High functioning teams are more likely to occur when people have strong emotional intelligence. This is not “new” news. When I wrote Creating Passion-Driven Teams ten years ago, I made two important points in the chapter about emotional intelligence:
- Studies show that top performers are more likely than average performers to have high emotional intelligence
- Emotional intelligence is learnable
I also pointed out that a growing mountain of evidence shows when employees have higher levels of EQ it leads to high functioning teams. And so, it was no surprise to me when I read an article in Psychology Today (titled 10 reasons why teams need emotional intelligence) citing research that found “teams with greater average emotional intelligence have higher team functioning than [did] groups with lower emotional intelligence.”
It’s like there’s a theme going on here.
Some questions for you
As I reflect on this, I feel compelled to ask several questions.
• Are you on a team?
• If so, how is it performing?
• Could performance be better?
After nearly 30 years of EQ coaching as well as almost two decades of teaching emotional intelligence to teams, I’ve received many comments from clients on how emotional intelligence has made a difference for them. Comments like “my teams are more productive” and “I’m a more effective leader” are quite common.
In my book, I point out that one way to improve your EQ and help develop high functioning teams is to become an expert about the people on your team. Regarding your teammates, ask yourself:
• What are their behavioral tendencies?
• What are the different ways they perceive, process, and make decisions?
• What motivates them?
Following the EQ model, first you should first know these three things about yourself. But when you can answer these questions about your teammates, you have an excellent EQ foundation, which leads to higher performance. Therefore, I urge you: memorize the above list of questions, and learn the answers regarding everybody on your team.
Still, if you want your team to soar, it can’t be just you learning these things. Yes, someone needs to start, and that person might be you. But let me encourage you to also be the spark plug that get other people interested in learning these things. After all, who doesn’t like being on a high-performing team? You can be the spark plug that puts your team in high gear.
The bottom line:
It’s one thing to have a bunch of smart people on your team. It’s something totally different to understand each person’s strengths, blind spots, and preferences, and keep those things in mind. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with conflict or being creative, if you work with people in ways that appeal to them, team performance is likely to be much higher.