Consider a scenario where you have two candidates for a leadership position. Both are highly respected in their fields. How do you know which candidate to hire?

Companies often use IQ tests to measure a person’s worth for a position. But IQ measures just one facet of a person’s capability. A range of other factors contribute to our competence – and two powerful contributors are our emotional and social intelligence.

Emotional intelligence: it’s about me

Emotional intelligence is being able to understand and manage your own emotions. This gives you the ability to recognise and understand how others feel.

People with highly developed emotional intelligence can:

  • Perceive emotions
  • Facilitate thought using emotions
  • Understand emotions
  • Manage emotions

Being emotionally intelligent means taking the next step – responding with appropriate action to improve the situation.

Cultivating emotional intelligence

The following steps will help to develop your own emotional intelligence:

Become self-aware: Recognise what you’re doing and feeling and consider how you react.

Practice self-regulation: Learn how to channel your emotions positively.

Recognise emotions in others: Empowered with the capability to recognise your own feelings, you can now recognise them in others and interpret them.

Motivate yourself: Motivate yourself to develop your EI skills, and in turn, you’ll develop self-belief and empowerment.

Social intelligence – it’s about everyone else

Social intelligence refers to the capacity to communicate and form relationships with empathy and assertiveness. It’s being able to understand other people – how they work and what motivates them. It also refers to how you present yourself and shape your interactions with others.

There are two aspects of SI:

Social awareness includes noticing non-verbal cues; listening with full responsiveness; correctly interpreting others’; and understanding society and its norms.

Social facility includes how we interact non-verbally; our own self-presentation; how we help shape the outcome of social interactions; and genuine concern for others.

Cultivating social intelligence

You can develop your social intelligence through the following steps:

Understand yourself: Acknowledge how you respond and react around others. Understand your strengths and weaknesses to help identify areas you can improve.

Pay attention to others: Be fully engaged when interacting with others. Listen to what they’re saying, notice their reactions, and recognise warning signs.

Improve your communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal: Learn to convey your ideas through effective communication. Use appropriate body language, maintain eye contact, and learn to articulate your ideas freely.

Develop socially appropriate responses: Understand the social norms of your environment to respond accordingly.

A tale of two candidates

In summary, it would be wise to consider the emotional and social intelligence of both candidates before making a final decision.

Leaders with high social and emotional intelligence can connect and motivate their teams with ease. Their skills help to foster an environment where people not only want to work, but want to work together. Doesn’t that sound like a great place to work?

Talk to us at The People Practice for an emotional and social intelligence course and coaching. We’d love to help you create connection and inspire change in your workplace.