Social-emotional skills could be defined as a set of skills that allow us to have an adequate relationship with ourselves, favoring self-knowledge and self-acceptance.. This, in turn, contributes to our being able to relate to our environment in a healthy way. In short, emotional skills are crucial tools to face life itself.
These types of skills allow us, among other things, to empathize with others, establish healthy social relationships, behave assertively, take responsibility and commit ourselves to our goals, etc. Until the end of the last century, intelligence was associated exclusively with academic skills. However, research began to show that a good intellectual capacity was not always a guarantee of academic, professional and personal success. That is when a new element appeared in the equation: emotional and social skills.
What are social-emotional skills?
While adequate intellectual abilities are a good first step towards success, they must be accompanied by emotional skills. The latter favor the learning process and foster skills such as critical thinking, perseverance in working towards long-term goals or problem-solving abilities. In general terms, social-emotional skills are observed in individuals with the following characteristics:
- They are able to focus on their goals while showing an adequate management of their emotional states.
- They show better academic and professional performance than those who are not emotionally skilled.
- They make better decisions
- Exhibit less risky behaviors (violence, addictions…).
- More satisfying and enriching social life.
- Lower levels of stress
- Higher levels of general well-being
It should be noted that these skills should be trained from childhoodIt should be noted that these skills should be trained from childhood, since childhood and adolescence are the key stages for acquiring them. However, this does not mean that they cannot be worked on and trained in other phases of the life cycle. Changes in emotional skills are always possible, especially when there is a real motivation to improve the way of relating to oneself and to others.
Due to the importance that these skills have in the well-being of people, in this article we will compile the most important ones and indicate what each of them consists of.
What are the main socioemotional skills?
As we said, we are always in time to acquire new emotional skills that allow us to improve and achieve success in different areas of our lives. Let’s review the most important ones and see what function each of them fulfills.
When an individual empathizes with another, it means that he or she is able to understand another person’s perspective, understanding the emotions that he or she experiences and how he or she may feel. Empathic people know how to understand others from their point of view and not from their own, and therefore can regulate their behavior in such a way that the other person feels the same way.Therefore, they are able to regulate their behavior in such a way that the other person feels understood and welcomed.
Self-control is a basic skill for life in society. Individuals with good self-control are able to manage their emotions properly. Thus, they let their emotions arise naturally but do not allow them to irremediably determine their behavior. That is to say, these people emit their behaviors rationally and not according to their passing impulses.
Assertive people are able to set limits, convey their feelings and defend their rights.. This allows them to find the middle ground between a submissive attitude in which their own rights are undermined and an authoritarian attitude in which the rights of others are disregarded. This capacity allows them to act in a balanced way so that there is reciprocal respect and communication with other people.
4. Problem solving skills
This skill is especially useful in everyday life, although it is not always easy to manage conflict situations. People with good problem-solving skills can face setbacks and challenges with temperance and an analytical attitude. In this way, they can assess a given situation by finding the perfect balance between reason and emotion, thus choosing the most appropriate solution for each case.
Resilience is the ability to adapt to adverse situations while maintaining emotional balance and obtaining positive results.. It is something like the ability to get up again after falling. This does not mean that resilient people do not suffer when they live traumatic experiences or failures, but that after the pain they can recompose themselves to come out stronger.
Research on this capacity indicates that it will be greater or lesser in each individual depending on both individual and environmental factors. Among the individual aspects that favor resilience are empathy, perseverance, self-esteem and cognitive capacities. Among the environmental factors we can find positive family ties, feeling loved and cared for, family stability, good access to cultural means, absence of violence in the area of residence, etc.
Leadership has to do with the ability to influence the thinking and behavior of others. There are several types of leadership, although not all of them are positive. When the ability to be a leader is used correctly, the person applies other qualities already mentioned (empathy, self-control, assertiveness…) so that the group he/she leads works towards a common goal while ensuring the well-being of all members.
Persevering people are able to remain constant in their efforts towards a given goal.. Perseverance is the ability that allows us to stand firm despite the obstacles we may encounter along the way. When someone has this ability, he or she is able to work towards long-term objectives, without being driven by short-term or temporary incentives.
Collaboration has to do with the ability to work together with other people to achieve a common goal. It is not surprising that this skill is on this list, since we are undoubtedly social beings and together we achieve greater things than separately. However, not all people have the ability to cooperate with others.
For example, there are those who are not able to respect other opinions or do not know how to delegate when it is their turn. Working in a team in an adequate manner requires the fulfillment of the skills we have discussed above: assertiveness, empathy, problem-solving skills, among others.
9. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability that allows individuals to analyze reality, detect issues to be improved and offer alternatives to achieve it.. People with this ability are able to detect possible points to work on and make constructive criticisms. That is to say, they know how to convey what needs to be changed and how to do it, not to hurt or harm others, but to achieve positive change.
No one said that making decisions was an easy task. However, decision making is a core competency in life, as we continually have to choose between alternatives. Skilled decision-makers never act on impulse, but rather stop to evaluate the situation in order to weigh the pros and cons of each option and the possible consequences of each possible course of action. Moreover, they are able to take this step by assuming responsibility for their actions with all the consequences.
11. Social skills
As mentioned above, humans are social individuals. Therefore, we need to establish healthy and reinforcing relationships with others in order to feel emotionally fulfilled. Relating to others in an intelligent way is not always easy. People with this type of ability know how to manage both verbally and nonverbally when communicating with others..
They know how to stand firm in the face of social pressures and, likewise, they know how to negotiate in conflict situations in order to achieve a solution that benefits all parties. They are also able to ask for help from others when they need it, something that many individuals find difficult.
People with initiative are characterized by being proactive in all activities in which they are involved. They are people who seek to initiate projects and live experiences, since their desire to grow and learn far outweighs any fears that may arise. Initiative is often related to creativity, as people with innovative ideas are more likely to initiate new activities and mobilize resources to realize their plans.
In this article we have reviewed the most important socioemotional skills. While intellectual abilities are important for getting by in life, they are nothing if they are not accompanied by a good set of tools related to emotional intelligence. The key to success is not an exact equation, although it is clear that all those who succeed know how to perform on the socioemotional level.
They know and regulate their emotional states, they know how to relate to others in a healthy way, they work and cooperate in teams, they know how to lead well, they are persevering and never give up, since obstacles and failures are perceived as a source of learning and not as a limitation on the way. It is clear that, regardless of the discipline we are talking about, emotions are the basis of human functioning and intelligence is not only a cognitive issue, but also a social one..