Building team cohesion with emotional intelligence
Enhance your team’s dynamics using the four elements of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and relationship management.
It’s no secret that team cohesion is a key driver for creativity and productivity in today’s workplace. We have known this for decades, as evidenced by the number of (sometimes rather silly) team building exercises that we have put ourselves and our team members through.
These days, instead of going away to stand in a circle with our eyes closed and catch one another, which is building physical trust, we focus on creating a more internalised sense of team cohesion. This foundation of emotional intelligence can create a team environment in which all members work together to successfully achieve unified goals. What more could you ask for?
The four elements of emotional intelligence
Daniel Goleman, the American psychologist who popularised the concept of emotional intelligence, described the term as having four essential elements. While we might all have an understanding of emotional intelligence and what it means in a vague sense, it helps to reiterate the four components of emotional intelligence and how each of them can help a team to become a more cohesive unit.
While emotional intelligence and team cohesion are predominately about relating to other people, there is one critical component that must come internally before you can reach out to others – self-awareness.
Self-awareness describes how accurately you can monitor and assess your own emotions. It involves the important skill of being able to take a step back from yourself and consider how you are responding to situations and contexts. Simultaneously, self-awareness involves monitoring how others are responding to you to be able to self-correct any issues.
When team members are self-aware, they are confident and can handle the challenges of work, including criticisms from colleagues or management, and keeping a check on their own emotions. This ultimately creates a foundation of stronger social awareness and self-management.
Social awareness is an essential skill and active ingredient required to develop and show empathy. People who possess this skill can manage group dynamics, remain organisationally aware of the long-term strategic goals of a business, inspire change, and influence others more successfully.
Developing this skill will allow team members to use empathy to respond to the situation at hand. A socially aware person always seems to know the right thing to say every time because they can sense the emotions of others, both one-on-one and in a group. They act within the values and priorities of the group to devise a solution and motivate the others toward achieving desired outcomes.
Staff with a good ability self-manage strengthen team cohesion as they are adaptable, show initiative, and are optimistic, which has been shown to result in higher levels of performance and achievement.
Those who possess this skill are able to control their emotions while being transparent and adaptable. You can identify people with a high level of self-management by the way they react or respond to situations. For example, consider the value of an employee who stops and utilises critical thinking before reacting to a negative email or undesirable situation.
Team members who develop the relationship management element of emotional intelligence can work with others in diverse groups, as both a leader and a collaborator. When the going gets tough, they can negotiate with others through conflict and crisis. Managing relationships allows managers and team members to influence and inspire colleagues to work together in a cohesively toward common collaborative goals.
By targeting these four essential elements of emotional intelligence in your team building activities and individual development plans, you can easily move your team toward a more unified approach to productive and creative team work.