What’s Your Relationship IQ?

What’s Your Relationship IQ?

Did you know that being good at relationships is a kind of intelligence? You’ve probably heard that people have different intelligence quotients (IQ). You may have even checked out your own IQ with an online quiz, or perhaps had a child’s IQ formally tested at school. But research is showing that an even better predictor of life effectiveness than intellectual smarts is relational smarts.

Relationship intelligence is based on four critical premises. First, behaviors are driven by motives. It turns out that all humans are motivated by a blend of three universal motivational values—acceptance, significance, and security. Underneath what we do on the surface is why we do it. Awareness of your own why, as well as the why of others, is key to becoming more relationally intelligent.

Second, motives shift temporarily in conflict. When our motivational values are threatened, we defend them through a series of reactions. How we are motivated when challenged is called a conflict sequence, because there is a predictable pattern to our behavior that is more rigid, reactive, and narrowly focused than when we are feeling safe. Becoming aware of our conflict sequence is key to stopping the escalating nature of unhealthy conflict patterns, and solving conflict adaptively.

Third, our use of strengths can be overdone. A strength is our attempt to add value or make a contribution. The way we use strengths depends on the way we connect reasons to our motivational values. Because we are motivated by a unique blend of values at our core, each of us uses strengths for different reasons. However, when we are not aware of the connection between our use of strengths and our underlying values, we can end up using a few preferred strengths too frequently and intensely. Overdoing our strengths proves ineffective and may even annoy or trigger others into conflict.

Finally, filters influence our perceptions. While all of us see the world in a certain way, we may fail to realize that what we see is shaped by our own motivational lens. It’s literally like looking at the world through a pair of shaded glasses that casts a particular hue. The problem is that others are looking through a different shade of values, which in turn colors their perspective. Until we become aware that perceptions are not reality, we often react to different perspectives defensively or maladaptively, which hurts our relationships.

Fortunately, there is a way to become aware of our own patterns and proficiencies in the relational premises. The Strength Deployment Inventory reliably measures motivations, conflict sequence, strengths, and overdone strengths. Raising your awareness of these four views of yourself has been shown to increase relational intelligence and improve relational effectiveness. Unlock your relational intelligence through the wisdom of the SDI!

Del Fehsenfeld