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Social & Emotional Intelligence

optimal LIVING • Aristotle group

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Over the past 18 months, I have had the privilege to work with a team focused on expanding their capacity and performance.

 

 We recently used a tool called TESI (Team Emotional and Social Intelligence). As our session came to a close one of the participants, ironically, received an e-mail with a link to a story on the power of emotional intelligence.
 

The focus of the story was a man who secured significant funding from Congress in a most unusual way. In a mere six minute pitch, he successfully secured $20 million in funding for PBS and won over his audience in the process.
 

You may be surprised to learn that this savvy political influencer was Fred Rogers, the legendary host of PBS’s long running children’s show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” How did he do this? He used significant emotional and social intelligence in an authentic way. A video of Mr. Rogers’ presentation can be viewed on YouTube by searching “Mr. Rogers Congress.”
 

What does it mean to be smart? How important is intelligence in determining success? Is IQ the only measure of intelligence?
 

Studies as early as 1920 identified a concept called “social intelligence” and the ‘40s saw the intoduction of the idea of “emotional intelligence” to describe such qualities as understanding one’s own feelings, empathy for the feelings of others and the regulation of emotion. In 1995, Harvard psychologist and New York Times science writer Daniel Goleman popularized the concept and introduced the abbreviation EQ.
 

Researchers generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ accounts for only about 20 percent. Emotional and social intelligence may help to explain the unusual finding that people with the highest levels of IQ outperform those with an average IQ just 20 percent of the time. Intelligence refers to the ability to think abstractly, recognize patterns, use reason, and apply knowledge.
 

Intelligence has been divided into two broad categories: “cold,” focused on cognitive skills of reasoning, analytical and rational thought; and “hot,” focused on motivation, emotion and personal and social issues.
 

Our brains are hard-wired to give emotions an upper hand. Primary senses enter the brain at the spinal cord and travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are processed prior to reaching our frontal lobe, where rational and logical thinking occurs.
 

The limbic system manages “hot” information while the frontal lobe manages “cold” information.
 

Social Intelligence, encompassing personal and emotional intelligence, is a core value. Knowing our highest-held values is helpful in managing our engagement and performance as well as explaining our response to different situations. A person who has social intelligence as one of their top values will react very strongly when that value is violated. Conversely, they will be highly engaged when that value is honored.
 

If you are interested in determining your unique set of core values, the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS) takes approximately 30 minutes and results in a printable report providing a rank order of strengths.
 

The VIA-IS can be accessed free of charge at www.authentichappiness.orgwww.authentichappiness.org.
 

While many models of emotional and social intelligence have emerged over the past 15 years, most contain some variation of the components originally identified by Daniel Goleman in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence:

Self-Awareness - ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives
Self-Regulation - ability to control or redirect impulses, suspend judgment and think before acting
Motivation - propensity to pursue goals with energy and passion
Empathy - ability to recognize and respond to emotions in others
Social Skill - proficiency in establishing rapport, managing relationships, and building networks
 

According to Goleman, “emotional competencies are twice as important to people’s success today as raw intelligence or technical know-how.” Some of the most effective leadership development efforts focus on self-awareness and the capacity to build mutually satisfying relationships.
 

Similar to the role that emotional and social intelligence plays in individual success, it is also a key determinant’s of team success. The most effective teams display effective emotional and social intelligence.
 

Research and practice clearly demonstrate that emotional intelligence can be learned. While emotional intelligence increases with age, we can take purposeful action to increase it as well.
 

According to Goleman, “research indicates that the limbic system learns best through motivation, extended practice and feedback.” Emotional intelligence can be developed through a sincere desire (motivation) and concerted effort (practice and feedback).
 

 

Gordon Parry is the President of Aristotle Group, a firm dedicated to helping individuals, teams, and organizations achieve their full potential. In 2005, Gordon was one of 35 students selected globally to complete the first graduate program in the new field of applied positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

gordon.parry@aristotlegroup.net
www.aristotlegroup.net

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