Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships

Daniel Goleman, author of the book Working with Emotional Intelligence, speaks at Google about his research into our social intelligence and it’s effects on human relationships.

It’s about an hour long so if you’d prefer to read the key points here they are:

Research into the difference between star performers and average performers in the Tech sector has shown six key factors which differentiate them.  Stars performers…

  1. have a singular drive to achieve, a high internal success metric, and they like to keep score
  2. are strong influencers, are able to form persuasive arguments, and can easily taylor their presentations to the audience based on how they are responding
  3. show strong pattern recognition – the ability to uncover the underlying problems and connections
  4. are good at analysis – understanding the scope of a problem and being about to break it down
  5. tend to take on challenges without being asked
  6. are self-confident and enjoy the freedom and autonomy to act

Points 1, 2, 5, & 6 are connected to emotional intelligence while points 3 & 4 have to do with their cognitive abilities.

Goleman went into further detail about the functional ways that the emotional intelligence is affecting us in our day-to-day lives:

  1. Self-awareness – when we have a thought our emotional centers help us to determine between alternatives through our experience.  This is important in decisions that require ethics or integrity in that the decision is based on our “gut feeling.”
  2. Managing Emotions (Self-regulation) – not managing all of our emotions, strictly the ones that are crippling, destructive, and inhibiting. The ability to manage our emotions connects directly to our motivations (delayed gratification being a strong example).  This also affects our ability to learn as it is dependent on the brain’s ability to concentrate which is very difficult when we are consumed with disturbing emotions
  3. &  4. Empathy & Social Skills – it turns out that our brains are wired to connect with the social brain of others in interactions; there is an emotional subtext to every human interaction.  One study showed that effective leaders laugh three times more in interactions with their direct reports when compared to ineffective leaders.

Here is a quick rundown of the five areas of Emotional Intelligence:

  1. Self-awareness: knowing what we are feeling in the moment and using those preferences to guide our decision making; having a realistic assessment of our own abilities and a well-grounded sense of self-confidence
  2. Self-regulation: Handling our emotions so that they facilitate rather than interfere with the task at hand; being conscientious and delaying gratification to pursue goals; recovering well from emotional distress
  3. Motivation: Using our deepest preferences to move and guide us toward our goals, to help us take initiative and strive to improve and to persevere in the face of setbacks and frustrations
  4. Empathy: Sensing what people are feeling, being able to take their perspective, and cultivating rapport and attunement with a broad diversity of people.
  5. Social Skills/Awareness of Others: Handling emotions in relationships well and accurately reading social situations and networks; interacting smoothly using these skills to persuade and lead, negotiate and settle disputes, for cooperation and teamwork. 
Mike Desjardins

Mike is a a graduate of UBC’s Sauder School of Business with a Bachelors of Commerce, Mike has spent the past 21 years transforming businesses.

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