We understand it takes trust and a certain connectedness to build cohesive high functioning teams. At times, we have hired a smart, qualified leader, but the team may still struggle to move forward. There could be infighting, lack of compromise and a “gotcha” mentality, and we wonder why this is happening.
The simple reason this has happened to you is that the leader lacked Emotional Intelligence (EI). Too many of our managers today lack these skills, and we feel it in terms of turnover and lack of trust amongst our teams. So why is EI so valuable? Let’s start by identifying what makes up EI.
- Self- Awareness
- Social Skills
Self-Awareness is the understanding of ourselves and our emotions. It becomes easy to see how you can benefit from the ability to see how your emotions affect others. This almost out of body ability to see ourselves act out life is priceless. It allows us to adjust our actions real time to have a more successful outcome, and without this, our communication remains one-sided and self-focused.
Self-Regulation understands the effects on you and your body based on external triggers. It is that feeling of your temperature rising based on something someone said to you or maybe something seen or heard. If you were able to control that feeling and maintain composure and not have an outburst or lose your composure you just exercised self-regulation.
Empathy is a challenge for many leaders. It can be misunderstood to be easy going or lacking in accountability. The truth is just the opposite. Empathy expects us to listen and hear the point of view of others and allow that to influence our approach and response to them to maximize performance. In other words, build a relationship of trust and treat others the way we would expect to be treated by understanding the whole person and the challenges they may be facing to accomplish all the things in their life.
Motivation is the ability to be driven by passion or the outcome versus what you may receive for it. Once you are focused on intrinsic motivation, you are heading in the right direction, and the self-satisfying feeling of working hard to accomplish change and success to help you and your team achieve their goals and make a difference. You are not doing it for the bonus or potential reward which can skew the direction of work sometimes inappropriately.
Finally, Social Skills are critical in building trust and forming relationships. Our brains trigger chemicals based on our interactions, and those chemicals are either reinforcing trust or telling us to be skeptical of the situation. Social skills allow us to talk to anyone without fear of the new interaction. We deepen our relationships in business and our personal lives by learning more about those we work with. Numerous studies support this in building a positive culture.
At this point, it is easy to see the value EI brings and also the hole created when it is missing in a leader. High intelligence, for example, without EI, leaves a manager unable to build trust because there is no connectivity and understanding on that personal level. Having high EI is appreciated by your team and will translate into better listening, communication, and decision making.
Here is the good news we can grow EI skills throughout life. As we age, there is a bit of a natural calming and patience that we start to develop. We must practice and recognize these areas in our lives and look for opportunities to increase these skills. Put yourself in that uncomfortable position because as we learn in life, we grow more out of that experience by far than staying in our comfort zone. Try it the next time you are faced with a choice. Choose the path to grow instead of the easy, comfortable one. If you do, your EI meter will see a boost and your team will appreciate you working to build those skills.