What is Social Quotient and its biological relevance to Leadership

What is Social Quotient and its biological relevance to Leadership
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Clinical Psychologist
National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities, Dehradun - M.Phil
Last Updated: 07-08-2023

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“When we focus on others, our world expands”
-Daniel Goleman 

What is Social Quotient (SQ)?

Social Quotient also referred to as Social Intelligence Quotient is the ability of a person to manage people and to know how to present oneself, what to say, and what not to say in a social situation.We provide best Online Counselling in India.It helps one to extend boundaries and is acquired during their lifetime through various experiences of success and failure in social settings.

It is basically the capacity of an individual to know/understand oneself and read their surroundings and act/react accordingly. It is also often termed “street smartness”.

People with high SQ usually exhibit the following traits:

  • Such people are known to possess "social expressiveness skills” which basically means they can interact/communicate with anyone and everyone and that too in an appropriate manner.
  • They supposedly are excellent listeners. They listen to others attentively.
  • They pay attention, analyze situations and understand others’ behavior and then react as required.
  • They can easily adapt to various social situations and know how to play the various social roles in the so-called “game”.
  • Their observatory skills enable them to know people better and understand what grabs their attention further enabling them to act accordingly.
  • They are aware and take care of what impression they exude on others. They supposedly are very particular about it too. They try to create a balance between the “image” they portray and their true self. It is hard to portray oneself as something and at the same time remain “authentic”.

Social Quotient is all about what the future beholds for us and how we enhance ourselves to survive socially. It is to comprehend the situation and figure out the best way to achieve a favorable outcome.

Social intelligence has a biological underpinning to it as well. A lot of what a person exhibits is dependent on the social circuitry in the brain which consists of mainly three kinds of cells i.e. mirror neurons, spindle cells, and oscillators.

Mirror neurons enable a person to mimic or mirror what the other being does. These neurons play a vital role in organizations as their presence prompts the followers to mirror their leader’s feelings and deeds.

Recently in a study conducted by Marie Dasborough, it was observed that if a set of employees are given positive feedback but with a lot of negativity and another set is given negative feedback but with positive signals, the former was reported to be feeling worse than the latter. This also shows that the delivery of the feedback was more important than the feedback itself.

This also showcases that the feelings of the reviewer were reciprocated or mirrored by the reviewer which is a result of the activation of the mirror cells.

Another important set is the spindle cells. Intuition or the “gut feeling” is a result of these cells. These are triggered when the best of the choices are to be made i.e., we need to choose as our gut guides us. Listening to their intuition is a must for leaders provided it is attuned to the mood of others.

Oscillators showcase this attuning physically. It regulates how the bodies of the involved ones move together. The presence of these definitely strengthens the social impact of a person and there is no clear-cut method as well to strengthen these cells. There is also a risk that a self-conscious attempt to display such social intelligence can backfire.

The only way to develop this circuitry is by taking an effort and working hard to do so. There has to be a behavioral change for the same to happen. Social skills are definitely a requirement for leaders and if unfortunately, not proactive biologically, has to be developed through hard work and behavioral changes.

How to identify people with high Social Quotient (SQ)?

  • One such method could be reviewing from peers, and higher-ups and working on the same. Seeking external help, in this case, could prove to be beneficial as it provides a direction to work on.
  • Listen: People with high social quotient are good listeners too. They don’t just listen to respond but truly pay attention to what the other person is saying. Try and develop a habit of listening to others.
  • Develop good conversational skills as in order to be socially impactful you need to interact with people. To carry on any conversation, one must have good conversational skills.
  • Pay close attention to who or what is around you. Socially intelligent people are very observant of their surroundings. They are attentive to the subtle social cues from people around them.
  • Work on your emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is about having control of your emotions and how you empathize with others. When you know how to recognize and regulate emotion in your own self, you can learn how to do that in others as well. Working on EQ(emotional quotient) can help you recognize and control negative feelings such as frustration and anger, which is very important in a social setting.

It’s not like you are not going to mess up in your life but improving upon these skills will definitely help you lead an easier life wherein you won’t have a problem putting forth your opinion or interacting with new people.

“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection - or compassionate action.”-Daniel Goleman


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