A third component of social intelligence is what psychologist Daniel Goleman calls “social cognition.”
People who have this skill know how to act in just about any social situation — they understand not only their own culture’s norms for behavior within gatherings of people, but the social signs that reveal who has the most power in the group, who is allied with whom, and who might actually be trouble.
People who don’t have this skill tend to make a lot of social blunders. They also tend to be in conflict a lot of the time — without understanding why.
Social congnition is important in the workplace because it allows us to perceive subtle social undercurrents.What we do with that understanding, however, is a whole different matter. That is, it’s possible to be very adept at reading social cues, but have no idea of how to respond to them.