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Equipping You to Create Authentic Community in Your Workplace
Image of text: "Tip of the Week"
Collage of Tokyo Olympic athletes
Image credit: Neil Jamieson / TIME Magazine
A few weeks ago I referred to the Good Work Project and the work of Harvard professor Howard Gardner. The work for which Gardner is most known - the Theory of Multiple Intelligences - is always worth taking a look at, and seems particularly relevant during the Olympics. The Olympics provides a dazzling display of athletes using a mixture of natural talent and extreme training and hard work. They use their physical bodies, their mindset, their awareness of themselves and others, their spatial skills, their logical problem-solving, and in some cases even musical skills (when a gymnast is performing an interpretive display to backing music).

The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (or MI Theory) was introduced to the world by Gardner in his 1983 book Frames of Mind, and caused a revolution in how institutions look at the idea of "intelligence." Challenging the traditional notion that intelligence is a single capacity held by everyone to greater or lesser extents, his work proposed that intelligence could be categorized into several different areas. Standardized tests like the US standards SAT, ACT, GRE and others primarily focus on mathematical and linguistic intelligence, but Gardner's studies initially suggested seven distinct areas of intelligence, later refined to add an eighth:
  • Logical-Mathematical - problem-solving using pragmatic steps and mathematical skills;
  • Linguistic - writing and speaking skills;
  • Interpersonal - awareness of other people's skills, needs, and emotions;
  • Intrapersonal - self-awareness of one's own skills, needs, and emotions;
  • Spatial - ability to see visual space and accurately gauge how things 'fit';
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic - ability to harness one's own physical skills accurately;
  • Musical - understanding of rhythm, ability to interpret and/or play music/sing;
  • Naturalist - ability to see patterns and make categorizations, in nature or otherwise.
Additional studies over recent years have suggested a possible ninth category of intelligence: Existential (indicating interest and ability to connect with a greater world than one's own lived experiences); and Gardner has also proposed others: Moral (indicating understanding of how actions connect with the concept of 'good'), and Teaching-Pedagogical (the ability to successfully support others in growing in skills). While the specifics of a person's individual intelligence and skills can be analyzed from a number of different angles, with no framework being the whole-and-total truth, MI Theory can provide a useful way to consider both ourselves and those around us.

Of course, a high-functioning team includes a variety of strengths - ideally across the spectrum of multiple intelligences. But it doesn't just include them - it embraces them, nurtures them, and welcomes their contributions. So how can this framework be useful for you with your team this week?

This Week's Tip:
  1. Consider the MI Theory areas of intelligence - which ones feel like strengths to you? Consider reframing "how intelligent am I?" to "how am I intelligent?"  Self-assessment quizzes are available online but there is no single authoritative one - if you choose to take one, take a few from different sources. Try leaning into some of your areas of strength this week.
  2. Think about your colleagues and team members using the MI framework. In which areas do they show strength? In which areas have you assumed strength or weakness, but you can see that assumption might be faulty?
  3. Plan inclusively during meetings, work sessions, and projects. Consider how to bring out the strengths you see in others. How can you harness each person's unique diversity to build diverse unity?
  4. Ask what training you can offer someone who displays strength in a particular area? And/or ask what support you can offer to increase skills in areas of challenge?
  5. Look for the strengths and intelligences displayed by others. Whether these are friends, family members, Olympians... Keep your eyes open to see things you may not have noticed before.
Try this out this week and let us know how it goes - we'd love to hear from you. If you have thoughts or questions, contact us or post in our Facebook group.
 
“I'm not the first Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles”
- Simone Biles
Join us on the second Tuesday of each month from 8-9pm EDT for a Good News Jam virtual happy hour! Celebrate each other's good news and/or share some of your own!

Where are you finding encouragement at the moment? Have you had a breakthrough on your team? Did you experience or witness a moment of kindness by someone else? Did you close a deal that's been in the works for a while? Did you help your child learn how to bake? No matter how big or small, share your good news so the group can celebrate with you!

In past Good News Jams we've had celebrations of engagements, new jobs, completing certifications, being able to be with family - even musical performances! Who knows what each Good News Jam will bring?

No good news to share? No problem - come and be encouraged by other people's!

Upcoming dates: August 10.
RSVP here
Image of text: "Conversation Peace"
Cartoon of professional hitting an iceberg with a hammer
Each week we include one question you can use as an ice-breaker for conversations with colleagues at the beginning of meetings, or to post on your internal workplace messaging platform. Some serious, some silly, but all with the intention of leading to further conversations and building community. This week's question:

"If you could compete in an Olympic sport, which one would you choose and why?"

Let us know how it goes on our Facebook group - we'd love to hear your experiences.
 

Building Bridges - creating authentic community in your workplace
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This group is an open forum for discussion, idea sharing, and resources to support and equip you in creating an authentic and equitable workplace culture.
 
Image of text: "How We Can Help"
Building Bridges Leadership offers facilitation and consulting to help you reach your goals in team building, inclusion, and belonging. Each week we feature one offering in this newsletter. You can always visit Building Bridges Leadership to see a wider slate of offerings. This week's highlighted offering:

Online Offsites and Board Retreats for community building, communication, diversity, inclusion, & belonging. Contact us now to learn more about how we can help.

“Ian has always brought a calm, clear focus, and helped me navigate some of the most complex organizational problems. He made it feel easy. He always brought a breath of peace in the midst of chaos.” 
– Philip Harding, Co-founder/CEO, ImpactJunkie
 
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Image: Headshot of Ian Jackson
Ian Jackson, M.A. Psych., Ed.M.
Principal, facilitator and consultant at Building Bridges Leadership.
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