Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Most of you already know about Emotional Intelligence(EI). Well, now we have Social Intelligence. There is a good article in the Harvard Business Review Social Intelligence and the Biology of Leadership.

The article describes research in the field of social neuroscience-the study of what happens in the brain while people interact- that have taken the original ideas of EI to another level now referred to as Social Intelligence(SI). The main discovery is that certain things leaders do—specifically, exhibit empathy and become attuned to others’ moods—literally affect both their own brain chemistry and that of their followers. The bottom line is that followers literally mirror their leaders.

Empathy is another topic covered in the article. In many of the leadership workshops Mike and I do, we talk about empathy. I think it is one of the key attributes of a leader. Unlike sympathy, empathy still allows a leader to make the tough decisions but do them in an empathetic manner. Treat people the way you would like to be treated.

But my favorite part of the entire article is on laughter. Since employees do mirror the leader, the leader who laughs creates employees who laugh. The research shows that, all other things being equal, laughing employees in a good mood perform better.

For my 30 year career, I have believed that we all spend so many hours at work that we might as well have a good time doing it. A few laughs and good stories during a meeting made it easier to attend so many of them. Now there is scientific evidence to prove the theory. The article ends with the most important line:

Laughter is serious business!

Until Next Time, keep laughing,

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