Social Intelligence


Part IV of a Four Part Series:

Social Intelligence is a word coined by Daniel Coleman from his best seller that bears the same name. According to Coleman Social Intelligence possesses two components. The first is what he calls Social Awareness, that is, what we sense about others. The second is Social Faculty, what we do with that awareness.[i] In other words, how we read others and approach them to gain the best possible connection is what social intelligence is all about. Speaking of “best possible connections” Tim Sanders, author of the book The Likeability Factor writes, “Likeability is an ability to create positive attitudes in other people through the delivery of emotional and physical benefits.” He goes on to say, “By being likeable, by generating positive feelings in others, you gain as well. The quality of your life and the strength of your relationships are the product of a choice-but not necessarily your choice.”[ii] Allow me a personal story. One of my daughters has an uncanny ability to make connections easily. She once took a strengths test from the Gallup organization that revealed her top five strengths. Her gifts are strongly oriented toward people, and she uses these innate gifts quite effectively. Here’s her sample:

  1. Positivity – This person has an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

  2. Activator– They can make things happen by turning thoughts into action.

  3. WOO (Winning Others Over) – They love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction by “breaking the ice” and making a connection.

  4. Communication – This person finds it easy to put their thoughts into words; good conversationalists and presenters.

  5. Empathy– They can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in their lives or situation.

My daughter is gifted with natural leadership and people skills. I have often told her that her calling is to the “people environment” in the capacity of ministry or politics. Social Intelligence is about how people feel when they are around you… an influence that oozes out of your soul and spirit that appeals and draws others toward you. Some call this the Law of Attraction, while the most common usage is simply influence.

Is Social Intelligence associated with the ancient teaching called the Golden Rule: Do unto others and you would have them do to you or is it a new development?


Coleman, Daniel (2006) Social Intelligence. Bantum Dell: New York, NY.
Sanders, Tim (2006) The Likeability Factor. Random House: New York, NY.

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