What’s your Social Intelligence?

What's your Social Intelligence?

Your social intelligence and ability to ‘read’ others can impact your career success.

Have you ever considered your social intelligence? Most of us know about IQ, or intelligence quotient, and some of us are aware of EQ, or emotional intelligence. But what about your social intelligence? I am reading Karl Albrecht’s book,  Social Intelligence, The New Science of Success, and am finding it fascinating. He defines SI as ‘.. the ability to get along well with others and to get them to cooperate with you.’ How does that play into your success – both in your professional as well as in your personal life? Because you can have a high IQ, but if you don’t have social intelligence, I wager that your success will be limited.

Some of the coaching clients I work with are incredibly smart – they’ve reached a level of career success most of us would be happy to achieve. And often, there is something holding them back from making a leap to the next level, or they are finding a certain situation (or person) challenging to deal with. What I find is that it can be related to their social intelligence – their ability to read people and situations, and then act or communicate appropriately.

I want to share with you Albrecht’s S.P.A.C.E. – The Skills of Interaction, and some things that may heighten your SI, or Social Intelligence!

There are five competencies related to your SI:

1. Situational awareness: the ability to read situations and people’s behaviors, a ‘social radar’ if you will.

2. Presence: your bearing, including your verbal and non-verbal patterns, including posture, voice, appearance, and a collection of signals that others process to make up an impression of you.

3. Authenticity: various signals we send that lead others to process whether we are open, honest, trustworthy, ethical, or not.

4. Clarity: our ability to express ourselves, ideas, or data clearly to get others to cooperate with us.

5. Empathy: Albrecht defines ’empathy’ as a shared connection between two people, a state of connectedness with another person, which creates the foundation for cooperation and positive interaction.

These five competencies make up our social intelligence. How can you improve your SI? As a coach, one of the things I help clients understand, is that ‘awareness’ is the first step. Before you can make a change, you need to be aware — whether it’s about a certain behavior, a particular group dynamic, or even your tone of voice.

Albrecht suggests a practice for increasing your awareness of social situations and interactions.

Mondays – pay attention to situational awareness. Observe others in various situations, as well as yourself. How are people interacting? Are they in-tune? Or does a response seem tone-deaf? Observe what works.

Tuesdays – pay attention to presence, both yours and others. How do you show up? What kind of presence are you bringing to your interactions?

Wednesdays – focus on authenticity. What is it about someone that causes you to feel they are truthful, honest, and open? Are you being authentic?

Thursdays – practice articulating your ideas with clarity, whether in your written communications or verbal conversations.

Fridays – develop empathy for others. How are you connected to those with whom you’re interacting?

By paying attention to these five elements of social intelligence, you can develop your ‘social radar.’ Evaluate what works best, and where you might need to make changes to improve the quality of your personal interactions. I’ll be trying this out, and will share what I see. I look forward to hearing about your observations!



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Larry Snyder, Author
8 years ago

This is a set of fantastic ideas and challenges me to really think about a couple of upcoming opportunities that includes small, medium, and large audiences. I believe Wed/Thurs are the days my work could use the most upside.

I’m grateful you shared this at just the right time. Thank you Margo.

Margo Myers Communications
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