Emotionally Intelligent Leaders Will Build Better Teams

Joe Weinlick
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All great business leaders possess some form of emotional intelligence, or EQ. The idea is that emotionally intelligent leaders know how to relate to people and can empathize with them to achieve various outcomes, either within a company or externally with customers. Discover these five ways to build better teams using your EQ to an advantage.

1. Employ Top-Down Meetings

Many people become distracted during meetings by checking their emails or doing work on laptops. Not only does this reduce productivity during a meeting, but the meeting's leader might feel disrespected. Instead, make everyone turn off their laptops, set them to hibernation, keep them at their desks or have their tops closed. Having full attention during a meeting means people miss less information. Emotionally intelligent leaders can speak to everyone there as opposed to trying to get everyone to pay attention. Then, give your team members time to attend to those emails after the meeting.

2. Create Team Agreements

Not everyone on a team gets along, but emotionally intelligent leaders should acknowledge that each person is different and that all team members deserve to have differences of opinion. Managers and supervisors reward hard work and show appreciation equally and without playing favorites, even if the team leader disagrees with someone's opinion. Having a set of general team agreements, such as when not to hold meetings, gives everyone gets a chance to be heard and leads to better expectations of behavior among team members.

3. Start a Team Ritual

If you ever try acting in a play or taking up a sport, you learn quickly that actors and players use rituals to get into a certain mindset ahead of a game or performance. Similarly, emotionally intelligent leaders use a team ritual to get team members psyched for the day or week. The ritual can be a simple, two-minute workout each morning, a daily high-five from the boss for each individual or a weekly lunch outside of the office. That way, you connect with each team member in a way that's not related to work.

4. Give and Receive Feedback

One key for emotionally intelligent leaders is to give and receive open, honest feedback without fear of retribution. This doesn't mean everyone on the team should yell and shout when they are frustrated or upset. It does mean that open and honest communication should have no reprisals. Open and honest feedback leads to better teams, innovation and collaboration because everyone respects each other. Everyone should understand that all feedback, even negative feedback, comes from good intentions.

5. Play to Strengths and Weaknesses

Similar to being open about feedback, leaders must play to the strengths and weaknesses of the team while understanding each person's abilities. Team members must understand that some people are better at certain tasks than others and that each person has a role to fill. That way, everyone syncs together to get tasks done in the most optimal way possible.

Emotionally intelligent leaders have several things to watch for when it comes to getting a team to work together. These five things give your department a good start on the road to meshing into a highly trained, innovative and collaborative unit.

Photo courtesy of Klarb 007 at Flickr.com


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