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How can Emotional Intelligence help your team?

Last week, we talked about the characteristics of an “Ideal Team Player“. One of those characteristics is being “people smart” which is very connected to the concept of Emotional Intelligence (EI). High levels of EI are critically important for leaders and followers, and is essential in helping people work better together.

I am currently reading Dale Carnegie’s, How to Win Friends and Influence People for the first time.  He wrote it in 1936, and the introduction and first chapter talk about his “search” for books and literature on how to work with people.  He couldn’t find anything, but when he studied successful people, it always came back to their ability to work well with others.  He didn’t use the term “Emotional Intelligence” but that is essentially what he meant!

Emotional Intelligence includes the ability to: Recognize, understand and manage our own emotions AND Recognize, understand and influence the emotions of others

If you are working with people, particularly in a partnership, coalition or team, continuing to develop Emotional Intelligence is critical. Here are four ways that I have found EI to be particularly helpful.

  1. Relationships.  When you have EI, you have the skills to be more successful at building and maintaining relationships.  You are able to recognize your own emotions and how they impact others. You can manage your own emotions. You pay attention to how others respond to what you say and do as well as how they respond to one another.  You make adjustments in your words or behavior in order to improve the relationship.
  2. Trust.  When you have EI, you create opportunities for members of the team to be vulnerable, respected and supported.  When this happens, you are able to build trust with others, and when you build trust with others, they want to work with you.  You will be on their “short list” of people to work with because they know that you will honor and value their opinion and insight as well as other members of the team.
  3. Engagement. EI increases engagement from members of the partnership. When you pay attention to the facial expressions and the words spoken during a meeting, you can guide the conversation in a positive and productive way.  You lead meetings that garner the input of others in an open and respectful way, which compels members to actively participate and contribute to the collective work.
  4. Productivity.  EI also contributes to productivity.  When you are paying attention and managing your own emotions and recognizing others, you are able to keep the team moving forward toward your collective goals and objectives.  You don’t have to get sidelined by disgruntled members of the team or stuck in endless conversations that keep everyone confused. You can respectfully address the emotion(s) happening within the team in order to keep moving forward. EI helps you “manage conflict” positively and productively which helps the entire team be more productive overall.

Over the next four weeks we will discuss some EI concepts in more depth.  We will discuss four broad concepts highlighted in Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence, which include: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management.

What about you?  How has EI (or lack of EI) impacted your team, coalition or partnership?

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