Our first awareness of intelligence comes during the schooling process where our intelligence is graded over and over. Our minds develop technical skills, which we hone with advanced education and rely on as we secure our first jobs, and advance through our career. This time of year, I’m often flooded with conversations about how so-and-so was promoted at the first of the year and is now struggling — which is confusing because they were such a skilled expert in something specifically technical. My coaching skills are sought to improve this newfound manager’s ability to get along with others, only a few months in their new role.
The challenge is hardly unique, organizations in all industries fall in the same trap — advancing people through their technical contributions and mental intellect — expecting they will have instant access to understanding others. Here’s where the second intelligence enters the picture.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to recognize, distinguish, and appropriately name your emotions as well as those of others. Emotional Intelligence guides our thinking and our behavior. Leaders who focus on developing this skill have a significant advantage, including financial returns that exceed those of leaders who are relying on their technical skills alone. So how do you develop a stronger EQ? Start with exploring your values, your communication style, and how you experience conflict. This insight offers you perspective that evolves into how you relate to others and being able to recognize these same things in those around you.
DiSC, Myers-Briggs, Thomas-Kilman Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI), Strengths Finder, Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), and Tilt365 are all tools that dive into self-awareness through one place or another. There isn’t a wrong tool to use, and these are often used as the entry point into leadership development because it is focused on self-awareness. If you resist these tools, then start with an assessment of your values. What core values anchor your life? How attentive are you to situations which violate your values? How do your core values align with those of your organization?
Enter our third intelligence. Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is the awareness of a greater good and our connection to it. Where mental intelligence focuses on technical skills, and emotional intelligence is rooted in discerning feelings, spiritual intelligence is the soul-level connection to the world. This is the newest defined intelligence and I see it showing up in our organizations as we have a stronger social consciousness than ever before. We align with charities, fund raise and focus on green buildings and eco-friendly environments. We now look for employers who have defined social consciousness and spend our money in companies that are inclusive.
What does all this mean? That as leaders we must continue growing and evolving with our workforce. And it starts with self-awareness. Notice your communications with others, what message are you trying to convey, and what have you conveyed? How do you handle situations where your values are compromised? Start there, and keep going.