Pathway Design Group's

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Social Skill

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Our last blog post dealt with the topic of Empathy, and how important it can be to view your team with an appropriate level of compassion. This week, we’re delving into the fifth and final theme of Emotional Intelligence (EQ): Social Skill.

Claressa: So, here we are at my favorite theme of Emotional Intelligence: Social Skill. It’s my favorite because it displays a leader’s ability to manage relationships with others. And if you think about it, this theme is actually the one that brings all of the other EQ themes together. It’s like a chain reaction: A leader who has a good handle on social skill can use empathy to understand his or her team, and through that understanding can cultivate motivation, and so on. This allows them to fully employ strategic communication and strategic relationship building in a way that is positive and progressive. In a way it’s friendliness — but with a purpose. A leader with a high sense of social skill is purposeful in their interactions so that they may guide people down a particular path, but without having to specifically state what they’re doing. You don’t have to say “I want you to move this or that way.” By helping people understand and own certain strategies along the way, they will get there themselves.

“One of the main facets of being a leader is delegation; you simply can’t do everything.”

Martha: Yes, I agree. One of the main facets of being a leader is delegation; you simply can’t do everything. Leaders have so much on their plate, and there are certain pieces of work that only they can do properly. This, of course, calls for delegation… but that can be easier said than done. Delegating tasks to others is a skill that must be learned in order for it to be effective. Part of delegating is being able to communicate your vision and articulate precisely what it is you need done. Why you’re asking someone to do it. How it ties in to the bigger picture. Having a solid grasp on social skill means you can hand off items to other staff, but with a sense of purpose and understanding. When done well, delegation should not feel like an order.

“Having a solid grasp on social skill means you can hand off items to other staff, but with a sense of purpose and understanding.”

Claressa: It’s the idea of being a commanding leader and not a demanding leader. With social skill, you can really see that at work… where it makes that change into a commanding leadership role because, again, you are guiding people. You’re guiding them ever so gently in a way that is needed to meet the goals of the team and the organization. This takes it to an even higher level in that a leader with strong social skills and emotional intelligence understands that it takes the whole team… that it takes a group of people and that no single person is the most important. That type of leader builds bonds that are strong and widely spread — you never know how an individual can help you in the future. Every interaction counts.

Martha: Leaders with a high sense of social skill often have a wide variety of friends and acquaintances. They’re building that social network, building that team, and it’s really an incredible thing. What they are essentially doing is not allowing silos to occur, ensuring there is cooperation between individuals. When they look to create a new team or take on a new project, they don’t just look within the confines of their traditional work group; they’ve prepared themselves to step outside the box, to look at things from a unique perspective and say, “I don’t need to limit myself to one solitary group of people.” They can consult subject matter experts (with whom they have previously established relationships) in a totally different area to make their project or company as successful as possible. That’s a powerful thing for a leader to have in their arsenal.

Let’s tie it all together.

Claressa: Social skill allows a leader to put emotional intelligence to work in multiple ways — it brings each of the five themes together as they move forward. An emotionally intelligent leader might look like they’re not really working, like they’re simply being friendly and communicating with others…  when they are, in fact, constantly strategizing and building their network for the future.

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