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Social Intelligence

Social IntelligenceSunday, November 16, 2014

Continuing on the emotions spectrum which included feelings/intuition and empathy, there is also a skill called social intelligence which is different from emotional intelligence. I’m not an expert on this topic so I had to go look it up to get the gist of what social intelligence is about.

Here are a couple of links to sites that explain social intelligence:

http://www.aboutintelligence.co.uk/social-intelligence.html

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_intelligence

http://karlalbrecht.com/siprofile/siprofiletheory.htm

(I’m not sure if the link to the last one will work, even though I sent it directly from the site.)

My understanding of the difference between emotional intelligence and social intelligence is that emotional intelligence pertains to your ability to control or handle your own emotions whereas social intelligence is the ability to get along with people as well as motivate and convince them.

Based upon that understanding, I can see how humans have a leg up over computers in this area. Also, I would imagine that with the Earth holding 7 billion people and with the world becoming more globalized everyday through the use of the Internet and social media, the ability to understand and get along with different types of people will be critical. (Now I think I have read recently a few articles where we are not as globalized as we thought.)

Social intelligence will be important not only from a business perspective but also from a social perspective. Because of the Internet, people now can see what others have or don’t have. We have lots of social issues spanning from the causes that sprung ISIS, to the wrecked infrastructure that’s not able to deal with diseases such as Ebola, to the growing inequality around the world, especially in the developed economy. People who get lucky, such as the 1 percent, need to have the social intelligence and/or empathy to realize that such problems cannot go on in an environment where everybody has access to information via the Internet. As Nick Hanauer said in his TED talk, if the richest don’t do anything, don’t change their concept of capitalism to allow regular people to earn a decent living, the pitchfork will come for them.

From a business perspective, they have always needed people who could get along with others, figure out how to convince others, or simply sell the company’s story or products to consumers. We still need people to develop relationships and connections with consumers. I don’t see computers doing this well in the near future. If they ever do get to the point where we can’t tell the difference between  computers and human, then, well…I don’t want to think about it.

How do you learn social intelligence? Well, I don’t think that is taught today in schools. Instead memorization and recitation is the rule of the day, though that may be changing now. But I think such skills are developed in sports and social clubs. Here, people get together and associate together as a team to make things happen. The first site in the list of links above suggested that social intelligence can be learned and is best done in early childhood and adolescence.

I tried to find some information about learning social intelligence but I haven’t had success yet. The third link in the list above may have something but it sounded like it was for people training to provide the social intelligence test. Probably the first step is to take a test to see where you lie on the scale.

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