Social Competence

Ines Balcik

Hard or soft, how we would like it

Digitization means that many processes in our everyday lives are being

automated or can be handled with the help of our many electronic

can be handled with the help of our many electronic helpers. You know, AI and all that. We prefer to avoid explaining intelligence, and for good reason. According to the dictionary, intelligence is the ability to think abstractly and rationally and to derive purposeful action from it. Well, abstract would still do, but "reasonable" and "purposeful"? I doubt that we humans could ever agree on a uniform definition of these terms. So let's leave intelligence out of it.

But let's take a look at the other side of the digitization coin anyway: people. Digitization only exists with them. The question is always how I, as an individual, deal with each and every digitization step. We know this from job applications: It has long since ceased to be enough to come with hard skills, i.e., education, work experience, and the entire framework. You also have to score points with soft skills. So it's not all that different with people than it is with digital technology: the software starts with the hardware, and people score points with soft skills and social competence over and above certificates and diplomas.

Social Intelligence

Roughly speaking, it's about good communication with the other person: a mixture of adaptability and assertiveness, self-confidence and intercultural competence, teamwork and critical faculties. So-called emotional intelligence can't hurt either, because this is about being able to perceive and recognize one's own feelings and those of others, and being able to conduct empathetic conversations and negotiations on this basis.

Social competence is ultimately something that helps us in all areas of life - including dealing with digitization. We don't communicate with it directly, but with the people who are driving it forward, for whom it is important or, yes, there is that too, who are not entirely comfortable with it. The tone is getting rougher, or so it seems to many. Including social competence in the school curriculum would be a good approach to more pleasant human interaction.

What does the picture accompanying this blog post have to do with social intelligence? Quite a lot! After all, the Pareto Principle states that usually 80 percent of the results can be achieved with 20 percent of the total effort. We can take that to heart for social intelligence, too: Nobody is perfect, but a lot can be achieved with good will.

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