How Important is Social Intelligence to Growth?

I ask the question – How important is Social Intelligence to Growth?  

The growth I refer to is emotional growth as maturity which is far more important that economic growth. This is the science of emotional intelligence where as we think and feel we actually re-wire the brain.  This type of intelligence expands perceptioni and naturally inspires cooperation as the wellbeing of people is the first priority not the last.  In the world today the triple bottom line is the argument and rationale as to why we do what we do, it is how we can excise conscience from business decisions. It is considered professional and a sign of strength to disregard the needs of people in favour of moving forward, being realistic and firmly focused on profits.  Yet the truth is we move forward our so-called civilisation slides backward the more we ignore and neglect the needs of people and the environment in favour of self interest and greed.

Social Intelligence is a skill and if this was the real science we invested in we would make decisions that benefit others not ourselves.  We would expand our vision of social benefit, success and wellbeing rather thab short termism to benefit the few. This would be the reward in seeing ‘good’ and ‘wellbeing’ as the real outcomes rather than self aggrandisement and career progression.  

In the West and expanding out across the world capitalism has been a juggernaut that has created great social upheavel everywhere it has gone. I have witnessed cultural values being decimated by the mission statements of multinationls and governments obsessed with profit over people.  We believe this is what enables progress, security and stability justified as the trickle down effect for people. Yet the reality is day by day we are severely undermining the life support systems of the planet, we are increasingly feeling depressed as we suppress our true feelings, we feel a loss of control over our lives and there is a deepening concern over the types of world leaders that are in control and their lack of ethics.  

I had the privilege of discovering a wise philosophical statement, as follows:  “the love you withhold is the pain you carry“. I cannot tell you the source of this statement but lets just say it came from those who know the real purpose of our lives.  

Today rather than seeing people as enemies or cruel I see them as people who have withdrawn love from the table as they feel pain.  They may get used to the limited existence and call it normal but that is because they have blocked that part of themselves that is open, loving, expressive and transparent. They have learned from others to not reveal who they are, to play along with crowd, to neutralise their natural ability to sense the emotional landscape which normalises abuses. For some fear if they speak up they will be socially ostracised, isolated, demoted or vulnerable to judgements.  In truth they become their own suppressor or jailer as a friend said today, and lose that vitalness that makes life exciting and worthwhile.  I was able to sense this as a clown moving around the public over many years.  I could feel the weight on the shoulders of others, I felt a low level depression in every person.  As a clown I was able to throw off the shackles of self repression and allow myself to experience freedom unabated, breaking all the social rules with humour.  I allowed myself to become fearless as I hugged strangers as a child would hug adults. I hugged trees with enthusiasm, waved at people, blew kissed and found myself loving every person naturally, looking into their beautiful eyes and seeing nothing unacceptable.  I noted I was not thinking but feeling fully who I am. I saw only opportunities to love others unconditionally and it filled my heart with great joy.  It was a great privilege and a deep insight to live in this way.  I saw the real world, I fell through the gaps of convention and found myself in an unlimited universe that opens to endless possibilities as there is no fear to limit expression.  I saw the future of humanity in the warm embrace of loving friendship that is unconditional. I saw a humanity no longer believing the lies of its own smallness but expanding into a vision of the highest potential of humanity.  It was the most beautiful vision.

Daniel Goleman is a psychologist who has placed firmly and emphatically emotional and social intelligence on the table.  He is speaking to corporate groups, universities, world leaders and a wide range of audiences about the importance of learning this type of intelligence which will move us towards an evolving species that sees itself in each other.  Self interest will dwindle before the intense brightness of shared interest where we all win.  That is the world I see clearly now. 

Here is a background of Daniel and then an overview of his book Social Intelligence. He is one of the leaders reframing the real responsibility in leadership, it is not about being tough, unyielding and willing to hurt others to achieve objectives.  It is about principled leadership which instils loyalty, respect, admiration and a belief in governance.  It is the leadership of the future.


Daniel Goleman is an internationally known psychologist who lectures frequently to professional groups, business audiences, and on college campuses. As a science journalist Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for The New York Times for many years. His 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times bestseller list for a year-and-a-half, with more than 5,000,000 copies in print worldwide in 40 languages, and has been a best seller in many countries. Apart from his books on emotional intelligence, Goleman has written books on  topics including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, ecoliteracy and the ecological crisis.

The Harvard Business Review called emotional intelligence— which discounts IQ as the sole measure of one’s abilities — “a revolutionary, paradigm-shattering idea” and chose his article “What Makes a Leader” as one of ten “must-read” articles from its pages. Emotional Intelligence was named one of the 25 “Most Influential Business Management Books” by TIME Magazine.The Financial Times, Wall Street Journal and Accenture Insititute for Strategic Change have listed Goleman among the most influential business thinkers.

Goleman is a co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (, originally at the Yale Child Studies Center and now at the University of Illinois at Chicago. CASEL’s mission centers on bringing evidence-based programs in emotional literacy to schools worldwide.

He currently co-directs the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations ( at Rutgers University. The consortium fosters research partnerships between academic scholars and practitioners on the role emotional intelligence plays in excellence.

Goleman is a board member of the Mind & Life Institute, which fosters dialogues and research collaborations among contemplative practitioners and scientists. Goleman has organized a series of intensive conversations between the Dalai Lama and scientists, which resulted in the books Healthy Emotions, and Destructive Emotions. He is currently editing a book from the most recent dialogue on ecology, interdependence, and ethics.

His most recent book, Leadership: The Power of Emotional Intelligence, offers an up-to-date summary of his thinking on leadership by collecting key excerpts from his books together for the first time in one volume with his articles from the Harvard Business Review. These include “What Makes a Leader? and “Leadership that Gets Results.”

Goleman’s other recent book, The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights gathers together recent findings from brain research and other sources on topics ranging from creativity and optimal performance, the brain-to-brain connection in leadership, and to how to enhance emotional intelligence itself.

Goleman’s 2009 book Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything argues that new information technologies could create “radical transparency,” allowing us to know the environmental, health, and social consequences of what we buy. As shoppers use point-of-purchase ecological comparisons to guide their purchases, market share would shift to support steady, incremental upgrades in how products are made – changing ever thing for the better.

Goleman’s work as a science journalist has been recognized with many awards, including the Washburn Award for science journalism, a Lifetime Career Award from the American Psychological Association, and he was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his communicating science to the general public.

Social Intelligence

The most fundamental discovery of this new science: We are wired to connect.

Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very design makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person. That neural bridge lets us impact the brain—and so the body—of everyone we interact with, just as they do us.

Even our most routine encounters act as regulators in the brain, priming emotions in us, some desirable, others not. The more strongly connected we are with someone emotionally, the greater the mutual force. The most potent exchanges occur with those people with whom we spend the greatest amount of time day in and day out, year after year—particularly those we care about the most.

During these neural linkups, our brains engage in an emotional tango, a dance of feelings. Our social interactions operate as modulators, something like interpersonal thermostats that continually reset key aspects of our brain function as they orchestrate our emotions.

The resulting feelings have far-reaching consequences, in turn rippling throughout our body, sending out cascades of hormones that regulate biological systems from our heart to immune cells. Perhaps most astonishing, science now tracks connections between the most stressful relationships and the very operation of specific genes that regulate the immune system.

To a surprising extent, then, our relationships mold not just our experience, but our biology. The brain-to-brain link allows our strongest relationships to shape us in ways as benign as whether we laugh at the same jokes or as profound as which genes are (or are not) activated in t-cells, the immune system’s foot soldiers in the constant battle against invading bacteria and viruses.

That represents a double-edged sword: nourishing relationships have a beneficial impact on our health, while toxic ones can act like slow poison in our bodies.

Virtually all the major scientific discoveries I draw on in this volume have emerged since Emotional Intelligence appeared in 1995, and they continue to surface at a quickening pace. I intend this book to be a companion volume to Emotional Intelligence, exploring the same terrain of human life from a different vantage point, one that allows a wider swath of understanding of our personal world.

When I wrote Emotional Intelligence, my focus was on a crucial set of human capacities within an individual, the ability to manage our own emotions and our inner potential for positive relationships. Here the picture enlarges beyond a one-person psychology—those capacities an individual has within—to a two-person psychology: what transpires as we connect.

Take, for example, empathy, the sensing of another person’s feelings that allows rapport. Empathy is an individual ability, one that resides inside the person. But rapport only arises between people, as a property that emerges from their interaction. Here the spotlight shifts to those ephemeral moments that emerge as we interact. These take on deep consequence as we realize how, through their sum total, we create one another.

— From the prologue to Social Intelligence


Mohandas Gandhi

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”