The term “intelligence quotient” was invented about 100 years ago.Some 30 years ago, Howard Gardner, Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University proposed a new paradigm. He suggested that there are eight kinds of intelligences: verbal linguistic, logical mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, kinesthetic, musical, visual spatial and naturalist.
Everyone is imbued with the eight intelligences but in different proportions. You have your dominant intelligences, and that influences your behaviour and the way you approach problems. It is therefore logical to postulate that you will meet eight different types of people in the workplace.
Here are eight types of intelligences:
Verbal linguistics are sensitive to words and language. They are skilled in one or more of the areas of writing, speaking, listening and reading.
Logical mathematical dominant people rely on logic and numbers in their thinking.
Interpersonal intelligence refers to the ability to sense other people's feelings and know how to relate to others.
Intrapersonal intelligent people have a good understanding of themselves. They are more reflective and are comfortable and happy when they are alone.
People high in kinesthetic intelligence are good at expressing themselves through bodily movements. They tend to excel in sports and learn physical activities more easily.
Musical intelligence can be exhibited in music appreciation, playing of musical instruments, singing or writing music.
Visual spatial refers to having good spatial awareness and orientation. It also encompasses the skills in visualising, space planning and drawing.
Naturalist abilities include understanding and working with animals, plants and ecosystems.
In any given problem-solving task, we use a combination of the eight intelligences. However, the combination used differs from person to person. It depends on choices as well as inclinations. We tend to use what we are stronger in.
Take the case of Harold, 45, a manager working in an insurance company. He is strongest in his logical mathematical intelligence, quite good at his verbal linguistics as well as his intrapersonal. He is not too strong in his interpersonal and kinesthetic intelligences.
Harold oversees a team of nine, two men and seven women. Often, Harold's staff would come to his office to complain about a co-worker.
Recently, his subordinate Patricia complained she was upset that her supervisor George had given Tracy an assignment that she thought she should be working on.
When pressed for details, she said she had told George she would like more time with her kids. Harold used his logical mathematical intelligence and said that George did the right thing and that he is a caring supervisor. Patricia stormed out of the room angry and teary. Harold was clueless as to why she reacted this way.
Later, he related this to his wife, Gina, who told him that he missed a major point Patricia was making. "It's not about the assignment, and it is not about George," Gina said. “So what's it all about?” asked Harold. “Tracy!” Gina said. Harold thought about it for a moment and said, “I think you are right.”
Just a few days ago, Tracy was praised by George and Harold during a meeting. Both Patricia and Tracy were hired at the same time three years ago and were seen as promising new staff destined for higher office. Harold missed the main point of the conversation — it was not about the logical thing that George did but the interpersonal implication of what he did.
Harold and George are more inclined to use their logical mathematical intelligence to solve problems. What they were missing was the interpersonal intelligence, provided by Gina.
You will meet eight different types of people in the office. The question is, how will you work with them? Remember, you too are one of the eight.