As we progress in our careers and work with all kinds of people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing there’s just one or two areas of strength that are the most important–and that everyone should strive to develop these in order to advance.
Psychologist Howard Gardner, however, pointed out seven different “types of intelligence” that each of us possess in some quantity. Gardner noted that one of these tends to develop more than others and became the primary, unique way in which a person excels. Here they are:
1. Linguistic Intelligence: Characterized by a strong ability to express one’s self both verbally and in writing, and to understand the viewpoint of others.
2. Logic Intelligence: An ability to manage mathematics and logic with ease, possessing quick insight that helps solve complex problems and divide them into smaller steps in a well-organized and disciplined manner.
3. Kinesthetic Intelligence: The ease of the body in expressing itself, with a great sense of space, distance, depth, and size, often seen in Olympic and high performance athletes with their excellent coordination and motor skills.
4. Spatial Intelligence: Characterized by an ability to create, imagine, and draw 2-D and 3-D images, often possessed by professionals in gaming, architecture, multimedia, and aerospace.
5. Musical Intelligence: Shows up in those who can listen to sound and music and identify different patterns and notes with ease, and can easily create harmonies and songs and learn to play an instrument from the simple knowledge of theory or by listening to a piece of music.
6. Interpersonal Intelligence: Often a characteristic of “born leaders,” showing up in practical, responsible behaviors in people who are calm, listen well, and speak well and thus are able to effectively influence people and know how to bring out their best qualities.
7. Intrapersonal Intelligence: A characteristic of someone who is deeply connected with themselves; a person usually more reserved, but commanding great admiration from their peers.
Is one of these intelligences your unique calling card, and are you giving yourself enough credit for how talented you are in this arena? Are you pursuing opportunities each day to utilize this area of intelligence more and more, while continue to learn more about it?
If not, it might be time to start some new conversations with your manager and those around you. Don’t ever assume you don’t have what it takes, just because you’re not similar enough to others who are doing well in a particular role.