The term “social” is used in many different senses and regarded as a fuzzy concept, referring to attitudes, orientations, or behaviors which take the interests, intentions, or needs of other people into account (in contrast to anti-social behaviour) .
The highest performing individuals possess both an intellectual and social capacity. For those who possess one without the other end up under performing in the sense that their work, while it may be considered outstanding, isn’t likely to attract the larger market of interested parties.
Keeping Balance Between Intellectual vs. Social Capabilities
I have a friend who is extremely intellectual. His thoughts are deep and insightful. His perspectives on the future and how all things social play into a new economy are tough for many people to comprehend. While other intellectuals are attracted to his ideas many can’t argue his perspectives because they have difficulty comprehending them. My friend has little patience with people who don’t comprehend his thoughts or act without thinking about what they are doing. His attitude sometimes comes across as anti-social, arrogant and intolerable to folks that aren’t as smart as he is.
I have another friend who is gifted with social skills and knows how to use social media tools very well. He propagates lots of information and has a large following of people who are attracted to his social skills. Most people would consider him as a fun person and easy to talk to. The question I often ask him is how useful is the information you push out everyday. His response is “I have no idea but lots of people consume my information”.
Social without intellect leads to doing the same thing over and over and not gaining anything. Intellect without social means discovering transformational opportunities to create a better future but only a few people will listen and understand “how to” create a better future.
What We Really Need Is Social Intellectuals
Purely from observation and experience I have found that those who have both the intellectual capacity and social skills are people who stand out from the crowd. While they may have a significant position in a company or university and/or they may be influential entrepreneurs, they possess the ability to influence people with knowledge and do so in a way that is “social”. These social intellectuals actually respond to emails and inquires from their followers. They aren’t “puffed up in their own mind” rather their hearts are motivated to serve the audience and they appreciate the engagement. These folks don’t care what their “klout score” is or their rank in the ecosystem of all things social rather they care about assisting the human network desire to progress, improve and innovate.
Being smart while not being social is the wrong attitude. Being social without learning to be smarter brings little progress, improvement or innovation.
If you think I am wrong help me learn why. If you are offended ask yourself why.