According to the mainstream media, it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see robots performing technical skills better than humans.So what’s left for us humans to focus on? What will be the trademark of a high performing team?
Human skills. Emotional Intelligence.
It can do wonders for you, and your team. In the near future, most of our work will involve doing something for others, and with others. In the future of work, it won’t be completely about paying attention to the What (we’re doing), but to the How (we can collectively improve) and Why (we’re doing it).
To succeed, teams and their leaders will need to augment their own personal systems. That’s why I believe emotional intelligence is the best asset for a team.
What’s Emotional Intelligence?
The importance of emotional intelligence to leadership was popularised by Daniel Coleman in the 1990’s. It revolves around 4 core principles:
- self awareness
- social awareness, and empathy
- self management and stress management
- social and influencing skills
For instance, collaboration is the answer to blind spots in decision-making. So don’t you think reading through others’ cognitive and emotional skills would help to make cooperation more efficient?
Fast forward a few years and your job will be mainly to work with others on improving, creating, and making fast decisions. This makes emotional intelligence the best asset for a team.
What emotionally intelligent teams do best
Several studies have shown the benefits of heightened EQ for people, and within teams. Be it improved morale, better sense of cooperation, or higher productivity, emotional intelligence helps people to work better together.
Emotional intelligence is a precious team asset because it encourages elevated awareness amongst team members. Emotionally intelligent teams know how to adapt their working styles and communication to personalities. Sometimes, just a short reminder that we don’t all see the world under the same light is enough to help people step into others’ shoes, and consider alternative perspectives.
- The 4 Personalities You Need To Educate A High-Performing Team – Part 1
- The 4 Personalities You Need To Educate A High-Performing Team – Part 2
Teams with high emotional intelligence can contain the impact of conflict. We all know people who can accept constructive criticism and understand that what’s being challenged is the idea, not themselves. OK, they’re rare. But they’re usually the first ones to advocate for continuous improvement in a team.
Emotionally intelligent teams have high morale. Think of the one person you know who will cheer others up when it’s a bad day, or remain calm and collected when the discussion heats up. Have you ever seen any detrimental impact on the team? Probably not. If you’re a smart lead, you should even know when to ask those individuals to be more present with their team buddies.
This is a good example of why emotional intelligence is the best asset for a team. It helps to maintain good levels of intrinsic motivation. The hardest challenge for a team is to balance individual emotions. But if you can manage the high and lows of the day to day, and ensure people focus on the completion of the task without being distracted by emotional noise, you’re sure to increase productivity.
Strong teams perform well and have higher levels of motivation because they trust each other. Innovation is becoming a key element of work, because data is widely available. If AI is taking care of data crunching, people’s jobs will turn into insight. This is when the team will act as change catalyst.
A team ecosystem to inspire and motivate is the first element of a safe territory for the team to operate. But to navigate the unknown, the team members must trust their collective strength to thrive in disrupting environments.
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Lastly, emotional intelligence is a terrific asset to create a culture of authenticity in teams. I’ve written many times that working in isolation is a thing of the past. I’ve even personally witnessed teams where people retained information to ensure they could have something exclusive for the boss. Were they nice places to work? Not really. When ideas, information and people flow, performance usually follows.
Is emotional intelligence the best asset for a team? Absolutely. But human skills are not taught, per se. They’re experienced.
It’s a leader’s job to foster a culture of behaviour and emotional awareness, by displaying signs of emotional intelligence in their leadership.
Observing a leader in action is the most efficient way to absorb the benefits of emotional intelligence. Become the first advocate of humanising your team, by stressing out how “human skills” can support innovation, performance, and even get everyone closer to make happy at work possible!