Despite the effort of the White House to downplay the recent tarmac encounter in which Arizona Governor Jan Brewer displayed, what has been termed by many as, blatant disrespect to the President of the United States, it serves as a teachable moment about the importance of Social Intelligence and the expectation of respect in the workplace. While there has been much attention paid to Governor Brewer’s finger wagging in the face of the President, equally important is the inappropriateness of the in-your-face proximity that violates the acceptable personal space issue.
There is no harm in fundamentally disagreeing with your boss, co-worker, or the executive leadership at your organization. In fact, the most effective leaders are those who welcome diversity in viewpoint and prefer not to surround themselves with the workplace sycophant. There is no value in a “yes man” who favors a follow-the-leader to win favor strategy as opposed to actual critical thinking and exploration of new ideas.
Mastering the soft skill of Social Intelligence allows you to seize and control your career and manage the perception of others. It’s not always about what you do – but how you do it that matters. Your Social Intelligence is an important component of your personal brand. It speaks directly to one’s ability to appropriately perform damage control when things go wrong. Being genuine and passionate is a good thing. However, the marker of social intelligence is that you inspire confidence that you can be socially appropriate in communicating your viewpoint.