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Diplomatic Intelligence

Catalysts display a particular kind of intelligence.  It's called "Diplomatic Intelligence."  Be aware that this is not a political diplomacy like we're accustomed to seeing, where there's a lot of talk and posturing for the public's benefit.  Instead, we're talking about really stepping into the world view of someone else and working to get all sides to truly understand each other. Catalysts do this naturally, and are often seen as the catalysts in a work group. By relating to others empathetically, they possess a keen ability to reflect and anticipate unspoken issues and intentions of others. They seem to provide "lubricant" for group maintenance and interactions. Thus they appear to be natural catalysts and diplomats.

Here are some skills Catalysts naturally demonstrate:

  • Build bridges between people

  • Have empathy

  • Strive to unify by understanding and resolving deeper issues

  • Communicate similarities with symbols and metaphors

  • Clarify values, mission and meaning 

Diplomatic intelligence is the talent for dealing with people in a skillful, sensitive manner that enables bridges of mutual understanding, cooperation, and consensus to be built.  Catalysts place a strong value on harmony, unity, and cooperation, and possess the requisite skills to realize these aspirations in their own relationships and in helping other parties work or live together more productively.

Catalysts draw heavily on their natural gift for empathy in dealing diplomatically with others.  They are not only able to anticipate how others will feel in a given situation, but often they themselves feel what the other person is feeling.  This empathic connection enables them to see things from another person's perspective and to communicate that perspective to others.  Thus, conflict resolution, mediation, and consensus building are often tasks at which the Catalyst excels.

Diplomatic effectiveness is further enhanced by the Catalysts' natural tendency for integrative thinking.  A Catalyst will often notice first the similarities between people, ideas, or theories before noticing and exploring the differences.  They are also able to perceive similarities between very disparate categories, circumstances, or individuals, similarities often unnoticed by others.

Catalysts characteristically possess strong language skills, particularly the use of symbols and metaphors.  They often use this form of language to help others understand unfamiliar concepts or perspectives from a familiar point of reference.  Thus Catalysts are often gifted at revealing the deeper meaning or significance of others' actions or words, the true roots of a conflict, or the motivations of others in ways that people readily understand and appreciate.

While gifted at building bridges between others, Catalysts are simultaneously adept at highlighting the particular contributions, talents, and potentials of individuals.  This is frequently displayed in their ability and tendency to praise and encourage the current strengths and latent potential of those around them.  Thus the role of developer is one that Catalysts frequently play, whether it is their official responsibility or not!  Bringing out the best in others is a natural gift for these individuals.

Catalysts are also generally skilled as catalysts of change -- especially when that change involves improving the circumstances of others.  Frequently they adopt the role of an advocate, especially for those they view as less fortunate, wronged, oppressed, or overlooked.  They use their energy, enthusiasm, and language skills to influence those with the power to do so to make things better.

Finally, Catalysts possess (and may feel possessed!) by the ability to envision a "better world."  Their focus is not on how things are, but on how they might be.  Making the world (whether it is the world of their family, workplace, community, or the entire globe) a more caring, positive, equitable, and humane place drives much of their inner and outer lives.

-Scott Campbell, author

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