Social intelligence - A different kind of "smart"

publication date: Feb 23, 2012
author/source: Lisa MacDonald
In our daily social interactions, there are people we like and some people whose company we do not enjoy.  We encounter these people at work, in our family and in personal relationships.

People who seem to cope better with these situations are generally thought to have good "people skills."  Karl Albrecht would argue that this general stereotype overlooks the significance of real social intelligence (SI). In the introduction to his book, social intelligence: The New Science of Success, he expresses his warning using ancient zen philosophy - "The biggest obstacle to learning something new is the belief that you already know it."

Albrecht frames his understanding of social intelligence in five distinct dimensions, or categories of competence:  S.P.A.C.E includes -

  1. Situational Awareness. Think of this dimension as a kind of "social radar," or the ability to read situations and to interpret the behaviours of people in those situations.
  2. Presence. Often referred to as "bearing," presence incorporates a range of verbal and nonverbal patterns, one's appearance, posture, voice quality, subtle movements - a whole collection of signals others process into an evaluative impression of a person.
  3. Authenticity. The social radars of other people pick up various signals from our behaviour that lead them to judge us as honest, open, ethical, trustworthy, and well-intentioned - or inauthentic.
  4. Clarity. Our ability to explain ourselves, illuminate ideas, pass data clearly and accurately, and articulate our views and proposed courses of action, enables us to get others to cooperate with us.
  5. Empathy. Going somewhat beyond the conventional connotation, consider empathy a state of connectedness with another person, which creates the basis for positive interaction.

This book offers detailed chapters on each dimension, illustrated with good humour and practical example as well as simple assessment procedures to determine your SI skills and preferences. 

The concept of social intelligence is not just for personal interactions - it has very real applications to the workplace. Whatever your personal or professional goals, a brush-up on social intelligence is a good place to start.

Purchase social intelligence for only $23.95.

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