The topic of emotional intelligence (EQ) continues to dominate leadership conversations. Rightly so. However, in a Harvard Business Review (HBR) article that highlighted research by Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis (experts on the topic), EQ is only the beginning.
Whereas EQ has an emphasis on individual psychology, there is a more relationship-based version called social intelligence. Social Intelligence, as defined by Goleman and Boyatizis, is a set of interpersonal competencies built on specific neural circuits and responses that inspire others to be effective. In other words, based on neuroscience and biology, there are certain leadership behaviors that elicit positive emotional responses in your team members.
Although there are a few, one important neurological discovery that supports the importance of social intelligence are "mirror neurons." In short, a mirror neuron fires in social situations telling our brains to mimic, or "mirror," what someone else does. That's why you might find yourself copying people's body language or drawing off of other's energy. As you can imagine, this research has extraordinary significance in organizations especially for those in a position to influence others.
To ensure that you set the right tone. Here seven traits, from the same HBR article, to gauge your social intelligence and ensure that you're leading by example:
Great leaders are cognizant and receptive of others' needs, backgrounds, and motivators. They listen objectively and make sure not to pass any preconceived judgments. They are understanding and use compassion to relate to employees and then redirect them down the right path.
Socially adept managers actively listen to others and consider their feelings. They tune into their employees' frequencies and adjust to their approach to match their communications style, therefore, maximizing their effectiveness.
3. Organizational Awareness
Leaders with a high social quotient appreciate the importance of values and advocate for them across their team/organization. They recognize unspoken norms and adjust their styles to fit within the company's culture.
This refers to a manager's ability to motivate and persuade others. When leveraging social intelligence, a manager can uncover and appeal to their staff's self-interest. They can learn what makes them tick and find ways to incorporate their passions into their responsibilities.
5. Developing Others
In the words of Kevin Spacey, "If you're lucky enough to do well, it's your responsibility to send the elevator back down." Emotionally and socially mature leaders coach and mentor others with kindness. They realize the need and willingly take others under their wing.
Managers who are emotionally and socially mindful are able to articulate a compelling vision that builds group pride while simultaneously bringing out the best in people. They are able to explain why work matters and directly connect individual and team passions with organizational goals.
7. Team player
The socially intelligent understand the importance of team cooperation as a means to form bonds and increase morale. They appreciate the team's dynamics and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to provide input.
Although these seven traits don't seem measurable, Goleman and Boyatzis's research showed a large performance gap between socially intelligent and socially unintelligent leaders. If you feel like you've exhausted all other options to maximize your team's performance, then redirect the focus to yourself and develop these vital leadership attributes.