2020 Skills: Social Intelligence

In this second post in a series on 2020 Skills, we take a look at social intelligence. 

Here is a handy index for accessing all posts in this series:

  1. Sense-Making
  2. Social Intelligence
  3. The T-shaped Professional
  4. Virtual Collaboration
  5. Computational Thinking
  6. New-Media Literacy
  7. Novel and Adaptive Thinking
  8. Cross-Cultural Competency

We are entering an era where smart machines and systems in a globally connected world will reshape the general work environment. A different skill set will be required to be a productive employee in the future workforce.

These predictions were made by Institute for the Future (IFTF) in their report titled “Future Work Skills 2020)”. According to this report, one of the key skills needed to tackle these drivers of change is Social Intelligence.

So, what exactly is Social Intelligence?

Dr. Daniel Goleman in his book “Social Intelligence” defined it as the ability to build relationships and navigate social environments.

So, why it is important from a business leader’s perspective to add social intelligence as one of the top themes in the corporate training requirements?

To answer this, let us navigate back to the IFTF’s report that identified two factors that highlight the importance of social intelligence in tomorrow’s workforce.

Firstly, in the globally connected world, new competitors are rising from rapidly developing economies like China and India. Therefore, having a presence in these areas is simply not enough. The key will be to employ people who are socially intelligent and are able to integrate local business processes in the global business framework.

Secondly, as super smart machines are replacing humans in some fields of business, the role of employees will need to change from being ‘replaceable’ by machines, to performing a support role that machines cannot provide. This difference between man and machine can be attributed largely to social intelligence.

Dr. Ronald Riggio is a globally-recognized authority on social intelligence. He lists six key components that can help individuals understand social intelligence. These are:

Social expressiveness skills – These include exceptional conversational skills and elevated levels of Verbal Fluency.
Social Awareness Skills – These include knowledge about social Scripts, Rules, and Roles.
Effective Listening Skills – These include having the ability to listen and understand others effectively
Emotional Intelligence Skills – These include having knowledge of communication tools that make others tick.
Social Self- Efficacy Skills – These include having the ability to effective role-playing and feeling socially self-confident
Impression Management Skills – These include creating a balance between controlling others and being authentic.

These components point to having awareness of the emotions of those around you and adapting your words, tone, and gestures accordingly.

So, how do you help your employees prepare for the future work environment?

Invest in training your employees to become more socially intelligent.

We’ve written about how powerful video-based training is on this blog before and how it is emerging as one of the most effective ways for telling stories and conveying information.

The basic anatomy of the social side of the brain reveals that mirror neurons are responsible for individuals learning through mimicry. People learn from what they see. As modern organizations consist of teams from distinct locations, it is not always possible to arrange training in-person. Video-based training can help your team develop social intelligence right from their laptops and tablets.

Contact us below to see how we can help you create truly unique digital training and let the motor neurons do the rest.