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[Opinion] Interpersonal Intelligence

Posted September. 26, 2005 06:15,   


The intelligence quotient (IQ), which measures the intellectual capacity of human beings, was first developed in France in 1904 and has been widely used ever since. In 1983, however, Professor Howard Gardener of Harvard University offered a challenge to the concept of IQ. He announced the “Multi-Intelligence Theory” on the grounds that his survey on outstanding geniuses demonstrated they did not necessarily have a high IQ.

Arguing that human intelligence needs a more sophisticated categorization, he suggested eight frameworks, including physical exercise, spatial and music intelligences, as well as traditionally emphasized linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences.

Interpersonal intelligence, which was also included in the frameworks, is a capacity that has been highlighted most recently. People with high interpersonal intelligence have the ability to keenly analyze human acts; they understand others well and easily socialize with anyone. A person who was referred to as a genius of interpersonal intelligence by Professor Gardener is former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Especially when making public speeches, Clinton is said to have a remarkable capability to grasp the audience’s responses immediately and to reflect them in his speeches right away. There are many with excellent interpersonal intelligence among politicians as well as businessmen and clerics.

A recent survey shows that when 527 chief executive officers (CEO) in Korea were asked “what is the most decisive intelligence for becoming a CEO,” 27 percent of them answered it was interpersonal intelligence, followed by logical/mathematical intelligence, chosen by 24 percent of respondents. With CEOs emphasizing interpersonal intelligence, the saying, “Studying is not everything in your life,” now feels real.

It is also said that interpersonal intelligence can be developed in any course of one’s lifetime.

After all, interpersonal intelligence is one’s capacity as a leader to unite and integrate an organization as one. One thing that CEOs aspire to best display is leadership. As leadership is also a pressing task for the country as a whole, the importance of interpersonal intelligence is not confined to entrepreneurs. Parents and school authorities should pay keen attention to educating our youngsters, who will shoulder the nation’s future, in the field. When it comes to our politicians, who are mired in conflicts and confrontations, what can be done right now to enhance their interpersonal intelligence?

Hong Chan-shik, Editorial Writer, chansik@donga.com