Emotional Intelligence: Social-Awareness

Third Step in Developing Emotional Intelligence: Social-Awareness

By now, you probably understand the first two steps: self-awareness and self-management. The third step in developing emotional intelligence is social awareness. As you continue developing higher emotional intelligence, it is essential that you understand social awareness.

What is social awareness?

Social awareness is the ability to identify and understand the emotions of other people. Great social awareness involves considering the perspectives of others while trying to understand their perspective during interactions. 

Leaders must understand the feelings and actions of peers and team members while learning to behave in different situations.

When practicing social awareness, leaders need to:
  • Listen to what others have to say while eliminating preexisting biases.
  • Avoid anticipating the answers of others before they speak.
  • Listen carefully before responding to a question or request.

The role of social awareness in the workplace

According to Forbes, the three core aspects of social awareness are empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others emotionally. The actions people take are based on emotions. An empathic leader effectively addresses any issues among teams and other peers by understanding how they feel in any given situation. 

Organizational awareness

Organizational awareness is the understanding of a workplace and its culture. A leader with social awareness knows the mission and vision of their organization and understands the contributions of each employee. An organizational level of awareness helps you make the right decisions to maximize rewards and avoid trouble.

Service orientation 

Service orientation refers to the understanding of clients and their needs. As a leader, you need to be able to understand the best way to give people what they need.

How to improve social awareness

A leader with great social awareness is present in every interaction with keen listening and observational skills. Listening is the key to understanding facts free of judgment and analyzing the emotions of other people. By truly listening, you can discover how you can help your team and organization succeed.

Three ways to improve social awareness

  • Look for visual cues. Observing and analyzing visual cues requires you to be present in the conversation. Actively listening while analyzing facial expressions and body language gives the most profound understanding of any social situation.
  • Be aware of tone. Tone is the best indicator when speaking on the phone or meeting virtually. Sensing tone will tell you how someone truly feels when they may be conveying the opposite.
  • Read the room. Mastering social awareness by sensing the energy of everyone in an environment. What is going on between employees? Is there tension that needs to be resolved? How can you help? 

Move forward with better social awareness

You cannot be a successful leader if you do not have social awareness. Social awareness helps you build trust with your team and gives you a better understanding of how your employees feel and react. Contact me for more information on how I can help you reach your organizational goals through better social awareness.


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