Friday, July 8, 2011

Stephen Covey's Four Human Intelligences/Capacities


Stephen Covey's Four Human Intelligences/Capacities

Stephen Covey clearly integrates four human intelligences into a wholistic approach to life in his 2004 leadership offering, The 8th Habit. The teaching is, that if you develop each of the intelligences (IQ, EQ, PQ and SQ), then you will find more fulfilment in life and in fact will be more influential and successful in what you live for.
Throughout the last part of the twentieth century the talk was about IQ (Mental Intelligence), and the focus was on the importance of developing your own IQ to better interact in business and relationships. As years progressed the understanding and acceptance of what is labelled EQ (Emotional Intelligence) gathered some traction. The substance of EQ relates to the emotional capacity of people to interact with others and is related to self-esteem, interpersonal relationships and self-assertiveness. Covey also highlights PQ (Physical Intelligence) and SQ (Spiritual Intelligence). PQ is defined as the intelligence related to the natural aspects of the functions of your body, for example, the process of digesting food, or the absorption of vitamin D into the blood; so to improve your PQ is to improve your fitness and your overall physical health. The spiritual intelligence is the glue that holds the other three intelligences together and it, 'represents our drive for meaning and connection with the infinite' (Covey, 2004: 53). Our spiritual intelligence helps us discover the overarching principles that characterise our life, and the principles that in fact enrich us.
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For a summary of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, click here.
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The four human intelligences offer a wholistic opportunity to enrich our lives, as we seek to develop these facets of our lives - mind (IQ), body (PQ), spirit (SQ) and heart (EQ). Let me give you an example of how this plays out in real life. You may be a dedicated manager of a bakery franchise and you have a passion to increase your business and focus on your own development. Firstly you might review literature on baking, small business leadership, accounting techniques, etc - you are choosing to increase your IQ. Secondly you might decide to have a jog every afternoon, because you notice you are growing physically weary keeping up the long hours in the kitchen - you are now working on your PQ. Thirdly, you notice the need to grow your emotional intelligence (EQ), because of the regular conflict resolution needed between employees, and the assertiveness that is longed for, especially when it comes to negotiating rent and expectations with shopping centre management. Finally, in the process, you take a day or two off the busy schedule, walk up a mountain, with the fresh air on your face, and you contemplate your place in the bigger scheme of things. As you spend this time reflecting on the principles that characterise your life, you find yourself thanking God for the blessings he's given you over the years - this is about your SQ.

By developing all four of the human intelligences discussed, we can have a greater impact on people around us, and effect greater change in the causes we fight for.

Please offer your helpful, constructive thoughts and comments below. It would be a great set of teaching to expand on, ponder and implement into life.
See Stephen Covey's - The 8th Habit (2004).
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For a summary of Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Click Here.
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