Emotional and Social Intelligence at Work.


To be truly effective within a work context, a person has to learn how to interact with others, and how to negotiate their way through life’s events and experiences. These are the realms of social and emotional intelligence.


In the context of the workplace, emotional intelligence includes a person’s capacity to recognise and manage their own emotions, and perceiving and dealing with the feelings of others – either collectively, or on an individual basis.


An emotionally intelligent person has self-awareness and self-control; the ability to communicate, motivate and influence others; and capability of building bonds and creating group synergies.  They also have a greater understanding of their own psychological and emotional state – a condition which can extend to effectively managing stressful situations.


Social intelligence considers both situational awareness and meaningful interaction.  A socially intelligent person is able to work well with others and understand the dynamics within a group.  Also, they are able to take into consideration how circumstances and environmental factors impact on people at an individual and team level.


Generally speaking, those who effectively combine both intelligences find it easier to build and maintain relationships with other people, and to be a part of group situations.  They can have a high degree of self-awareness, which allows them to use their confidence and insight to be a team leader and a team player.


Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard University defined a theory of multiple intelligences which leads to considering a practical approach to developing intelligences other than cognitive intelligence.


Emotional intelligence is one of Gardner's key intelligences.  Some people have tried to stretch emotional intelligence theory to include skills involving people but, in practical terms, it makes more sense to think of emotional intelligence and social intelligence as two distinct dimensions of competence.


Social intelligence (Gardner's interpersonal intelligence) is separate from, but complimentary to emotional intelligence (Gardner's intrapersonal intelligence).  Both models are needed in order to understand yourself and the way you interact with others.  Some deficits in social intelligence arise from inadequate development of emotional intelligence; conversely, some deficits in social intelligence may lead to unsuccessful social experiences which may undermine a person's sense of self-worth which is part of emotional intelligence.


Emotional intelligence and Social Intelligence can be considered as separate for purposes of discussion and analysis, but actually they are intimately interwoven.


Maguire Healthcare offer courses in Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence for healthcare professionals.



Robin Hills

Healthcare Facilitator at Maguire Training



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