Socially Responsible Doesn't Mean Trying to Save the World

Part Five of a multi-part series on Emotional Intelligence

With the boom of corporate social responsibility programs in companies, and the ever-growing number of expansive political movements making headlines, one might think that social responsibility has to have massive impact and result in huge transformation.  

While being more socially responsible may, indeed, affect world peace or create a social movement, it doesn’t have to be large-scale to be significant.

Social responsibility is a fundamental aspect of Emotional Intelligence. It is defined in that context as your ability and tendency to cooperate and contribute to the welfare of a larger system (which could be your family, a work team, your community, your company, your world). It means to have and to act in accordance with a social consciousness and to show concern for the group or the greater community.

It is rooted in caregiving, support, cooperation, contribution, and service.

With all of the pain and suffering in the world today, I get overwhelmed and stuck thinking where to begin to make a difference. Even though as a coach I help many people on a daily basis, who in turn make an impact in their own lives, I often feel that it’s not enough. Recently, I’ve been giving much thought to where in this political climate I can use my talents to be more than just a loudmouth on Facebook, sharing memes and voicing concerns. I will let you all know when I have that figured out. It’s coming — I promise.

Active social responsibility yields selflessness and a care and concern for people, the community, and the environment. It’s a focus on something other than one’s self. That focus can be on something small or big.  

I have sometimes received feedback from my clients that they feel their employees perceive them as not caring about anyone but themselves. They are thought to be more about self-interest than the good of the team or the organization. This reveals a perception of low social responsibility, and can create a level of distrust.  

With low social responsibility, one can receive feedback that they are insensitive to others’ feelings or group needs, are unconcerned for the welfare and betterment of others, or are socially irresponsible.

With too much social responsibility, one can be perceived as a martyr, petty and self-righteous, as well as detached to the needs of others while focused too much on the needs of the masses. When you are overly socially responsible, it can also impact one’s own self-care.

Here are some actions you can take to develop and support social responsibility:

  • Find one group or cause that excites you, and help with a project (nothing too huge, if you are someone who can get easily overwhelmed). If you’re having trouble coming up with one, let me know — we can brainstorm these kinds of things together.

  • Do an inventory of your strengths and see how you can use them to service someone in need.

  • In meetings, or in groups that you belong to, lend your voice to how that group can look outward to help a larger community.

  • Make “We” statements to reinforce the group’s sense of unity and cohesion.

  • Think about what could be a positive consequence of everyone taking the same action moving toward a common goal.  

  • Set up a phone bank to help get the vote out in local and national elections for candidates you support.

How can you increase your social responsibility? What gets in the way of being more socially conscious?

If you’re ready to take the next step in your Emotional Intelligence, reach out for a complimentary connection call.


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Matthew CallahanComment