Leveraging Emotional Intelligence to Build a High Performing Team

August 10, 2023


Written by UJJI Team

The hard skills that once helped you guarantee that promotion might not be enough to secure the next. Not only are technical skills very comparable, but as our seniority increases, an emotional component becomes increasingly essential. It helps you build strong relationships, manage conflict effectively, and inspire others to perform at their best.

It's called Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and according to Harvard Business School Online, it accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.

"The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It's not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions." — Patrick Goleman to Harvard Business Review

Want to lead with emotional intelligence and use your EQ to become a high-performing leader? First, ensure you understand that emotional intelligence entails the following four key components.

1️. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is at the core of everything. It refers to one's ability to understand their strengths and weaknesses and recognize their emotions and their effects on themselves and others.

2️. Self-Management

Self-management describes your ability to control your emotions and impulses, particularly in stressful situations, and maintain a positive attitude despite setbacks.

3️. Social Awareness

Social awareness is your ability to read the room. It refers to your capacity to empathize with others, navigate politically, and network proactively, enabling efficient communication and collaboration.

4️. Relationship Management

Relationship management is the ability to develop and sustain good relationships and includes the aptness to communicate clearly and convincingly. It's how you build bonds, motivate, inspire, and healthily manage conflict.

In several ways, emotionally intelligent leaders can use their EQ to build a high-performing, loyal workforce or team. Here are four strategies that emotionally intelligent leaders can use to create a positive work environment and build a strong team:

👑 Applying different leadership styles

There isn't one leadership style that fits all. As a leader, it's up to you to decide which leadership style will best suit your team and when to use it. Emotionally intelligent leaders can fluctuate between styles and leverage their employees' greatest strengths while maintaining a positive, productive, efficient work culture.

🫂 Connecting with your teams

Leaders cannot accomplish their goals alone. So, the ability to connect with those whose support makes us leaders is essential to our effectiveness. The higher the level of connection, the greater the trust; the more people will allow us to influence them positively.

Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence can build strong relationships based on trust and respect while fostering a healthy work environment that encourages team members to perform at their best.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." — Maya Angelou

🧷 Making work a safe space

Whether personal or professional, healthy relationships require one key ingredient: psychological safety. At work, this involves employees expressing their needs, delivering critical feedback, and handling episodic mistakes without embarrassment or inflated consequences.

According to a study conducted by Google, psychological safety—more than any other specific skill, talent, or trait—was crucial for building high-performing teams. Emotionally intelligent leaders practice empathy and strive to understand individuals' feelings and perspectives, making employees feel confident and comfortable taking calculated risks, pushing their creative sides, and communicating innovative ideas.

🔓 Unlocking motivations

Compensation and benefits are not the only things that drive employee productivity and engagement. Active listening and emotional intelligence will enable you to pick up on subtle signs of motivation and dissatisfaction. Once you put yourself in their shoes and identify their underlying needs and desires, you can use this to boost employee engagement, motivation, loyalty, and retention.

The bottom line is: Emotionally Intelligent leadership brings many benefits to the business. It's connected with improved productivity, increased profits, and reduced employee churn. With escalating demands for high-performance leadership, EQ has become an invaluable asset: a skill that lasts a lifetime.

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