 5 attributes. Every time I have done this exercise the post-it notes are mostly (90+%) stuck all over the Social and Emotional Intelligence wall, with just a few on the Skills wall.
Which attributes have the most impact?
This exercise brings it home very powerfully that the personal attributes that most impact other people are things such as: thoughtfulness, resilience, humility, acceptance, cool under pressure, a good listener, empathy, understanding, capacity to forgive and overcome conflict.
Our education system caters almost exclusively for working on our IQ (Intelligence Quotient). Business training is almost exclusively targeted at developing our technical skills. Both are important, However, the attributes that appear to have the most lasting impact on others are not related to our IQ nor our technical skills. Those attributes are more related to what we call Social & Emotional Intelligence. These attributes are not often taught in formal educational environments. They are fostered in good families and healthy social environments.
The sad fact is these attributes are almost a foreign concept for some otherwise intelligent and skillful business people in business leadership positions.
Social & Emotional Intelligence (S&EI)
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as “The ability to be aware of our own emotions, in the moment, and to use that information to manage ourselves and our relationships appropriately.” Social Intelligence is “the ability to be aware of the emotions of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage the relationship appropriately.” Social and Emotional Intelligence is the combination of both.
Daniel Goleman in his seminal book Emotional Intelligence (1995) brought this topic to the public consciousness. Social intelligence is starting to become a better known term today as we focus on the terrible effects of bullying and other negative human attributes. Business is finally waking up to the fact that social and emotional intelligence is just as important (if not more) than technical skills. The reason most employees (50%) leave a job is because they struggle in their relationship with their immediate manager. Every time an employee leaves and a new person has to be recruited and trained it costs that business at least 50% of the annual salary.
Our definition of leadership is changing. An old-fashioned military or industrial model is not the best model for a collaborative workplace. Leadership is not about being tough and directing people and telling them what to do. Leadership that works today is all about engaging and empowering people to do more than they thought possible. Great leaders must be really good at building relationships. They connect well with people. They listen and understand. They inspire and encourage. They empower and release people to work together. Great leadership is not possible without strong social and emotional intelligence. In the 21st Century, even the military is ensuring their leaders have Social and Emotional Intelligence training.
How would you like to be remembered?
If you think you may have poor people skills, and conflict seems to follow you, there is good news. The great thing about social and emotional intelligence is it can be developed. You can do a Social and Emotional Intelligence Assessment, discover your weaker areas, and embark on growth journey, with some coaching, to assist you manage and adapt your behaviours. Anyone can learn to increase their empathy, or their resilience, or their self-awareness or their conflict resolution skills.
I am an accredited S & EI Coach (through International Institute for S&EI). I enjoy assisting smart and skilled people develop their self-awareness, self-management, others’ awareness and relationship management. An online S & EI Assessment will give you an extensive report into your own strengths and weaknesses under these four main areas. We can then work with you to help you build a range of 26 competencies that make up S & EI.
If you would like to take this assessment along with a 30 minute consultation it could be a turning point in your business career and set you on a path to increased influence and opportunity, click the button below.