Many of us will never experience the weight of responsibility which comes with leading an organisation like the Red Cross. However, most of us will find ourselves in a position in which strong leadership is necessary, whether this is in the workplace, in public office, or within our own homes or social groups.
There are different definitions of social intelligence, and various theories surrounding its usage. One of the most pervading theories, however, has been put forward by Dr. Karl Albrecht, a management consultant and founder of the Karl Albrecht International Academy. He describes the social intelligence of people as existing somewhere between nurturing and toxic.
When we consider what it means to be a successful leader in business, traits such as 'drive', 'determination', and a 'will to succeed' crop up again and again. However, these positive attributes cannot exist in isolation.
So what exactly is emotional intelligence? Schools across the world are waking up to its power and increasing numbers of countries are recognising the importance of building emotional intelligence into their curricula. Why is this?
Great leaders are imperious. Great leaders are infallible. Great leaders are something more than human. This is the narrative that hero-worship has pushed upon us in the past, and, of course, it is somewhat far from the truth. A great leader is a great person, certainly, but they are still a person. And what do people do? People make mistakes.
Australia, perhaps more so than any other, is a country built upon human movement. Much has been made of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in January of 1788, and of the multitudes of European and Asian migrants who followed in these pioneering footsteps, but the impact of movement and migration stretches back way beyond this.
In 2016 the ABC reported on the desperately tragic statistic that suicide rates among 15 to 24-year-olds were at their highest level in ten years. Research from 2012 found that many of these suicides were a direct result of cyberbullying, with a shocking 750 young Australians aged between 13 and 17 committing suicide as a result of threats or campaigns of abuse experienced online. With the growing prevalence of social media in the lives of our younger generation, this problem is not going away.
In the modern landscape, bullying has been transformed. To borrow a phrase from global political discourse, 'the threat has evolved'. The number of young people who describe the internet as 'very important' to their daily lives has doubled since 2009. This drive towards connectivity has provided bullies with unprecedented access to their potential victims, making it far more difficult to combat the often catastrophic effects of bullying.
Great leaders - in all walks of life - harness this power and wield it as they affect positive changes within their respective organisations or structures. In a business environment, leaders use this to shape the behaviours of their team, to support team development, and to secure the fulfilment of business objectives, building the right sort of culture within the organisation.
Human beings are hard-wired with a need to belong. From our hunter-gatherer ancestors, through the formation of our cultures, right to the present day, humans have been sociable animals. We form thousands of tiny connections and interactions over the course of our daily lives.
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