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Emotional Intelligence for High Performance Teams

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Emotional Intelligence for High Performance Teams

To succeed in any corporate environment, it is important to find a suitable balance with emotional intelligence (EI). The level of emotional intelligence you have to offer to a team can increase your value as a capable and reputable professional. Before we go further into the ‘why’ and ‘how’, let’s define emotional intelligence. Also known as Emotional Quotient (EQ), emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage the emotions of oneself and those of others.

Emotionally intelligent individuals are able to:

  • Be self aware of their own emotions and how it affects their behaviour towards other people
  • Regulate their emotions and manage conflicts
  • Build strong relationships and connections with others through active interaction
  • Respond with empathy and respond appropriately to the different emotional states of others
  • Pursue their intrinsic motivation to seek internal rewards and be able to stay committed and take initiative
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SUCCESS AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE

“As much as 80% of adult “success” comes from EQ” – Daniel Goleman 

Author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Goleman proposes that one’s emotional intelligence is just as critical as one’s IQ in attaining academic, professional, social and interpersonal success. More importantly, he also proposes that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught and nurtured through the right training. PMI’s Disciplined Agile training or PMP preparation courses are highly recommended.

High EI = High Performing Team 

Picture two different scenarios in the workplace.

One team is struggling to maintain a harmonious working environment, a lack of trust between the team members lingers, conflicting opinions aren’t resolved efficiently and tensions are high. Another team makes constant effort to listen to all team members’ opinions, there is a high emphasis on ‘team’ success and overall teamwork and engagement levels are positive and healthy.

Based on these two different teams, we can easily predict that the latter team will be the more high performing team and serve the most optimal business results. As we discussed previously (add link to article), communication is a key component to building high performing teams. With communication comes effective relationships that are built on high levels of empathy and self awareness. This is why the importance of emotional intelligence should become an increasingly valuable skill for working professionals to maintain.

Mike Griffiths, a project leader and trainer and author of leadinganswers.com blogs, has written a great piece on how project managers can focus on helping to lead the people on the projects that they manage. By recognising the ways in which human emotions can affect the motivation for people to pursue a worthwhile goal, project managers can better facilitate this environment.

Firstly, Griffiths reviews the seven basic human needs, and how they can be considered in the workplace to encourage employee satisfaction and motivation.

  1. SAFETY/SECURITY

Foster a working environment where team members and leaders feel positively encouraged to help each other learn and take up new opportunities.

“Vulnerability in leaders is less a sign of weakness and more a bridge to building stronger relations with team members”

2. VARIABILITY/CHALLENGE

Let team members explore new experiences and take part in problem solving. The more ownership the team members have in the execution of a work plan, the more invested they will become in achieving a successful outcome.

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3. STATUS/SIGNIFICANCE

By regularly recognising each team member’s role and significance, this can drive their momentum to achieve a high standard of performance. As a team leader, this can be simply taking the time and effort to set up individual meetings to discuss their work and acknowledging their contributions.

Although this takes time, “it is much easier than explaining lackluster performance to executives or recruiting new team members because someone quit or was fired for underperforming”

4. LOVE/CONNECTION 

Take the time to get to know each team member, outside of their professional role. As much of our time is spent at work with our colleagues, establishing social connections and taking interest in others can be positively linked to high performance. This can be as simple as remembering people’s names, asking how they are doing and taking interest in their favourite activities or pastimes.

5. SELF EXPRESSION

As much as it is important to recognise each team member for their roles and contributions, it is also just as important to know who they are as a person. Recognise what is important to people and encourage individuals to express their personality.

“We hire people for who they are and their ability to contribute. Let’s not forget who they are, or they will forget to contribute”

6. GROWTH/KNOWLEDGE

Take the next step to encourage growth and development of the team members’ careers. As a team leader, this can involve providing training and access to career resources, which can facilitate a higher performing team through increased job satisfaction and retention.

“Education and training not only improve people’s sense of job worth, but it also improves their self worth. People recognise that and remember that”

7. CONTRIBUTION 

Attach meaning and purpose to the work that is being done by the team to avoid a mundane and routine centred work environment.

“People seek meaning, a purpose, an opportunity to help build a valuable legacy”

how can we measure emotional intelligence in the workplace?

Now that we have covered the critical nature of emotional intelligence in establishing high performance teams, it is also important to understand how leaders can maintain and enhance this. Often, team leaders will be the ones providing feedback to their team members, but they may miss out on receiving feedback for their own performance. There are many different types of assessment tools that measure emotional intelligence, which can be useful in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of leaders.

Daniel Goleman suggests team leaders to utilise 360-degree assessments, which involve systemic (and anonymous) observations made by the team members. He suggests that this is the optimal way to convey a team leader’s “effectiveness, actual business performance, engagement, and job (and life) satisfaction”.

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This type of feedback is exceptionally valuable as research shows that high inconsistencies between a leader’s self ratings and exterior observations can be linked to poorer business results.

At PMCOE, we offer PMI’s training course on developing emotional intelligence. Enrol at https://pmcoe.com.au