Picture a sales team that performs highly and gets along well, but they ruffle so many feathers in the process that they actually become more of a problem than a dream team. To succeed, they repeatedly create extensive last-minute work for other teams. They demand, for example, that the marketing team puts together a complex email campaign in two days right as the marketing team is trying to wrap up their new video series campaign. Or, when any of the sales team finalizes a massive sale on a Friday afternoon, they push hard to make the warehouse team ship the sale that afternoon to get it to count for month’s end—they do so despite the day’s shipping hours being over and despite the fact that the warehouse team has to stay late to get it done. To make matters worse, when celebrating their success the following week, they brag loudly and neglect to acknowledge all the support from the marketing team and the warehouse.
What this sales team lacks is the ability to manage their relationships with other teams. It’s not that sales teams more skilled at managing their external relationships wouldn’t push the warehouse or marketing teams to meet customer needs or tight deadlines. It’s that they would do so in a way that acknowledges the sacrifices those teams will make and in a way that strives to maintain a good relationship long-term (like providing a thank-you lunch for the marketing and warehouse teams and acknowledging their extra work in an email to leadership).
External relationship management, one of the four core skills that makes up team emotional intelligence (team EQ), is essential to a team’s success no matter how high performing they are. At TalentSmartEQ, we’ve observed how teams skilled in external relationship management connect their efforts beyond the limited scope of their group, aligning their work with the goals of other teams and their organization as a whole. These high EQ teams gain greater visibility, wield more influence, and develop deeper, more positive relationships with other groups and people.
So how do you grow your team’s ability to manage their external relationships? Recent research from MIT highlighted how a team’s external communication can often be boiled down to several key “types” of people. Below we’ve detailed three of these “types” and how they help grow a team’s external relationship management. Pay close attention to these types to see how you fit the bill and to find out how you might better leverage the existing strengths of people on your team.
Ambassadors. Ambassadors tend to be outgoing and know a wide range of people across teams, departments, and levels of the organization. When your team needs help or is looking to get something unique accomplished, ambassadors know “just the right person.” Ambassadors not only know a lot of people and build important relationships, but they also understand the unspoken cultural rules of the organization and the big picture needs of the company. On a food science development team, the ambassador might be the scientist who constantly chats with the marketing team and therefore knows to connect your team’s pitch for a new plant-based bag of chips to your company’s selling goal of drawing in new types of consumers.
Scouts. To connect your team to the outside world, you don’t have to be an extrovert, you don’t need twenty years of experience, and you don’t need to be best friends with the CEO. Scouts are people who bring important outside knowledge back to your team. They attend conferences, read relevant new research, and spend time with specialists. Their passion for relevant subject matter allows them to constantly bring new information to your group to help the whole team stay relevant. On a beverage system engineering team, a scout might be the engineer who is highly engaged in academic research around electrical engineering. When new technologies or solutions emerge that could apply to beverage systems, this person shares that information with their team, keeping them ahead of the curve and competitive through time.
Coordinators. Coordinators usually don’t wield as much influence or know-how as ambassadors, and they usually don’t possess the specialty knowledge of a scout. And yes, the term “coordinator” is often in their job title. But, because of their role as a coordinator, they are in constant communication with other teams, departments, and clients. The coordinator is the external touchpoint for questions or favors—both incoming and outgoing. Coordinators also tend to be skilled at recognizing the ripple effect your team’s actions may have on another team. For instance, if a sales team pushes too hard on the marketing team or the warehouse, it’s the sales coordinator who understands the process best and can help push back to keep that sales team from over-asking or disrespecting the bigger process.
From Insights to Action. In what ways do you fit the description for one of these types? How about your teammates? Can you help them access these high team EQ behaviors? Get together and discuss these at a team meeting to make sure your group doesn’t overlook three easy ways to leverage team EQ by tapping into your teammates’ strengths.
To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmartEQ’s products and services, contact TalentSmartEQ at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmarteq.com/contact/.