from Harvard Biz Review 9/08 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 5/14
Social Skills Research.
The idea that leaders need social skills is not new, of course. In 1920, Columbia University psychologist Edward Thorndike pointed out that “the best mechanic in a factory may fail as a foreman for lack of social intelligence.” More recently, our colleague Claudio Fernández-Aráoz found (in an analysis of new C-level executives), that those who had been hired for their self-discipline, drive, & intellect were sometimes later fired for lacking basic social skills. In other words, the people he studied had smarts in many areas, but their inability to get along socially on the job, was professionally self-defeating.
Do Women have stronger Social Circuits?
People often ask whether gender differences factor into the social intelligence skills needed for outstanding leadership. The answer is yes & no + maybe. It’s true that women tend, on average, to be better than men at immediately sensing other people’s emotions, whereas men tend to have more social confidence, at least in work settings. However, gender differences in social intelligence that are dramatic in the general population, are all but absent, among the most successful leaders. When the a University of Toledo Psychologist studied several hundred executives from a major bank, she found gender differences in social intelligence in the overall group, but not between the most effective men & the most effective women. The Hay Group uncovered a similar pattern in her study of CEOs of international companies. Gender, clearly, is not neural destiny.
What’s “new” about Social Intelligence . . .
is its biological foundation (which we will explore in the following pages). Drawing on the work of neuro-scientists, our own research & consulting endeavors, + the findings of researchers affiliated with the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, we will show you how to translate newly-acquired knowledge about mirror neurons, spindle cells, & oscillators into practical, socially intelligent behaviors that can reinforce the neural links between you & your followers.
[ Followers Mirror Their Leaders, Is it the Nerds or the Neurons? An Example of How it Works, in Premium Content ]