Your People Skills Matter More than Your Smarts


My friend Kay has superb people skills. She knows just what to do to make people feel at ease. She instinctively reads the “currents” of power and rules in a room full of folks. And she knows herself too. Kay pays attention to what she’s feeling in the moment and recognizes the connection between her feelings to what she’s thinking, doing and saying.

Kay has social and emotional intelligence. In fact it’s her number one signature strength. Aside from being a nice attribute is significant part of why she is successful. That’s not just my opinion. Research backs it up.

Smarts Matter, But Not As Much As You Think

Some researchers, including Laura Belsten, PhD founder of the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence©, believe that your success in work and life is driven more by your social and emotional intelligence than by your smarts (IQ), or your technical abilities, like “strategic thinking” or being able to write an impressive quarterly report.

Unfortunately you most often see social and emotional intelligence when it is missing.

  • The micromanaging supervisor you used to work for (or maybe still do)
  • A friend who can’t handle stress or accept feedback
  • Your co-worker whom no one trusts

Their lack of social and emotional Intelligence limits their degree of success

Here is the good news.

People Skills Lead to Meaningful Results

Cultivating social and emotional Intelligence is a smart thing for anyone to do, and it’s vital if you’re a solo entrepreneur, a corporate team leader, a business owner with employees or an individual who wants to . . .

  • Manage emotional responses more effectively in the moment, shaping them to be productive (versus operating from knee-jerk reactions unlikely to get your desired results)
  • Develop more rewarding relationships personally and professionally
  • Enhance your ability to have the difficult conversations in life
  • Operate from a mindset of success, not fear of failure
  • Stay composed and positive even in trying times

Social and emotional intelligence encompasses 26 skills including interpersonal communication skills, stress management, intentionality, powerful influencing skills, teamwork, trust building and many more. Social and emotional intelligence skills can be learned and strengthened throughout your life.

Effectively Operate in Today’s Workplace

The more robust your social and emotional intelligence is the better able you are to effectively operate in today’s workplace.

“Cultivating a culture where leaders have high social and emotional intelligence creates proven results in increased productivity, increased sales and profits, reduced healthcare costs, increased employee satisfaction and improved employee engagement to name a few,” says Belsten.

She goes on to say, “Managers with high scores in the relevant relationship management competencies of communication, building bonds, building trust, and inspirational leadership, are better equipped to manage their employees in a manner that brings out the best in individuals and teams.”

Cultivate Your People Skills

I’m pleased to announce I recently completed an intensive certification program in coaching social and emotional intelligence, and am now a Social + Emotional Intelligence Certified Coach ® through the Institute for Social + Emotional Intelligence®. What this means is that I’ve added new services to my portfolio including Social and Emotional Intelligence Assessment, Coaching and Training. You can read about them here ((Insert link)). I have an array of tools and materials available for you that are designed to help all of us be more successful in work and in life.

I’d love to share more information with you about Social and Emotional Intelligence, just email me and we will connect.


How One Leader Made Her Softest Skill Her Strongest Asset

Kat’s a rising leader in her state and in her field. She’s whip smart, down to earth, generous and one of the most social people around. Kat instinctively reads people and knows how to relate to them, making them welcome and at ease. And she gets the best out of them.

That makes complete sense; social intelligence is her number one signature strength.

Honestly, if you looked up the phrase in the dictionary, Kat’s picture ought to be next to it.

Kat gives networking a good name, using her ability to connect to help others realize their success.

And that is superb.

Except for one thing on her mind . . .

A Nagging I Wonder How To

“I wish I could figure out how to use my love of networking to make a living.”

Great question. How do you make a strength – that seems soft or squishy- the foundation from which to build a successful self-supporting career?

Squishy Can Become A Solid Foundation

And that’s what Kat and I are delving into. Spotlighting strategies for connecting with people that:

  1. highlight her special insights and experiences, and
  2. fit with what is important to her as a person.

These strategies accelerate her ability to build a career firmly grounded in her number one strength.

Kat’s got stories to tell as a woman in a technical field, and as young successful professional, her tales have wisdom for others.

She comes alive around people and other people’s successes are important to her as her own.

So, telling her tales and sharing her insights is a way of helping others and gives her more opportunities to connect.

Solidifying A Soft Skill

She’s scouting speaking opportunities at young professional groups. And she’s writing articles for trade and professional organization publications, and local news outlets.

Kat’s putting her natural ability to good use in a statewide leadership program, helping to link people based 100’s of miles apart, and from very different sectors, together. Rooting stronger relationships for the benefit of many.

That’s just the beginning of how she can use her natural strength to build a satisfying career.

And better yet, she’s realizing her calling, to connect people and bring everyone forward.

Why I am I Telling You About This

Knowing and using your signature strengths helps you to be amazing (Yes, you are amazing even if you don’t feel it this moment) because you shine a light on what’s best about you. And that makes what you do and who you are amazing.

The research backs it up.

The world needs you to do your best work and be your best self. And so do you.