Learning to share power is the challenge of the 21st century.
For 16 years I’ve been a professional facilitator, helping teams and communities come together to build consensus and collaborate. What I’ve witnessed is people in all fields; technical, business, politics, and the caring industry, have trouble getting along and collaborating with their peers.
After thousands of years, where hierarchical, command and control leaders have been the role model, it will take time for old patterns to change. Blocks to success will arise daily as co-workers lack the skills, self-awareness, and interpersonal skills to collaborate. How to address conflict seems to be the biggest stumbling block, where those with EQ are far more successful than those with high levels of IQ.
In the technical fields, it’s not unusual to find conflict with people who suffer from a lack of social skills and have trouble getting along. The level of trust for their co-workers is very low, and collaboration is almost non-existent. Conflict is also high when it comes to the business and political arenas, where people are expected to challenge the status quo, experiment, and create something new.
I’d like to propose that success in the 21st century will actually depend more on SQ, social intelligence, the result of combining EQ and IQ.
Soft skills are changing the game:
- IQ gets you in the door,
- EQ get you recognized by your co-workers,
- SQ, the science of human relationships, enables you to win the game.
To be a successful socially intelligent leader you need to know:
- How to inspire and develop the talents of your people,
- Empower them to take creative risks,
- Build relationships out in the community,
- Make presentations,
- Create inspiring visions,
- Constantly stretch, learn, and grow, modelling how to expand and reinvent yourself.
Choosing to be a leader can be a difficult path. You will be criticized, ridiculed, and tested, because the human ego does not like change. However, the more you endure, the more you inspire and empower those around you, stand your ground, set boundaries, and are confident, you are demonstrating how effective it is to be a nurturing leader.
Technology in the 21st century has given birth to a new lifestyle of freedom, autonomy, and constant adaptation. The younger generation is very entrepreneurial, and tend to have a lot of global connectivity. They’re interested in environmental issues and sustainability. They also want authenticity and transparency. This challenges all previous rules of engagement.
What’s wonderful about all this change? We are witnessing the evolution of humanity. Socially intelligent leaders of tomorrow will be powerfully strong and powerfully nice. Nurturing and empowering large numbers of people while modifying their own behaviour to collaborate with potential enemies and competitors. It’s a new world out there where only those willing to adapt will survive.