Emotional Intelligence for High-Performance Teams

Years of research reveal that Emotional Intelligence is a critical component which distinguishes a high-performer from an average performer. Team members having high emotional intelligence contribute towards the development of high-performance organizations and successful systems.

Research findings prove that emotional intelligence is twice as important as the IQ in predicting the performance outcomes and the improvement in performance is directly related with how emotionally intelligent an individual is.

Emotional intelligence is the competence of recognizing, understanding and understanding one’s own emotions and of the others in an organization.

The four key attributes of emotional intelligence which directly influence the team’s performance are given below:

  1. Self-Awareness: The team’s success largely depends on how much self-aware are the team members and whether they can control or manage their emotions or not.

  2. Self-Regulation: Self-Regulation is the ability of an individual to exercise some control or regulation on their emotions and putting it to much effective or productive use.

  3. Social-Awareness: It is the ability to practise social empathy towards others by understanding other’s views, emotional concerns and requirements. When the team members have empathy for each other, the performance of the team is expected to be greatly improve.

  4. Effective Communication: Effective communication in a team results in aligned outcomes and improved team productivity because of improvement in the communication and collaboration between the team members.

Let’s understand the 6 signs of an emotionally team:

  • The norms are Re-clarified for the new team members: Upon the joining of a new member in the team, the existing members of the team re-clarify the team’s norms and cross check if they have understood it correctly and whether it is working well for them or not.
  • Curiosity is the Major Ingredient for Strengthening Relationships in a Team: Curiosity or inquiry is considered to be a key tool for building the right kind of ambience or environment for sharing of ideas or exchanging perspectives in team, which in a way helps in strengthening of relationships in a team.
  • The Emotionally Intelligent Teams are Psychologically more Relaxed and Perceive a Sense of Safety: The members of the emotionally intelligent teams are psychologically more relaxed and perceive it to be safe enough to voice out their mind or express their feelings without any fear of being rebuked or punished. Emotional Intelligence is directly related with the psychological well-being or the stability of the team members and such teams play a vital role in creating and implementing breakthrough ideas in the company.
  • Emotionally Intelligent Teams are skilled at Balancing Tasks with Relationships: Emotionally intelligent teams are skilled at juggling the relationship with the achievement of tasks by setting goals and working towards its realization. Excellence at work can be achieved by fulfilling the requirements of a task in a collaborative environment based on the edifice of mutual trust and cooperation.
  • Priority is Given to the Evaluation of Outcomes and Learning from the Results: Smart teams pay a lot of importance to identifying the reasons for failure and the factors which led to the success of a team.
  • Emotionally Intelligent Team Members Practise Strong Listening Skills: Emotionally intelligent team members are active listeners and try to listen at length for understanding the intricate details and addressing the situation more effectively.

How to Build Emotionally Intelligent Teams

A leader can play a pivotal role in building high-performance and emotionally intelligent teams by facilitating an environment of collaboration and excellence. The leader can improve the ways the team members communicate with each other and build fostering relationships for motivating high-performance teams for superior productivity.

The emotionally intelligent leader plays the role of an inspirational role-model and motivates the team members for superior productivity and achieving better outcomes at work. The leader has an important role to play in fostering a feeling of empathy and interdependence amongst the team members and avoid the possibilities of conflict due to opinion clash or personal differences.

A leader improves the emotional intelligence of the team members by way of the following:

  • Facilitates and encourages an environment of sharing of feedback, so that the members get to know about their personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.
  • Paying attention to the emotional state and also the mindset of the team members. Providing the necessary support and understanding for comforting the team members and putting them at ease for adapting with the team environment.
  • Encouraging transparency in the communication and allowing the team members to communicate openly without any sense of fear of being punished for their specific expressions.
  • By acknowledging and appreciating the hard efforts of the team members. Recognizing the good work and motivating them to perform better by way of motivational incentives.

Since emotions are a part and parcel of every individual’s life and it cannot be segregated from the professional life, managing emotions effectively and sensitively at the workplace becomes the need of the hour.

According to Google’s research project conducted in the year 2012 on why certain teams perform better than others, it was concluded that in top performing teams the members of the teams perceived themselves to be psychologically safe. It was because they were allowed to express themselves openly and were also heard by the other team members or by their leaders. They considered it to be okay to take risks, to make mistakes and to challenge the views of others for evolving better ideas.

Psychologically safe high-performance teams have a better understanding about their own emotions and of others. Moreover, they can analyse, regulate and channelize their emotions in productive directions for the overall benefit of the team.

Hence, it can be concluded that Emotional Intelligence plays a critical role in boosting the productivity of the entire team and in developing high-performance organizations. Emotional Intelligence needs to be cultivated and practised on an ongoing basis.

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