Are you smart enough for your job?

Mental intelligence has lost some of its prominence in the workplace especially after studies have revealed that managers high in intelligences such as EQ and SQ produce better results than managers who only possess IQ.Organisations that previously placed enormous emphasis on hiring super-smart people are now shifting focus to individuals who are also strong in other intelligences.


So does this mean that you’re doomed if you’re only intellectually endowed or you’re off the hook if you’re not quite the bright spark? No, IQ will always have a role and arguably an important place in business.However, the business world is looking for a specific type of intelligence rather than pure brainiacs. Industry requires managers and employees who can think critically,which involves the abilities to think analytically, evaluate, synthesise and solve complex, unfamiliar problems.

IQ tests have generally been shrouded in controversy because the scores were deemed to be static. However, the good news is that recent research, especially on the “Flynn effect”, shows that IQ is not a static quotient but can change throughout one’s life due to environmental factors. The implication of this is profound because anyone has the ability to increase her or his IQ and, in particular,the mental and rational functions as required by the business world.

Here are feasible strategies to hone your mental intelligence:

Ask the question “why”?These three letters will shift thinking from the superficial to unpacking the root causes, forcing you to test assumptions and view issues from a different perspective. Ask why as many times as possible to get to the root of an issue.If someone approaches you with an idea you might not agree with or don’t comprehend fully, ask why she or he generated the idea before dismissing it. You’d be surprised by how it opens up the conversation and invites you to think laterally.

Think several steps ahead. Great chess players tend to be great strategists because they think several steps ahead. In the same way, critical thinkers think several steps ahead by identifying and reviewing future scenarios or possibilities in an attempt to find solutions and mitigate risks.

Create linkages. Meeting new people and being exposed to different situations enables you to glean new ideas, experiences and perspectives, which are critical for cognitive development.

Read, read and read. Read to expand your knowledge, increase your vocabulary, expose yourself to different paradigms and ideas, all of which are activities that contribute to increasing brainpower.

Play games.Boost your brain capacity plus have fun at the same time. Games such as Sudoku, Scrabble, chess, crossword puzzles, riddles and rubrics cubes involving numbers, words, sequences and visual awareness help to stimulate the brain. Playing with friends will boost brainpower even more because you’re also benefiting from creating networks.

Take the long cut. We’ve allowed our brains to become lazy by relying too much on technology to think for us. Instead of using a calculator, work it out in your head. Look up a word in a dictionary rather than relying on the spell checker. Learn someone’s number off pat, instead of relying on speed dial. Remember a route, instead of resorting to your GPS. All these activities will keep your brain challenged and active, which is critical for your brain’s development.

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