I always believe that happy and fearless employees produce greater results and it reflects in their productivity scale, efficiency levels and the entire disposition. A buoyant office atmosphere implies that your employees are beaming with confidence, humility, knowledge, poise, enthusiasm, and congeniality. They love to talk, help others, crack a silly joke, party hard, and work harder!
However, every office has some employees who avoid interacting with others. They have their own reasons behind this aloofness and indifference – some call it their love for privacy, for some it is introversion, some give an excuse of being busy, and then there are those who find it difficult to break the walls that they build around themselves. Although space is important for all of us to grow without suffocating, it’s pretty lonely at the top if you don’t have your comrades with you.
As a matter of fact, organizations are expected to cultivate a more intelligent and emotionally connected workplace where we learn to hit a balance between personal space and professional bonding. This is where Social Intelligence comes into play. Organizations that embrace Social Intelligence as a pivotal part of their corporate culture have the capability to sort out multiple employee issues, effortlessly!
What exactly is Social Intelligence?
It was the American psychologist named Edward Thorndike who first brought the concept of Social Intelligence to the forefront in the year 1920. As per his definition, it is “The ability to understand and manage men and women and boys and girls, to act wisely in human relations.”
In simple layman terms, it is our ability to act, speak and listen to others with intelligence and tact and without any preconceived notions or judgements. It is not taught in schools or colleges; it is collected wisdom that one learns over a period of time through life experiences.
Socially intelligent individuals are sensitive towards others’ feelings, they are open to ideas apart from their own, they are unbiased, they talk and act sensibly without jumping to conclusions, and they are avid listeners. These people seem to be calm and self-assured even in the midst of chaos and pressures and will act totally in control in a larger crowd.
Now, imagine how your office can turn into the best place under the sun if most of your co-workers would possess this skill and acumen! It will not only breed healthy relationships but can ease out most of the work-related frustrations and stress, which otherwise can lead to employee depression, inefficiencies, and a higher attrition rate!
“The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions.” – John Hancock
Social Intelligence is not just a theory
It is a way of life – especially at our workplace where we spend most of the day. After all, who would want to come across as a serious-looking snob who hardly looks at anyone except the laptop! It is easy to be unapproachable, but it is fun to be approachable by all.
Your social intelligence is your ability to gel well with people around you and your aptitude to build strong and cognitive relationships with them. According to management consultant and author Albrecht “a lack of social intelligence can doom even the best and brightest in the workforce”.
The significance is immense
Basically, social intelligence at the workplace is more than just getting along with people. It defines how good you are at developing relationships with people that can build confidence in them. It creates an overall atmosphere where everyone works harder and performs better with enhanced commitment and productivity. This also leads to an office with less conflicts.
Social intelligence makes us emotionally responsible and well-connected people who are fully capable of motivating, encouraging, and inspiring fellow colleagues not only to work harder and perform better, but also to cultivate an ambiance of trust, love, and wisdom in the workplace.
Having the skill to deal with people from various backgrounds and beliefs with compassion is an art everyone should embrace, as it is one of the most essential ingredients of professional success and personal happiness.
“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” – Confucius
The keyword lies in ‘Empathy’
Now, the question is…how to become more socially intelligent towards our fellow employee and express genuine empathy towards them? These 10 simple steps can help you in the long run.
- Avoid being biased and prejudiced: Get rid of your personal biases, prejudices and thought process and be more welcoming to others’ ideas, insights and open. Look at things from people’s views.
- Don’t judge colleagues based on your beliefs and preferences: You might have acquired beliefs and inclinations based on your own experiences and likings but don’t force others to accept them.
- Apply Design Thinking in your day-to-day life: Analyse a given problem and take the following tactical steps:
- Test to solve it
- Start looking at things from others’ viewpoints: It’s important to sometimes keep differences away and look at situations from others’ viewpoint. This offers multiple solutions to a given issue.
- Do take criticisms constructively: Keep your negative emotions like ego, jealousy, insecurities, greed, and anger at bay when you enter the workplace. Most of your disputes are born out of them.
- Stick to your commitment once it’s made: Be a person of your word and don’t give excuses that you were busy, so you overlooked your previously made promises. It breaks trust and reliance!
- Feel free to communicate openly: Ensure to share your opinions openly and find time to listen to your co-workers challenges, fears and worries. It always helps to heal a heavy heart by being all ears!
- Always carry your smile wherever you go: Remember, people won’t know about your personal struggles and hence they wouldn’t deserve your harsh words. Smile and the world will smile at you!
- Come out of your comfort zone: Being an introvert and retreating in your shell doesn’t always help. Try to mingle with others, break the ice and let go of past disagreements. It’s good to forget and forgive!
- Inspire, encourage and motivate people: It’s beautiful to inspire people to do something unique and follow their heart, encourage them to go the extra mile, motivate them to get the best done and appreciate them generously for even the slightest achievement.
Together, we can make our workplace an interesting and fun place where we all would look forward to coming every morning!