5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Improves Team Productivityby@dariasup
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5 Ways Emotional Intelligence Improves Team Productivity

by Daria LeshchenkoAugust 29th, 2022
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Emotional intelligence (EQ, EI) is the ability to understand one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, respond to them adequately, and manage their manifestations. The level of EQ depends on how a person or a team communicates, solves complex issues, and deals with difficulties. There are five common components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and self-regarding feedback. EI is critical for managers as well.
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Is there a place for emotions in the tech world? Should we control feelings such as fear, anger, joy, or sadness at work? How can controlling emotions help us in our professional development? The answer lies in emotional intelligence.

What is emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence (EQ, EI) is the ability to understand one’s own emotions and the emotions of others, respond to them adequately, and manage their manifestations. The level of EQ depends on how a person or a team communicates, solves complex issues and deals with difficulties.

There are five common components of emotional intelligence:

Self-awareness — how correctly we assess our emotions, motivation, and set goals.

Self-regulation — how able we are to control our emotions and impulses.

Motivation — how we strive for and achieve our goals.

Empathy — our ability to empathize with the environment and understand other people’s emotions.

Social skills — how good we are at building relationships.

Why is EI important?

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

© Vince Lombardi.

Professional skills and experience are essential. But the companies wouldn't exist without people. People have feelings and emotions. Do all of your team members know how to manage their everyday emotions? Are they capable of self-control? Do they recognize and understand the emotions of others? Their ability to work in a team depends on it. If the average level of EQ in the company is not very high, then there is a rapid turnover of personnel and a decrease in productivity.

Emotional intelligence is critical for managers as well. In the XXI century, a manager should be a motivator, a person who can convey enthusiasm and cope with difficult situations in the company. This profile of a new manager has two other significant traits: the ability to lead a dialogue and the confidence to achieve realistic goals. And emotional intelligence helps us develop all these qualities. How else does it affect work and productivity? There are at least 5 ways emotional intelligence improves team productivity.

Self-awareness helps us proceed to process feedback

According to jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, “A genius is the one most like himself.”

When we’re working on projects, we all think we’re a bit of a genius. We come up with brilliant ideas that we want to implement immediately. And it doesn’t matter how much time or resources we can spend on it. It is essential to ask your peers to validate your brilliant idea and look at the case from a different angle.

Feedback always helps us take the blinders off, face reality, and see the situation as it really is. When we are working on something, we cannot predict everything. People make mistakes and that’s okay. Self-awareness, as a part of emotional intelligence, helps us perceive feedback correctly, even if we do not agree with it. Team members who have developed self-awareness understand that the negative feedback they receive about their idea is not a criticism of themselves. This is just a chance to understand the weak points of the idea and refine it.

The same applies to situations where we have to provide feedback. Being able to express an opinion without offending a colleague is critical to overall productivity. It is equally important to develop objectivity in oneself. “I just don’t like the idea, or are there objective reasons why it won’t work?”. Just because something is uncomfortable to someone personally, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

By understanding emotions and reactions (both our own and colleagues), we can make better decisions, create an affirmative environment, and proactively solve problems.

Social skills affect our ability to work with other geniuses

A flat hierarchy is becoming an increasingly popular team management model because it reduces decision-making time and allows companies to grow faster. But if the company supports the autonomy of its employees and empowers them to make decisions, it is important that these employees are emotionally intelligent. It is significant to be self-driven and self-disciplined, proactive at taking initiative and doing the work, or ensuring the work gets done. But we should not forget that this group of brilliant individuals and super professionals should be able to work in a team. Propose and defend one’s own decisions, but also accept the decisions of your colleagues. They also should be excellent at engaging with and motivating peers, inspiring them to do their best and improving team performance. How to do that? “Treat others as you’d like to be treated”. This includes compassion for personal struggles, validation of each other’s values, and support for the effort each of the peers is putting into shared goals.

Self-regulation improves our ability to cope with stress

In addition to being able to understand your emotions, it is important to be able to regulate these emotions for productive work and life. When coming to the office, the employee should not have to turn into a robot and lock all their worries in a locker. Self-regulation is the ability to show emotions appropriately.

Self-regulation is necessary to quickly adapt to changes and develop resilience. And also, in order to properly conflict. Yes, conflicts are normal and even inevitable. But it depends on us, how exactly we handle conflicts. You may shout and be angry. But this is unlikely to solve the problem. Emotionally mature workers know how to control their emotions, choose words, and objectively express their opinion without resorting to personal criticism. And even if such people have conflicts, they do not have destructive consequences. Such people are not afraid to express their opinion or hear criticism from colleagues. They know — in their team they are safe.

Motivation and the way we understand why we do things

It’s very hard to work when you don’t want to do your job. Constantly forcing themselves to perform tasks, employees lose productivity and, of course, there is no question about the quality of such work. Often people don’t want to work, not because it’s boring or uninteresting, but because they don’t understand why they are doing this task. They have no motivation. Therefore, each employee should not only understand what they do, but also why they do it. Understanding not only one’s duties, but also the final result that the company will achieve thanks to it, increases employee motivation and productivity.

Try conducting a survey among all team members. Ask just two questions: what are you doing, and why are you doing it? You see, the people who are the best at their responsibilities will answer both without thinking.

Empathy is the main reason why people want to work with us

According to the study, 90% of Gen Z say they’re more likely to stay with an empathetic employer, and 92% believe this trait is undervalued in their jobs. Although Gen Z is just starting out in the workforce, it will soon become the main paid workforce. And these people aim to be appreciated.

Why is it important? If people feel that the management understands them, then they become more receptive to the concerns and problems of the company. Such employees are more involved in the work process and try to work as good as possible to increase business profit.

77% of employees are ready to work harder and harder if they are shown empathy at work. 60% between a salary increase and sympathy from the management will choose the second.

It is not that difficult. Regular 1:1 meetings where the employee can honestly discuss their workload, corporate help the employee can count on, deadlines that can be met realistically, etc. All that will make professionals understand — the company is interested in them. And they will become even more interested in the success of the company. Simple.

How to test the EI level of your team?

Here is a small checklist that will help understand that your team’s emotional intelligence is developed at a high level:

  • your colleagues can recognize emotions and understand the reason for their occurrence;
  • they know how to name and express emotions, and not suppress them;
  • they understand the inner motives of their actions;
  • they do not concentrate on negative emotions for too long, but can let them go;
  • they quickly blend into a new team and establish communication.

Of course, this is far from a complete list of markers. You can also determine your team’s EQ level with special tests. It can be a test according to the methodology of J. Meyer, P. Selovey and D. Caruso, or Daniel Goleman.

Fortunately, unlike IQ, EQ can and should be pumped.