Whether you’re leading as a parent or in the workplace, the quality of your leading depends on the quality of your social awareness. Social awareness or social intelligence is described by Daniel Goleman as the ability to successfully build relationships, and navigate social environments. How socially intelligent are you are as a leader in family and work? Nine qualities of a socially intelligent leader are listed below. Start to cultivate great social awareness by integrating these qualities into your leading.
You are aware of your own biases and understand that your perspective is a subjective reflection of your personal experiences, beliefs and values. Therefore you don’t interpret your opinion as ‘fact’, and can view situations through an objective lens.
2. Effective Listening
Putting yourself aside, including your self-talk, you can give yourself completely to listening to another. Listening with your ears, eyes and heart, you know how to step into another’s experience as if it were your own, taking in physiological cues as well as tone and words.
You are principled and act with integrity. Knowing you are a part of a larger whole you have awareness of how your presence and actions impact others. You are guided by peoples motivations rather than their behaviour.
Intrinsically motivated by purpose, you are not driven from a need to portray a particular image and role or be seen by others a certain way. You take full responsibility for your words, actions, feelings and thoughts.
You seek to understand where another person is coming from without rationalising or owning that persons feelings, thoughts or actions. You can provide objective and clear feedback without personalising or feeling the need to offer an opinion.
6. Emotional Regulation
You understand and own your emotions and emotional response. Recognising that you create your meaning from your emotions you take responsibility for choosing how you respond in any given situation. Rather than avoiding your emotional response, you feel your emotions as a way of deepening self-understanding.
7. Resourceful Communication
You communicate with specificity rather than using generalisations, and respond according to the situation at hand rather than reacting from past experiences and habituated patterns.
8. Comfort with Conflict and Tension
Providing the space for another to express their perspective, you can hold that persons perspective as if it were your own, whether or not it aligns with yours. You ask yourself ‘how could it be possible that this perspective is also true?’. Rather than experiencing conflict and tension as a threat, you view it as an opportunity for strengthening relationships and achieving greater understanding.
9. Recognise Boundaries
You recognise your limits and personal boundaries, communicating and managing them assertively. Likewise you are intuitive to the boundaries of others.