Social Intelligence is a greater measure of long-term success than Academic Intelligence

Social Intelligence is a greater measure of long-term success than Academic Intelligence

When was the last time you felt really ‘heard’, as though the person you were talking to was actually listening to you, and what you said really seemed mattered to them? You probably felt strangely connected to them and maybe even commented to someone afterwards how much you liked them (even if they said hardly any words within the conversation). This ability to engage and empathise with another is called Social Intelligence.

As a society, we tend to promote academic intelligence as the key to future success. It’s what schools and academic higher learning institutions are rated on. Social Intelligence, however, is of greater importance to long-term success than academic intelligence. We ought to be nurturing this in ourselves on a regular basis, as it helps us to build and maintain relationships and the communities around us. We are built and find contentment in rewarding and fulfilling relationships and communities.

Daniel Goldman, in his 2008 book on the subject, defines Social Intelligence as being ‘able to tune into other people, read them, know how they think about things, how they feel right now and using that to communicate effectively with them’. He does suggest that we are able to change our social intelligence ability with a bit of practice:

  1. Start to care about others
  2. Try get honest feedback from others about how we interact with them – this will help you understand your strengths, weaknesses and personality quirks, which will help you know where you can improve
  3. Make an agreement with yourself to improve areas where you have weaknesses, at every available opportunity you can find

Social intelligence is about building empathy and skilled interaction, so that we can engage well with others as well as persuade, inspire and motivate them to do well.

Some additional resources to watch:

The art of managing emotions | Daniel Goleman:

Social Intelligence and Leadership:

Daniel Goleman: “Social Intelligence” | Talks at Google:

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