In our growing up years, a great deal of importance was given to our Intelligence Quotient and most of the time, we get to hear that to be successful in our lives we need to have a high IQ.
Now let’s change the story a little bit- Look around, what do you see? Countless exceptions to this rule everywhere be it a professional or personal environment, right? One of my colleagues in office is brilliant when it comes to looking at any data analysis or preparing presentations for any kind of meetings or reviews. If we go by the general notion of high IQ leads to success, this person should be highly successful in his career. However, in the reality that’s the not case. There is no issue with some of the other component we are being told are necessary to be successful like discipline, commitment towards work, flexibility etc. So comes the big question, What is stopping his growth then? Believe it or not but it’s his inability to build a relationship and understanding the social setting is one of the biggest reason which is the way of this otherwise brilliant and high potential (as we call in our corporate world) from being successful in his professional life & personal life.
For the longest period, it was believed that intelligence is single dimensional but numerous studies and researches have proved that it is multi-dimensional. You have your general intelligence (GI) which is primarily basis genetics, then you have emotional intelligence (EI) which is largely the capability of a person to manage and control his or her own emotions/ feelings and then you have social intelligence which talks about a person’s ability to build relationships, to connect with others and maneuver in different social situations. Some studies suggest that social intelligence is an extension of EI which could be partly accurate but the basic differentiator between emotional & social intelligence is first one is more intrapersonal and later is high on interpersonal skills & both are necessary for our overall wellbeing & success.
While there are various psychological studies revolving around importance of SI, there is almost same number of neuroscience studies which proves that our brain is wired to connect, be it the spindle cell ( fastest acting neuron) which helps our brain in taking social decisions (mind it human brain contains the highest number of spindle cells) or the mirror neuron which subconsciously mimics the behavior of people around us and help us understand how the other person is feeling (heard about being empathetic, now you know the science behind it)
Some of the key elements of social intelligence are conversational skills, listening skills, understanding of the social set-up and various roles you end up playing in these set-ups basically social awareness and social facility. When you think about social awareness, think about empathy, attunement, and social cognition, all of this summarizes your response to others. When it comes to the social facility, it’s the ability to drive smooth interactions; this is where you will leverage your conversational skills, ability to influence and self-presentation.
You will ask Why does it matter? Well, it’s no brainer that our relationship affects every part of our lives- personal or professional. We are social species and we nourish with the aid of strong and positive relationships. If you are someone with high SQ, chances of you being more successful professionally and happier personally are way higher than someone with low SQ. Think it from this perspective, if you don’t have a positive relationship with your spouse, how much additional stress you would be carrying all the time. How does SQ help you in improving this relationship; first, you will be more aware of your spouse trigger points (social awareness), once you are aware and you understand how it’s making him/ her feel then you can manage the situation by having a fruitful and effective discussion. Now imagine this, you and your better half living in harmony, in sync with each other, aren’t you already feeling heavenly even imagining this outcome of putting your SQ to use.
The good thing is unlike IQ which is something you are born with, SQ can be learned and with effort and dedication you can up your SQ. All we need to ensure is that we give it the due priority to enhancing our SQ and pave the way to more fruitful life.