I recently had an opportunity to conduct a creativity workshop for a small group and as a pre-requisite, I thought it would be useful to evaluate the members of the workshop on their dispositions. After evaluating a couple of tools, I finally settled on the ‘Multiple Intelligences’ tool for this exercise. In this article, I aim to outline the motivation of the tool and the process that was followed so that the reader can leverage this for their own growth.
What is Multiple Intelligences?
Multiple Intelligences is a theory developed by Dr.Howard Gardner in 1983 to propose that our potential is not limited by just general intelligence but in fact shaped by eight different intelligences. Understanding what those intelligences are allows educators to recognize these strengths in children and thus be able to encourage certain natural skills in those children. For adults in the workplace, it allows one to evaluate ones strengths and try to find a career or job that plays to that strength.
The chart below from indicates what each component of the Multiple Intelligence emphasizes:
The workshop participants then proceeded to assess their multiple intelligences and determine next steps. What follows is the result of one such assessment.
Step 1: Evaluate your Multiple Intelligences
There are several online surveys that you can take to evaluate your multiple intelligences. One such survey is here
This is what the results looked like
Step 2: Identify your Top 2–3 Strengths
Explain why or how you think each of these is a strength for you and how the strength affects your professional and/or personal life.
The survey identified Linguistic Intelligence and Intrapersonal Intelligence as my top two strengths and I agree with the assessment.
I have always enjoyed writing which for me could take multiple forms — Penning down my thoughts in a social media article, writing a poem or putting together a structured essay for my work. I have not only enjoyed these but have also successfully used these to convincingly express my point of view during a debate or a discussion. At work, I leverage this strength by being the go-to-person for thoughts around futuristic ideas and also key presentations. On the personal front, my Linguistic Intelligence has enabled me to express my observations on life in a captivating form to my social group.
My strong IntraPersonal Intelligence is exhibited in my ability to be innately aware of my emotions and how they affect me. With this awareness comes a freedom to experience the emotions without having to justify it’s presence and hence ensuring that productivity is not hampered. My IntraPersonal Intelligence has helped me deal with stressful situations at work and home, helped me craft a very clear understanding of life and my role in it and also a very clear understanding of my relationships and how they affect my emotions.
Step 3: Identify Improvement Areas
Include 2 areas from the survey that you would like to improve upon, including an explanation of why they think each of these areas may be a weakness for them and how the weakness affects their professional and/or personal life.)
The survey marked me low on two fronts — Interpersonal Intelligence and Kinesthetic Intelligence.
I have realized that my challenge to give direct negative feedback to my team members during performance reviews is a manifestation of my low Interpersonal Intelligence. Lower Interpersonal Intelligence also hinders my ability to resolve conflicts with friends or other departments in my organization.
My low Kinesthetic Intelligence does manifest itself when I have to demonstrate concepts using models or actions during training sessions. This has hindered my ability to be effective in getting across complex topics to my audience when the best means is to use models or actions or other means like role-playing or games.
Step 4: Plan of Action
This plan should include specific steps the learner plans to take for improving upon two of their weaknesses, including their desired results.
Plan for improving Interpersonal Intelligence:
- Carry out introspection to figure out which emotion during the performance feedback process or conflict is uncomfortable to me (This could be done by working with a coach)
- For each of the identified emotions from above, actively seek out projects and situations to deliberately exercise those uncomfortable interactions and record my emotions in a journal.
- Review the journal weekly to mark my progress against each of the parameters identified for improvement.
- Get comfortable giving negative feedback during performance reviews for team members.
- Get comfortable with confrontation and other conflict situations at work and in a social context.
Plan for improving Kinesthetic Intelligence:
- Plan to make at least 4 presentations every quarter where I am expected to present using props, games, role-playing.
- Prepare for each presentation very well and run few mock runs to make sure I am comfortable during actual presentations
- Get a high rating for my presentation using props, role playing, game etc.
- No anxiety for future presentation which stretches my Kinesthetic Intelligence comfort zone.
Step 5: Identify the Benefits of Improvements
You should use this section to explain how these improvements on their weaknesses will be useful to your organization/workplace/community, citing two examples.
Benefits of improving Interpersonal Intelligence
- Timely and proportionate feedback will lead to an effective management of my team thus increasing their productivity
- Being comfortable with confrontation and conflict situations will lead to better business decisions being made for the organization rather than settle for mediocre decisions.
Benefits of improving Kinesthetic Intelligence
- Being able to effectively communicate ideas during training would lead to a much better trained workforce.
- Being able to use props, role play , games in my communication will lead to more engaging presentations and discussions thus opening up the possibility of innovative ideas for my organization.
So, go ahead and assess your multiple intelligences and evaluate strategies to harness it. You’ll be building a strong foundation for long-term growth!