Sunday, November 17

How socially intelligent are you?

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HERE’S a common scenario: during a group assignment in college or a project at work, you find yourself in an argument with your teammates.

This can be due to a member saying something that has upset the other, another refusing to compromise with an action plan, or no one in the team is listening at all.

In such instances, you and your team members may need to improve your social intelligence.

The theory of social intelligence dates back to the 1920s. Sometimes called people skills, tact, or street smarts, it refers to the ability to effectively interact with people, navigate social environments, and build relationships.

Social intelligence involves an individual being aware and able to comprehend social situations and dynamics, as well as having interpersonal skills and strategies, such as being able to listen and converse, to accomplish his or her goals in dealing with others.

To some extent, being socially intelligent requires being emotionally intelligent, because you need to be conscious of the way you perceive yourself and your surroundings, and how you react to people when you communicate with them.

If you ever encounter someone who listens with an open mind, speaks sincerely to everyone, barely argues with anyone, doesn’t judge people based on the opinion of others, and embraces criticism, chances are they are socially intelligent.

Social intelligence matters in the success of your studies and career; more so in the digital economy where you’re bound to work with various people from diverse backgrounds, whether face-to-face or virtually.

It also helps you to boost your soft skills, especially leadership, which can enable you to achieve effective collaboration with your teammates and understand how your actions impact your peers.

This in turn can make you highly employable in the job market as you possess the confidence, adaptability, and flexibility needed to work in today’s fast-paced environment.

In your daily life, being socially intelligent allows you to develop strong relationships with your family and friends, and that in the long run ensures the wellbeing of your body, mind, and emotions.

Improving your social intelligence is possible, whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. To start off, observe your social surroundings and take note on how you interact with others.

Work on your interpersonal skills, be it joining speaking groups like Toastmasters to be a better communicator, or learning to reflect on what the speaker says before responding to be a more active listener.

Be more empathetic by putting yourself in other’s shoes more often and be more accepting of different cultures and beliefs.

Most importantly, commit yourself to forging more meaningful relationships with the people that you care about.

This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.