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The Power of Social Sensitivity – What’s that?!

When Google spent five years and millions of dollars to find out how to build the perfect team their research findings were ground-breaking. They discovered that getting the ‘right people on the bus’ wasn’t the deciding factor for business success after all. In fact, successful teams all exhibited two clear behaviours. These were conversation turn taking which we looked at in last week’s post and social sensitivity.

All successful teams had high ‘average social sensitivity’. This is the jargon meaning they were skilled at intuiting how others felt, based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. They noticed, and demonstrated, a sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others.

How does high average social sensitivity manifest in the actual workplace? People with high social sensitivity:

  • ask open questions and listen to learn, rather than listen to judge
  • are fully present when they listen – you can’t listen to a team member and respond to emails at the same time!
  • listen to the whole message – the words, the tone and the body language are all part of the message
  • remember that your own body language is ‘talking’ too – make sure it’s speaking the right language!

If you nurture conversation turn taking and high social sensitivity for yourself and with your team, you will capitalise on the 5 years and millions of dollars Google spent to discover the critical behaviours of high-performing teams. And you can realise this power and achieve the results without the enormous outlay of time and money!

Interestingly, not only do these two behaviours impact team and business performance, they also impact positively on an individual’s confidence and sense of value. As a consequence people become highly engaged – they feel more motivated, are more productive and are more satisfied in their work. A win for the individual, a win for the team and a win for the business.

Enjoy leading your team to peak performance by modelling conversation turn taking and high social sensitivity. It will be very challenging at times, and I can promise you that the results in terms of profit and staff engagement will make that effort worthwhile.

Here’s to your team’s success.

Best regards,