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Could “personal intelligence” be the future for workplace success?

The concept of emotional intelligence continues to gain further ground in the management sphere, as many begin to recognise the value of employees with this trait.

And while it looks set to hold high regard in the workplace for years to come, a similar new theory – that of “personal intelligence” – may yet add more weight to the argument that a holistic approach to candidate recruitment and selection is needed.

Coined by the University of New Hampshire's renowned Professor John Mayer, who was one of the leading proponents of the theory of emotional intelligence, personal intelligence refers to the ability to “understand our own personality and the personalities of the people around us”.

Those who can use this form of “broader intelligence”, Professor Mayer says, are likely to possess superior interpersonal skills – a key requirement of the modern workplace.

“People who are high in personal intelligence are able to anticipate their own desires and actions, predict the behaviour of others, motivate themselves over the long term, and make better life decisions,” he explains.

One of the most important skills those with high personal intelligence possess is the ability to read others' non-verbal cues and make quick, efficient decisions based on them. Additionally, these people can draw from the feedback from others to gain a better perception of themselves.

“We draw initial guesses about personalities based on how people dress and present themselves, and we adjust how we interact with them accordingly. We run through scenarios in our heads, trying to anticipate how others will react, in order to choose the best course in dealing with a boss, a coworker, or a partner,” he says.

Ultimately, those with greater personal intelligence make decisions in all aspects of their life based on what will be the best fit for their personality.

Whether it's emotional or personal intelligence, employees with high levels of these forms of “broader intelligence” have plenty to offer the right employers.

Making personality assessments a part of your recruitment procedures can help you find those who possess these important traits.