09 Jan The Interplay of Social Intelligence and Leadership Personal Development Coaching
The Interplay of Social Intelligence and Leadership
As a Systems Business Coach® focused on helping leaders improve their effectiveness, I found the Harvard Business Review article “Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership” (https://hbr.org/2008/09/social-intelligence-and-the-biology-of-leadership) highly insightful. It examines the direct connection between social intelligence (SQ) and leadership success.
While emotional intelligence (EQ) relates to understanding one’s own emotions, SQ focuses outward on reading the emotions and mental states of others. Both are crucial capacities, but SQ offers unique benefits for leaders needing to communicate, inspire and guide teams.
The authors detail research on “resonant” leadership styles that leverage SQ to build bonds and shared understanding. Such resonance contrasts with dissonant styles that ignore emotional/social cues and inhibit collaboration. Boosting SQ offers practical cultural and hiring advantages too. Rather than focus narrowly on standard metrics, also evaluate candidates’ ability to listen, empathize and build trust. Likewise, anonymously survey employee sentiment to identify leadership blind spots before they become problematic.
The 5-step SQ improvement process is especially compelling. Few leaders accurately self-assess – better to start by objectively diagnosing strengths/weaknesses using feedback. That insight, combined with the motivation and discipline to address one’s shortcomings, can fuel continuous leadership growth.
Based on the summary provided in the article, the 5-step SQ improvement process outlined in the article is:
- Do you care? Are you motivated? – To connect with others, it is important to have a personal stake in doing so. This step involves self-reflection on one’s motivation to improve social intelligence.
- Get some feedback – Use an anonymous rating system (i.e. anonymous survey) to garner feedback from employees. This gets objective input from others on your strengths and weaknesses.
- Look at the profile you have developed – Review the results of the anonymous feedback. Analyse what strengths and weaknesses have been identified.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses – Using your profile, determine what others believe your strengths and weaknesses are. The article notes it is difficult for leaders to self-assess accurately.
- Make a learning agreement with yourself – Create and execute a plan to work with these strengths and weaknesses to improve your social intelligence, leadership style and business success. The key is applying the insights to change behaviours and improve.
It involves soliciting anonymous feedback, diagnosing your current abilities based on that external input, focusing on key areas for improvement, and committing to make changes. The goal is enhancing social intelligence to boost leadership resonance, relationships, and results.
In today’s complex business environment, the old command-and-control paradigms no longer suffice. By mastering social intelligence and leading with emotional resonance, today’s business owners and leaders can thrive amid volatility and guide their organisations to greatness.
Small business owners rely heavily on interpersonal relationships, both within their team and with clients. Mastering social intelligence allows better understanding of employees’ needs and struggles, helping motivate and retain talent. It also enables reading client emotional cues to tailor services and forge loyal bonds. Honing one’s capacity for empathy, trust-building and communicating with resonance is crucial for entrepreneurial success.
As a Systems Business Coach®, I can guide clients through the 5-step SQ improvement process outlined in the article. We would start by collaborating on anonymous surveys to solicit unbiased feedback from their teams and stakeholders. Review results together to identity strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots. Then we would have a series of focused conversations around prioritising 1-2 developmental areas and setting specific goals for behaviour change. Check in regularly on progress and challenges. Positive outcome will provide affirmation, course correction, accountability, and celebration of milestones. This personalised, empathetic support fosters the self-awareness and commitment needed to enhance social intelligence over time.
The personal commitment to self-awareness and improvement is well worth it.
Whether you’re looking to take your business to the next level, start again with a fresh approach or if you just need someone to keep you accountable, I can help. Book a free discovery call with me by clicking here and let’s explore how coaching could accelerate your growth.