Social sensitivity

Today, I was reading an article in the New York Times Magazine by the author Charles Duhigg (who wrote the ‘Power of Habit’). I haven’t read something so interesting in a long time!

What Google learned from its quest to build the perfect team” is the title of the article.

Google gathered researchers for a project called ‘Aristotle’ and they researched productive and less productive teams. What struck me as interesting was the following conclusion:

“…the good teams all had high ‘‘average social sensitivity’’ — a fancy way of saying they were skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions and other nonverbal cues. … They seemed to know when someone was feeling upset or left out. People on the ineffective teams, in contrast, scored below average. They seemed, as a group, to have less sensitivity toward their colleagues.”

…  The article also refers to the concept of “psychological safety”.

“Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up,’’ Edmondson wrote in a study published in 1999. ‘‘It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’”

This confirms what I’ve been fascinated by for a long time: the effect of wise, humorous and emotional intelligent people in teams or projects.


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