The workload of a seafarer leaves few time for social interaction; thus achieving some social quality time is even more important when onboard. But do you think you have the appropriate attitude for healthy social relationships and co-existence on a ship?
Life onboard the ship is a micrograph of society; A socially intelligent individual will be so onboard the ship and onshore. Either living onboard or living ashore with friends and family, you should remember that having a satisfactory IQ is not enough for sound social interplay; you also need a good amount of “common sense,” or “street smart”.
In other words, efficient socializing requires not only cognitive but also social intelligence, which refers briefly to the capacity to know yourself, as well as to know others and subsequently, “act wisely in human relations”. Let’s see what social intelligence means in practice:
- Fluency and conversational skills: Have you noticed any of your colleagues “working” the recreational room with their conversational skills? The social intelligent mate is the one who puts an equal dose of humor, sincerity and tact in the dialogue, thus can carry on a discussion with practically anybody.
- Listening Skills: Typically, socially intelligent persons are good listeners. This means they do not just listen to respond but truly pay attention to what they listen to, while others enjoy the satisfaction of becoming understood.
- Self-Efficacy: A basic characteristic of a socially intelligent person is that they feel comfortable with all types of people because they are able to adapt to different social roles. This enables them to feel socially self-confident, what is known as perceived social self-efficacy.
- Lack of arguing: Ship is a working environment and arguments are normal. Even worse, a seafarer has to deal with the same people every day, also outside the working hours. In case of any mishap onboard, seafarers could easily blame each other and create tensions. The socially intelligent crew member is the one who understands that arguing or making another person feel bad isn’t the way to go, but prefers listen to the other with an open mind.
- Appropriate reactions: Life onboard often lies with unexpected and, sometimes, challenging situations. Either in charge or lower in the hierarchy, being able to respond accordingly in each scenario is a key feature of a social intelligent individual.
- Reputational management: Being socially intelligent means you have confidence in your communicational skills, but not that you are not interested of the impression you create to others. The successful balance lies with the ability to control your image while remaining “authentic”.
- Precision: Socially intelligent people say what they intend to say, speaking calmly, but concisely. They talk to communicate and not just receive a response.
Remember, no one is born socially intelligent; Social intelligence is a soft skill and it can be learned, and the small society of a ship environment offers an interesting opportunity to work on it!