Do you think the definition of intelligence is merely a high score on an IQ test?
We’re all familiar with the standard methods of measuring intelligence. But if you only define intelligence by hard skills, you won't have the big picture. Instead, you'll limit your ability to change your leadership style and improve your life.
Your intelligence is more than how good you are at maths or languages. In fact, our ability to learn and understand is made up of many skills and qualities. Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory separates mental ability into nine different types.
This intelligence model explains how you can excel in wide variety of areas, instead of just a limited skill set. And it allows you to identify your strengths and work on weak areas.
The definition of Intelligence is the ability to gather knowledge and skills and apply them to your life. This means that an intelligent person can reason and understand their way through life, and not just act on instinct.
But some ways of measuring intelligence, like IQ tests, don’t take soft skills into account. Multiple intelligences explain how a great mathematician can also read body language well. Or how a 3D modelling expert can remember a song in perfect pitch.
Your intelligence is fluid and adaptable. And if you develop skills outside your comfort zone, you can adapt to new challenges more easily.
Types of Intelligence: The 9 Types and Their Meaning
The types of multiple intelligences and their meaning are:
You have solid spatial intelligence if you can take an object and visualise it in 3D. Also, you may enjoy solving complex puzzles or manipulating images. People with this intelligence type are often architects, engineers and graphic designers.
Are you happiest when you’re interacting with nature? Or are you interested in the natural world and how it works? People with a naturalist intelligence type are sensitive to their environments. So, modern-day naturalists may be environmentalists, veterinarians or herbalists.
You have a well-developed musical ability if you’re more sensitive to tones and rhythm than other people. Also, another sign is having perfect pitch or recalling a piece of music by ear. A musician is an obvious career path, but you may also be a musical therapist, recording engineer or a voice teacher.
Does seeing patterns in numbers and complex ideas come easily to you? Or are you skilled at working through abstract thoughts? If so, you have good logical-mathematical intelligence. People with this skill may become accountants, computer programmers or economists.
People with existential intelligence enjoy considering abstract thoughts, theories and the meaning of life. Also, they are curious about life’s big questions and enjoy giving comfort to others. Popular career paths are psychotherapists, journalists and counsellors.
Do you naturally understand what people mean and where they are coming from? Or are you sensitive to other people’s moods, feelings and motivations? Then your interpersonal intelligence is sure to put people at ease. Motivational speakers, marketing managers and politicians score highly in this category.
If you are naturally coordinated when moving through the world or when using objects, your bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is well-developed. People with this ability have excellent reflexes and fine motor control. So professional dancers, surgeons and firefighters have this skill in spades.
People with high linguistic intelligence can easily explain complex meanings and thoughts to others. And they paint colourful pictures using words, tapping into their natural creativity. Obvious career choices are translators, editors and writers.
Do you have a clear understanding of what makes you, you? Or are you motivated in your quest for happiness and fulfilment? Then your intra-personal intelligence is one of your strengths. Many entrepreneurs, researchers and artists score high in this ability.
Multiple Intelligence Types in Leadership
The theory of multiple intelligence types covers both hard and soft skills that are essential to effective leadership. And whether you’re an entrepreneur, a CEO or a people manager, you’ll be using these nine types of intelligence at some point.
If you think that leadership intelligence is only what you can measure, you’re limiting yourself and your career. Soft skills are vital for leading a team and inspiring people to follow you. If you can grasp which intelligence types need work, you can fix these areas.
Transforming Your Intelligence
But what if you can quickly grasp a complex theory in a meeting but you can't relate to your employees? Or what if you can explain challenging concepts to your team but you can’t sketch out an infographic to save your life?
Your skills and intelligence were not set at birth. If you have qualities that come naturally it makes sense to turn them into a career. But you need a wide range of skills to inspire others to follow and respect you.
You can develop and nurture these nine intelligence types with the right support. Because your leadership potential isn’t just what comes naturally to you. It’s also about recognising your weaknesses and working to improve them.
Over to You
Are you ready to develop your performance as a leader and executive? Do you want to transform your leadership style through coaching that’s tailored to your strengths and weaknesses?
I use a neuroscience-based coaching approach to help executives, top-level professionals and entrepreneurs fulfil all their potential. Click here to learn more and to schedule a 30-minute discovery session.