Are helpful staff more intelligent?
In general, the research suggests the answer to this articles title is: yes.
A series of research studies that look into anti-social behaviour of young people and IQ levels tend to agree that people with low IQ are more likely to partake in anti-social behaviour. But this does not necessarily suggest that people with higher IQ’s will in fact be more helpful nor more compassionate.
The most interesting study of this was a longitudinal twin study looking at environmental influences on behaviour of twins in relation to their intelligence quality scores. The study found that children with lower IQ are more susceptible to follow a opposition defiance path by the age of 5 that was affirmed as normal behaviour for the individual by 7; and there was little difference between boys and girls.
We know that early onset antisocial behaviour is a strong risk factor for poor mental health and a host of adjustment problems in adult life; and there have been numerous explanations proposed for the correlation between low IQ and poor social skills. The most notable to me is that children with poor cognitive skills are more likely to misunderstand rules and find it difficult to negotiate conflict with words, which in turn leads to general frustration that is more easily expressed through angry outbursts and dismissive defiance.
The reassuring factor here is that social skills, like most skills can be taught and through effective coaching we can assist people to grow in their understanding; which in turn means that all team players (not just the ‘smart’ ones) can be helpful, follow guidelines and support the team.