Emotional intelligence, often dubbed EQ, is trending in leadership spaces. The 1994 book by David Goldman has gone on to affect nearly every aspect of how organizations choose and look for leaders.
While it’s understood that management needs emotional intelligence, the same applies for teams. Actively working to promote and train EQ inside of teams will help to boost productivity and motivation inside the team. Emotionally intelligent teams are more productive, better at collaboration, and better at communication.
5 reasons emotional intelligence and teamwork must exist together
Conflict resolution inside of teams often requires a significant amount of emotional intelligence, especially in high-pressure or deadline roles. With each member often working to feed work back into other members of the team, even simple conflicts can create bottlenecks and pause work. Emotional intelligence greatly benefits communication skills, giving employees better tools to discuss problems empathically, to consider the other person’s side, and to vent frustrations and concerns before they become major problems.
Teams should be able to work together as a cohesive whole, meaning that they should know what each is capable of in terms of time, emotional and physical energy, and quality output. Building team trust is one key factor here, which can often be achieved through successfully performing small (but difficult projects) as well as encouraging time spent together outside of the workplace. In fact, creating opportunities outside of the workplace can help team members to relax, get to know each other better, and learn to be friends rather than simply colleagues, which will boost collaboration in the office.
Self-Awareness and Emotional Management
While good emotional intelligence is often about how you interact with others, it’s also about how you understand yourself. Employees who are aware of their own emotions, problems, and reactions are much more likely to regulate emotions, take breaks to manage stress, and react empathically when someone in their team is venting or stressed.
Understanding Team Capabilities
Good emotional intelligence will contribute to empathy and how well each team member understands their colleague’s roles and responsibilities.
Some companies, like Hewlett-Packard, deliberately work to foster this by integrating role-switching and cross-training, where team-members deliberately take on each other’s roles or train in their responsibilities so that they have a better understanding of what it involves.
Emotional intelligence means recognizing the efforts and input of others, which often requires action. Emotionally intelligent teams a work to recognize each other’s accomplishments, give credit, and are therefore often more motivated with a better sense of purpose.
You can work on this by creating a deliberate structure to encourage praise or giving credit to team members, creating team workshops and sessions to build missions and vision statements, and giving everyone the opportunity to thank each other at meetings.
Good emotional intelligence gives teams the foundation to work together productively by creating a shared sense of empathy, ensuring that team members understand each other and their problems. It allows the team to prioritize communication and collaboration.
While you cannot force emotional intelligence inside of a team, you can work to create conditions that foster it, so your team has every opportunity to develop.