Social intelligence is the fourth of the W.I.N.G.S skills.  When RainTree started the W.I.N.G.S journey, we all knew that there would be a skill that requires working with others.  The definition of social intelligence is the skill of connecting and collaborating with others.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it.  Yet, if you ask any manager, they will tell you that working with people is the absolute best and worst of what they are responsible for.  Entire libraries are filled with books about the unique, unpredictable, and challenging nature of human beings.  The art of management is embedded in the need and want to support and empower the people that you work with to be and perform their best.

When we reflect on social intelligence, the definition reflects on the ability to connect with others.  With the diverse personalities, backgrounds and experiences of people, connecting requires a deeper understanding of what is common to all.  The average person experiences discomfort with the idea of having to meet and connect with new people.  I admit, knowing that this is common to most people has been a huge support for me.  It has allowed me to step into my confidence and be the “brave” person that initiates and reaches out first. 

Tony Robbins has a wonderful model that also helps us to connect with others.  His model talks to the six human needs and how each of us has all of the needs.  He also explains that the ranking of the needs is different for each of us.  Despite this, if I want to connect with others, having the six human needs as my “blueprint” provides me with the confidence to initiate a conversation (connect) with someone I have only just met.  Here are the six human needs:

  • Certainty = Assurance that you can avoid pain and gain pleasure
  • Uncertainty/variety = The need for the unknown, change, new stimuli and adventure
  • Significance = Feeling unique, of value, important, special or needed.  Also the ability to operate independently
  • Connection/Love = Strong feeling of closeness or union with someone or something
  • Growth = Expansion of capacity, capability and or understanding.  Learning and becoming better.
  • Contribution = A sense of service and focus on helping, giving to and supporting others.

These needs provide a framework through which we can connect with and begin to build relationships.

Even knowing and understanding the six human needs, social intelligence is a skill that seems to either come easily or is incredibly difficult.  The good news is that social intelligence can be learnt.  Caring and considering others is part of being human.  Social intelligence asks that we expand the pool of people we care about and consider when we are making decisions, gaining buy-in and achieving our business goals.    It is about understanding people’s emotions, motivations and behaviours.  It includes improving our communication, handling conflict constructively and building a healthy and dynamic team that is empowered. 

As leaders, the “sales skill” to get our ideas bought into and the flexibility skill to listen to others’ ideas and adjust our own are both elements of social intelligence.  Understanding what will motivate and empower another person and building these aspects into our solutions, strategies and approaches are all key to thriving in the modern world.  Even one-man businesses need to understand their suppliers and customers to be able to succeed. 

Here are some tips on how to become social intelligence fit:

a. Develop Empathy: Put yourself in others’ shoes to understand their perspectives and emotions. Empathy fosters trust and strengthens relationships.

b. Enhance Listening Skills: Actively listen to others without interrupting. Pay attention to both verbal and non-verbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice.

c. Practice Effective Communication: Be clear, concise, and respectful in your communication. Tailor your message to your audience, ensuring it resonates with them.

d. Cultivate Self-Awareness: Reflect on your own emotions, motivations, and reactions. Understanding yourself better allows you to relate to others more authentically.

e. Seek Feedback: Ask for feedback from colleagues and peers. Constructive criticism can highlight areas for improvement and accelerate your social intelligence growth.

f.  Take the risk and try:  Social intelligence is learnt through trial and error.  Take the risk and observe the results.  Some experiments will succeed, and some won’t but each time you take a step, you will learn what your personal style of social intelligence looks and feels like.

In the intricate tapestry of business, social intelligence stands as a guiding light, illuminating the path to meaningful connections, effective leadership, and enduring success. By recognizing its importance and nurturing it within us and our teams, we can transform the way we interact, collaborate, and innovate. Embracing social intelligence not only makes businesses more productive and sustainable but also creates a workplace where individuals can thrive and contribute their best. So, let’s embark on this journey, building businesses that not only survive but flourish in the realm of social intelligence.

Leave a reply