In this article, I want to share how Emotional Intelligence has helped me manage a team. Once I was assigned a brand-new team who I did not know anyone on it. As time progressed, it was clear that two groups were forming, a more confident senior group and a cautious new group. Without action, this split could cause the team to split and not see eye to eye.
Most teams are not formed perfectly. You may find that there is a disbalance between skills and abilities within the team. In this case, the senior team were experienced and knew each other, something I did know at the time. The new team was having their first experience as a team.
The result was that the senior group, not seeing themselves as such, expected the others to perform at their level. They were getting agitated at the fact that the new group was cautious and shy. Slowly the rift was becoming apparent and one of the senior group asked me to tell the new team to perform.
Exposing Elephant In The Room
That comment came to me from a person who was more senior than me in terms of experience. It is easy to hide it or quash it. But without addressing an elephant in the room, things can easily escalate and move out of control. However, if I didn’t tread carefully I could easily make the split even worse.
What I did was that I shared what I was observing, how it was impacting the team and that I wanted the team to consolidate rather than expects. As employees or team members, it is hard to see what is happening at a team level. A manager can help to share what is happening and help members to reflect.
Outcome Of Exposing
This discussion went on for a bit and everyone had a chance to share or not share. It helped the senior group realise how much knowing each other helped them to gel and work better together. It also supported the new group not to blame themselves that they were not performing at par with their peers since they were new in it.
Facilitating the discussion helped people understand each other better and realised how their actions are affecting others. It also showed that there was a discrepancy in experience, and it could help the experienced team help the new group. As a manager I have greater visibility and using that visibility to reflect on how the team is working allows me to help people understand themselves and their relationships.
Emotional Intelligence and This Situation
Daniel Goleman says that emotional intelligence is how you are able to handle yourself and your relationships with others. In this case, my emotional intelligence came in handy as:
I was able to Manage Stress & Emotions: When I am stressed or angry, everything is a hassle for me. Because I kept calm, I was better able to handle the dynamics that arose without pushing an agenda on it.
I was confident in myself: Although I had thoughts on how this will reflect upon me as a manager, being confident in myself allowed me to keep focused on what is needed and to build a solid team. When I am not confident, I try to cut corners and avoid situations, which would let to losing control and respect of the team.
I was able to Build Good Relations: If people did not feel safe with me, they would not have shared their problems. If people don’t it is impossible to solve problems, they have. Also, when I shared my observation,
Understand team dynamics rarely is one team formed perfectly, so by working on this one can help balance the team. Understanding team dynamics helped me realise what was going on and explain it to the team. Rather than telling people off, I could educate them about what was going on.
Without tackling problems fast and quick, anger and stress fester. The result is that things easily escalate out of control. This definitely takes more time and energy in the short term but in the long term people learn to handle themselves better (freeing your time) and they respect you more (they are more willing to talk positively and do things for you).