We are all familiar with that one employee whom we know as a really talented and hardworking who will never get promoted. We know that he is intelligent but something tells us that he will never be a manager. Those qualities that we think are missing in him are called social skills. These are the skills or traits that have nothing to do with someone’s individual intelligence but everything to do with their success.
Psychologists have started terming this as Emotional Quotient (EQ) and frequently compare its role in the improvement of human beings, with respect to Intelligence Quotient (IQ). According to them, while a person’s IQ tells us his levels of intelligence and information-processing speed, it’s a person’s EQ that puts him in control of his feelings and teaches him to handle complex situations. It has become a wide practice to use EQ as an evaluation tool for job applicants because companies know that simply hiring people based on their talent and skills only will not get them employees who will understand the working culture of the company.
Social Intelligence teaches people the skills of addressing individual differences positively, instead of avoiding them and running away from them. In large organizations, processes will cease to function properly if people started having issues while working with one another. Effective conflict resolution, successful negotiation and enhancing personal and professional relationships are all the foremost objectives of Social Intelligence.
Social Intelligence makes us more adaptive to our social environment and be flexible as per the needs of the people in our surroundings. Being flexible means understanding the issues the other person is facing and seeing if it’s possible to make any change in your schedule so that you benefit, while being in total command over the choice you are going to make. This is different from passively agreeing to others’ whims, where you don’t have any control over the actins you are partaking in. Being flexible increases your understanding power and helps you develop smooth and productive working relationships with co-workers.
A good example of companies practicing Social Intelligence is Zappos, an online shoe and footwear apparel shopping site. As Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com would tell you, "If you get the culture right, then most of the other stuff, like great customer service or building a brand will just happen naturally." The company has internalized ten core values that they say, define the working culture at Zappos.com.
Interestingly, it’s not the CEO, but the employees themselves who decide what the company’s culture should be and how it should evolve. The managers at Zappos.com strive constantly to deliver a working environment for their employees that gives them ample freedom and space. According to Hsieh, the company selects candidates for jobs based on how much they can formalize the company’s culture. He says, “We’ve actually passed on a lot of really talented people that we know would make an impact to our top or bottom line, but if you know they’re not a culture fit we won’t hire them.”
There are cases of people working with Zappos.com who were fired even if they were doing their jobs perfectly if they were found to have not worked as per the company’s culture. The company’s ten core values are seen in effect in everything the company does. Likewise, he explains the company will fire people even if they’re doing their job perfectly if they’re bad for the culture.
Zappos Family has ten core values to more clearly define what exactly the Zappos Family culture is. They are −
If you observe closely, you will realize that the qualities the people at Zappos.com are actually formalizing in their company are all those that enhance a person’s Social Intelligence. The reason this is so important in their organization is because they have seen that people with a well-developed EQ are more successful at the workplace.
People with high social intelligence understand the emotions of other people and are also able to control their own emotional responses to these situations. They can know why people behave the way they do. They understand different points of view and know how to respond to conflicting situations with calmness and composure. These qualities make a person an ideal employee and this why people who compete for jobs realize that social intelligence cannot be taken for granted. It brings balance and a sense of perspective in one’s life and thus, is very essential to the growth of individuals.
What would be the benefit of improving the social intelligence of employees in an organization? Sample this. After integrating a six-month training process called “Emotional Intelligence for New Managers” to their training program, FedEx reported an 8-11% increase in core leadership competencies. Over half the participants have shown very large (10-50%) improvements in their emotional intelligence skills, like leadership abilities. 72% of the program participants are exhibiting tremendous improvement in their decision making skills, over 60% report a better quality of life and 58% show much-improved decision-making skills.