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Sociability- Never Underestimate Its Value

Upskilling, reskilling, more soft skills, and the need for a major mindset shift are a few leadership trends for 2020. Leaders are also challenged with addressing the embedded cultural assumptions that are brewing, bubbling, and on the verge of disruption that may lead to destruction in the workplace. In a podcast, "Redefining the Role of a Leader in the Reskilling Era," the conversation addressed how technology and AI are advancing at a pace where leaders are barely able to keep up. Although these issues are vital, it's not what keeps leaders up at night. It's not data overload even, it is talent retention. Although many studies may list other "insomnia induced" struggles, this is one of their top worries.

Reasons why top talent is leaving:

  1. Bullying boss

  2. Leaders who are MIA - rarely seen, always missing in action

  3. Disingenuous leaders

  4. Disengaged leaders

  5. Unethical / leadership behaving badly

The list goes on. We've heard this many times but the statistics say this is true, people want to be a part of something greater than themselves. They need to feel safe, they need to innovate and create. They have to feel as though they matter and what they bring to the table is valued. It's about feelings and no one wants to deal with feelings. It seems easier to discuss emotions. After all emotional intelligence (EQ or EI) particularly high EQ, is an extremely desirable leadership trait. Dealing with feelings causes you to get too close to people and that's can be too personal. We don't have time for that right? WRONG! We don't need to be intimately acquainted with our teams but we should be able to sense when something is wrong or they're not functioning at a level where you need them to be. It's ok to check-in with people and understand how they feel.

It's time to recognize SQ. Social Intelligence (SQ, SI) is a viable quality especially for leaders. Understand this is not a new concept. In 1920, a psychologist, Edward Thorndike, came up with the social intelligence theory. He defined social Intelligence as “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, and to act wisely in human relations”. SQ is about getting along with others. Daniel Goleman, the EQ guru, expands on this concept by stating SQ requires empathy and skilled interaction. What differentiates EQ from SQ, according to Goleman, is this, EQ is the ability to master oneself, whereas, an effective SQ leader relies on everyone else’s ability to be successful. This means the leader is in tune with others and not just themself. The leader has mastered the skill of active listening, being present and engaged with others, and the leader is highly empathetic. These skills are what contribute to the well being of employees/ stakeholders which leads to their being successful in their work.

Here are 10 Ways to Intentionally Integrate SQ into the work culture:

  1. Mindfulness - purposefully and calmly interacting with others, in tune with their feelings.

  2. Empathy - understanding what others experience, how they feel; relatability whether you like someone or not.

  3. Inquiry - get clarity if unsure of how someone is feeling; ask questions such as how are you? or are you ok?

  4. Awareness - an acknowledgment of other's feelings, experiences. Assure others they matter.

  5. Positivity - infuse optimism no matter how bleak a situation may be.

  6. Connection - make an effort to connect with your team.

  7. Listen - intently pay attention to what is said as well as what's not being said.

  8. Inclusivity - SQ is a tremendous aid to inclusive efforts; everyone is relevant.

  9. Communication - communicate expectations clearly, assess if the team understands, read body language, encourage others to communicate; encourage open dialogue.

  10. Humility - celebrate others more than yourself. Focus on building, inspiring, and motivating your team and their success more than your own.

Emotional intelligence and social intelligence are frequently used together because there are a few areas of overlap and these cognitive applications are complementary, however, there are distinguishing elements of SQ that should be employed when seeking ways to improve the work environment and the corporate culture. As a side bar, something else that should be included in this mix is the CSR (corporate social responsibility) aspect of good business. As organizations are improving how they show up in other countries and communities by taking initiatives to take care of the planet, becoming more carbon-neutral, taking care of their profits through more sustainable practices, SQ is an added benefit to the care of their people. When you make a concerted effort to take care of your people, you retain your talent and that's being sustainable.

Social Intelligence requires a purposeful application. Although it's very common for people to show compassion, concern, and empathy towards each other, many leaders do not display these feelings in the workplace. They don't want to be seen as weak or they don't want to get too close, or it may simply be too awkward or uncomfortable. Regardless of how it may make you feel, the reason for showing more emotions and expression of feelings is for the benefit of your team. Do you ultimately want to increase performance and profitability in your organization? Then invest more directly into the people. When people are the priority, the ROI will have a residual impact.


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Dr. E. Michelle Mickens, DSL, is CEO of Live 4 Change, LLC, a Christian-based, global strategic leadership development consultancy that brings transformational change in the lives of leaders and their organizations. Live 4 Change, LLC equip C-suite executives, managers, emerging and experienced leaders with the right tools through the leadership development system, Be 4 R.E.A.L. Leadership Series ™. We offer consultations, coaching, workshops, training programs, digital products and more. Live 4 Change, LLC programs, products, and services are designed to:

* address leadership and organizational gaps

* improve performance

* increase productivity

* Increase profits and support leaders

* fulfill their purpose

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