Daniel Goleman is a world expert on emotional and social intelligence. Based on a lifetime of work, worldwide studies across different academic fields, he knows a thing or two about the subject. Barbara Harvey reflects on what Daniel's insights mean for the leadership space.
The social brain refers to the way the brain responds when interacting with another human being.
When individuals are communicating verbally or non-verbally, the two brains send emotional signals back and forth.
Edward Hallowell, world renowned psychologist and author of Driven to Distraction refers to this process as "the human moment "an authentic psychological encounter that can happen only when two people share the same physical space."
The human moment has two prerequisites: People’s physical presence and their emotional and intellectual attention.
The concept of a social brain has huge implications in the leadership space. It's always been known that how you say things is as important as what you say and that people's ability to understand the impact their words and actions have on others determines how successful they are as a communicator and influencer. Now there's neuro-science behind it.
Daniel Goleman argues that at a time when we are becoming more reliant on technology, removing ourselves from physical interactions by working remotely or at home, more than ever we need to understand the power of the social brain. And as we move into a world where automation will usurp many jobs, human skills such as empathy will be the most important to have in the modern human world.
So where to start? Goleman presents that in order for social communication to flourish, each individual in the communication exchange must be at "full mutual attention."
This means without distraction or judgment. And the key to producing this state of being is the art and practice of mindfluness.
Secondly, the key to developing full mutual attention is via empathy. Through empathy we understand, we connect and we feel and express concern.
Thirdly as leaders the skills required to lead the modern workforce require enormous amounts of emotional and social intelligence and are not disimilar to those of a coach. Goleman says there are three keys to successful communication interactions for a leader.
• Accepting a person for who they are and seeing their potential
• Listening carefully to their needs
• Giving directives but allowing people to get on with things themselves
Goleman goes further to explain that when the social brain is flourishing in a team setting so can creativity, fun, trust and ultimately productivity.
Keys to building emotional intelligence
• Motivation: Do I really want to build it?
• Support: Enlist a coach/peer
• Assessment: Use a measurement tool
• Learning plan: Emotional intelligent requires a strategy and plan
• Practice: It is an active practice