In the early 1980s, a developmental psychologist (Howard Gardner) described 9 types of intelligence: these included how we relate to the world (eg spacial, interpersonal, musical) as well as how we might be thought of as ‘performing’ in the world (linguistic, mathematical etc)

Daniel Goleman’s book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in the 90s re-energized all those who had always harboured doubts that an IQ test had that much to do with predicting a fulfilled, happy and productive life. It was now perfectly OK to talk about self-awareness and social-awareness skills.  Teams, organisations, businesses began at last to look past old ‘master and commander’ models of leadership.

Or did they?

Technology has sped along: now we can wire up our brains, see what’s going on … and be amazed.  It is social intelligence that is now viewed as most powerful – the human power to connect, belong, influence and be influenced.

The AI community has researched social intelligence (Professor Alan Winfield UWE Bristol) amongst robots, in the spirit of better understanding human behaviour.
The discovery? A ‘culture’ emerges over time amongst a group of ‘basic’ robots, where ‘basic’ includes the ability to imitate.

As a behaviour is imitated, and imitated again, a culture specific to that group emerges.
Simply being with each other and … mimic-ing… generates a cultural change.

Type ‘Leadership’ into Amazon today and about 178,000 titles appear, titles bristling with master and commander language.  An incredible body of expert advice for any individual who wishes to be a great leader, and to effect change, is right there.

But the social intelligence findings suggest a much simpler way.

Think less ‘leader’, more ‘community’. Try working alongside each other, observing, learning, and encouraging inspirational behaviours to be imitated and incorporated.

The culture will change.

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