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Use This Leadership Skill to Increase Your Social Awareness at Work

Interpersonal intelligence means knowing when to speak up and when to listen

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“You just need to break things up into small manageable tasks,” I told my college friend, Dan, after he’d confided about struggling with his assignments. We were sitting at a diner close to campus. He kept staring down at his plate of fries without taking a bite. After a while, he quietly nodded along and eventually changed the subject.

Every time I think back to this interaction, I cringe. Here was my friend, unburdening himself after a hard week. But instead of just listening, I kept offering unsolicited advice.

At the time, I thought Dan was seeking help — a way to lighten his load at school. But nearly two decades later and years worth of experience being a CEO of my company, I now know better: he was looking for camaraderie, not a coach.

Why being people smart improves your relationships

“The most successful people are ‘people smart,'” asserts CNBC contributor, Dharius Daniels. “The goal of becoming people smart is not to get the most out of others, or to manipulate our way to the top. It’s to be a better friend and to have better friends.”

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