The power of the hard skills, such as problem-solving and verbal skills, logic, or programming, the soft skills, such as recognizing emotions, understanding relationships, or listening effectively, help us maintain friendships, maintain happiness at work and simply enjoy life. Despite countless studies revealing their undeniable benefits, these skills, also known as social intelligence, are often ignored in schools.
Learning social intelligence skills is something everyone can do. Genetics or biology are not involved, though some people may be more prone to developing them.
A person with social intelligence can understand social signals, monitor, and manage their emotions, and adapts to multiple social situations. In the following, you will get acquainted with this topic. It is interesting to know that social intelligence also can be very effective in self-confidence.
Social intelligence is the capacity to know oneself and to know others. Social Intelligence develops from experience with people and learning from success and failures in social settings. It is more commonly referred to as “tact”, “common sense“, or “street smarts”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_intelligence
What are the benefits of developing social intelligence?
The majority of us develop these skills at some point in our adult lives.
The first signs of social intelligence appear as early as the sixth week of life in humans. Social environments usually become more complex and demanding as we age. They require sophisticated skills and abilities that don’t come naturally to most people-they need to be taught.
We become responsible and capable as adults, and we can significantly benefit from gaining new social skills. Many people believe social intelligence is something you “get.” Because it isn’t directly related to profit and financial progress (although indirect), its importance and benefits are often overlooked.
When we develop social intelligence, there are many benefits to our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Social Intelligence Make Adaptability
We live in a rapidly changing world. When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have learned that skills and knowledge are essential, but what’s more important for survival and mental sanity is adapting to new situations and maintaining a positive attitude when faced with challenges.
Your ability to manage complex changing social environments, as well as your emotions, will increase the more you develop your social intelligence.
Social Intelligence Make Personal Health
Since social intelligence is about understanding communication and decoding emotional signals, and understanding ourselves and others’ emotions, it gives us tools for achieving a higher level of personal and emotional well-being.
A high level of social intelligence supports optimism, positive affect, and overall life satisfaction. People with more social connections, who are optimistic, are less likely to face mental health problems, have fewer stressors, and are consequently better physically.
Social Intelligence Make Success at Work
Last but not least, one of the most prevalent misconceptions about social intelligence is that it has nothing to do with economic success. When it comes to career success, workplace adaptability, emotional self-regulation, understanding other people’s complex emotions, building fruitful relationships, and teamwork, along with many skills and traits linked to productivity, can play an important role.
As a result, more and more employers value social intelligence over IQ scores.
In Vicky Wallis, head of human resources at Santander company, competencies related to social intelligence–such as teamwork, communication, and social skills–are the most valuable assets that a person can bring to an organization. Some employers may value this more than decision-making, writing, or initiative.
How to Improve Social Intelligence?
- Pay Attention to Your Surrounding
We typically move from one social situation to another on autopilot. Switching off makes it easy to be only half present or rely on our own needs. To improve your social intelligence skills, you must be present in the moment and attentive to other people.
Watch the facial expressions of people as they speak. As a practice, you can consider what other people are talking about, who they are, and how they feel based on what you observe.
- Listen to What You Feel
When it comes to an understanding a variety of social situations, our bodies and emotional reactions are often a great resource. We rarely consider why we suddenly get a stomachache or why we feel sleepy at the beginning of meetings with specific clients.
Whether it’s an awkward feeling with someone or a sudden surge of energy you’re experiencing with another, it’s good to stop and think about what it is that you’re feeling and why.
- Respect Others’ Culture
You can expand your views and relativize some of your beliefs if you are exposed to the opinions of other cultures, even if you live in a homogenous culture. The practice of tolerance and challenging our perspectives can significantly contribute to our growth as individuals.
Culture can also refer to differences in background, political views, sexual orientations, gender, etc.
- Active Listening is Important
It may seem simple, as all you need to do is listen, but so many of us don’t practice active listening. Listening actively and mindfully requires 100% focus on the person you’re talking to, remembering what they’re saying, asking for clarification, commenting on their words, avoiding interrupting, and observing their facial and bodily cues.
- Appreciate Your Loved Ones
Many of us take our loved ones for granted, especially those who love us back. We think that they’re always there.
A socially intelligent person appreciates the people they love by cultivating deep interpersonal relationships.
You can send a thank-you letter to someone who has significantly impacted your life, or you can simply ensure that you’re there for them when they need you. You’ll know what’s right if you engage all your senses. Sometimes they won’t ask directly.
Even though we are naturally predisposed to develop social intelligence from the time we’re babies, there seems to be a correlation between some people being more receptive to social cues than others and the fact that we must train these skills.
As human culture develops, so does social functioning, and it requires practice and forethought. In the end, everything comes naturally, but before it does, we have to be exposed to social situations, analyze them, and invest effort into learning how to act. What is your idea about this? Do you know a solution that can increase human social intelligence?