3 Types of People High EQ Teams Rely On To Succeed

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/.

How EQ Prevents Accidents and Increases Production

At Toyota manufacturing plants, a cord is placed in each assembly line for anyone to pull at any time to stop the line for safety, errors, or broken parts. The system is simple–anyone who observes something that seems “off” can and should pull the cord.

This system is an example of how fostering emotionally intelligent behavior can prevent accidents and improve production. The cord empowers assembly teams from bottom to top, sending the message that each team member’s eyes and ears matter. It also sends the message that everyone is equally responsible—if you have the power to pull the cord and you don’t, that’s as much on you as it is on your manager.

The cord is just one example of how being aware and pushing through to taking action, two core EQ skills, positively impacts manufacturing teams. Research shows that training manufacturing plant supervisors in EQ reduced lost-time accidents by 50% and increased production by 17%, compared to untrained supervisors who saw no difference in production. EQ touches on a number of competencies that drive success in manufacturing. Here are three examples:  

EQ increases accountability. Like the Toyota example, EQ gives people the tools they need to hold each other accountable and confront each other in a healthy way. For instance, if a team member is lingering in the break room when she’s needed on the floor, their team should feel comfortable calling her out. Teams operating with a high degree of EQ are not only more comfortable calling each other out, but they’re also more comfortable being called out. When the employee is called out for lingering too long, she doesn’t sweat it or take it too personally because she understands that it’s the way her team operates. Because accountability is a piece of the day-to-day work, people don’t fear it and respond irrationally the way they do on other teams.

EQ means better problem-solving. On manufacturing teams, problems are inevitable. Essential parts break, other groups hold your team up in the production line, and new technologies create unforeseen changes in the day-to-day work. The mark of a high EQ team is the ability to stay calm under pressure in order to focus on the things that they can control. When problems inevitably arise, a high EQ team will ask itself “What do we know that can make a difference?” They may need to liaison with the engineering team, speak with the team ahead of them in the line, or they may need to move to a different task entirely. Instead of letting their emotions take the wheel (causing unnecessary arguments, hasty decision-making, and impulsivity), a high EQ team recognizes and acknowledges their emotions then focuses on the problem at hand.

EQ leads to helping behavior. High EQ teams are able to see the bigger picture—their team as a piece of the organizational whole. That means lending a helping hand when they see another team is swamped is still part of their job to help the organization’s performance. It also means building rapport with other teams to improve interactions and asking for help themselves when needed.

From Insights to Action. Each of these examples show how emotional intelligence can help manufacturing teams avoid accidents and work more fluidly and effectively on a daily basis. That said, they’re also competencies that any team in any industry can learn from. Accountability, problem-solving, and lending a helping hand are important attributes for all teams across industries.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmart’s EQ products and services, contact TalentSmart at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmarteq.com/contact/.

How to Build Organizational Buy-in for EQ

Convincing leaders, resource decision makers, or an entire organization to invest in emotional intelligence development (EQ) is a daunting yet worthwhile challenge.

When you succeed at getting buy-in across the organization, the results give your people and your organization a competitive advantage: Not only are high EQ employees happier, more engaged, and higher performing, but also a positive cumulative effect begins to take hold. As EQ becomes a living and breathing part of company culture, people operate from an emotionally intelligent framework. They develop a strong accountability for understanding and managing the range of emotions that surface and influence their interactions. They also use a common vocabulary around emotional intelligence that allows them to connect, make decisions, be more agile, foster inclusivity, build trust, and handle conflict (among other things).

At TalentSmartEQ, after more than twenty years of helping organizations build buy-in for EQ, we’ve implemented a vast assortment of approaches that work. Here are five of our best.

  • Tie EQ to your business needs. One of the best ways to avoid making EQ seem like just another “nice-to-have training” is to connect EQ directly to business needs your industry values. Our clients in hospitals offer a great example. Physicians, nurses, and hospital staff tend to be swamped, so you have to make a compelling case to convince them to take the time to train above and beyond their clinical skills. To get their buy-in, many hospitals turn to HCAHPS surveys—a hospital rating system conducted by patients that focuses largely on patient care. The surveys dictate a significant source of hospital funding, and of the survey’s 25 items, 16 can be boosted by developing EQ skills (items include things like careful listening, showing respect, and communicating clearly). By outlining the close connections between successful patient care and emotional intelligence skills, decision makers readily see how EQ skills affect their bottom line, and hospital staff see how EQ skills support the patient care experience on a daily basis.
  • Connect EQ to your existing competencies. Why not start with the core behaviors that make up your company values? Employees should already know the significance of the competencies that matter to the organization. The value of EQ becomes obvious when you lay out exactly how EQ can help people grow those competencies. Say, for example, your company values risk-taking. Employees will experience hesitation or fear as they approach potential risks. To take the risks effectively, they have to get good at managing those emotions in real time so that their risks are calculated, not reactive. At the same time, team members have to be good at listening and hearing people out when they present an idea, and they have to be good at dealing with conflict as people inevitably disagree. Connecting EQ to core competencies works well, especially because many core competencies are people competencies and are influenced by emotional intelligence skills training.
  • Win over influential people as early adopters. Office politics are inevitable. Make sure you have influential people buying into EQ from the beginning because those people alone can cast a wave of support and alignment. Ask them to think back to memorable moments when they grew the most as a professional, and you’ll often hear a story of EQ skills in action at your organization. Invite your EQ champions to kick off training sessions with a few EQ stories to inspire your next generation of high EQ leaders.  
  • Bring EQ in from multiple angles. Offer EQ learning opportunities across a variety of stages in someone’s career, and their understanding of EQ and ability to apply it will deepen with time. For example, applicants to your organization may first hear about EQ during their interview. Then, as they’re hired and onboarded, they’re oriented to what EQ is and how it’s valued at the company. Along the way they have access to open enrollment or online learning courses where they can assess their EQ strengths and weaknesses. Later on, high potentials and first-time supervisors enroll in a deeper dive of EQ development training and take a retest to track progress on their EQ behaviors. Leaders attend development programs with EQ 360 feedback and coaching follow-up. On top of all that, EQ can be built into yearly performance review discussions. Teams are asked to assess their team EQ for a team retreat and create team EQ actions plans together. To come full circle, your recruiters and hiring managers are trained on EQ interview questions and what to listen for in candidate responses…The point is, as you increase the number and variety of EQ touchpoints, EQ becomes increasingly a part of how your workforce interacts with customers, suppliers and each other. People will naturally begin to use it as a framework for the work they do.  
  • Measure progress and results. If you want to build buy-in, show people the numbers. There’s plenty of existing research across industries of how EQ training has drastically improved performance, but you can bring this message closer to home by measuring tangible performance results of your own and publishing them for your employees. Whether its sales numbers going up, safety incidents going down, or patient ratings improving, when you can tie EQ and performance together with tangible data, people will get on board.

From Insights to Action. No two organizations are exactly the same, so they need different ways of implementing EQ to fit their learners, their culture, their budgets, and their goals. Reach out to TalentSmartEQ at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmarteq.com/contact/ to learn what might make the most sense for your organization.

3 Research-Backed Ways that EQ Drives Sales Performance

Barry, takes a week-long sales trip to New York to visit clients. He bounces around the city doing client visits while also juggling his full weekly schedule—meetings with the home office, an existing high maintenance client with demanding last-minute requests, and a challenging new lead who researches online, asks tough questions, and shops as many simultaneous options as she can.

To succeed across this wide array of challenges and people, Barry needs an equally wide array of skills: He needs to be able to switch rapidly between clients and adjust his approach along the way. He needs to manage his stress through busy, high-stakes weeks. He also needs to communicate clearly, be persuasive, inspire clients, and respond flexibly to changing client demands.

To train salespeople like Barry in this array of “soft skills” takes significant time and resources for his organization. The good news is that all these sales skills, and many others, can be boosted simultaneously by practicing one skillset: emotional intelligence (EQ). Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions, and your skill at using this awareness to manage yourself and your relationships with others. Research shows that salespeople high in EQ outperform and outsell those low in EQ. Here are three research-backed reasons why EQ improves critical sales skills:

High EQ sales reps are better at interpersonal skills. To get through his week packed full of meetings and phone calls, Barry constantly relies on his interpersonal skills. He moves fluidly from a demanding client to a new lead to a long-time client who is affable, laid-back and just wants to catch up personally. Each client has their own needs, emotions, and style of communication, and it’s up to Barry to successfully create a positive outcome—whether that’s a sale, rapport-building, or even just inspiring some initial intrigue. In multiple studies on sales reps, high performers were found to be those who excelled at EQ. Like Barry, they read and manage emotions during client conversations, adapting their behavior to fit the situation and influence the buyer. The secret to their success lies in their ability to identify shared feelings between themselves and the buyer, then using these to move forward together.

High EQ sales reps are better at stress management. Leading up to his high stakes week of client visits, Barry is prone to feeling nervous and stressed. Instead of letting his nerves take over, he’s learned to remind himself of past successes. He tells himself that he often thrives under pressure. He just needs to be sure to stick to his usual self-care practices while on the road. He gets to sleep by 10:30, limits himself to just one coffee each morning, and sets aside an hour to exercise before dinner. It’s through his routine that he finds a positive rhythm and the energy to catch up on communications with the home office. This is thriving under pressure. Studies show that high EQ sales reps not only manage their stress more effectively, but they also report feeling less stressed than their low EQ counterparts. On top of that, high EQ people report feeling more positive emotions. This positivity, like Barry showed as he mentally prepared for his big week, is essential to sales reps as they navigate tough clients, tough weeks, and tough months.

High EQ sales reps are more adaptable and creative.When Barry sits down for dinner with a client hoping to close a big deal, the client almost immediately throws a big wrench in his plan. She shares that she’s going to wait three months for her new quarterly budget before she buys anything at all. Barry is upset and fears she won’t end up purchasing come three months from now. But, he recognizes that his future worries can interfere with this very moment. He takes a deep breath to set his worries aside, then asks her questions to learn more about her budget and how she intends to use it next quarter. This allows her to dream out loud and feel even more excited about the possibilities. By the time he leaves dinner, she has agreed to a substantially larger deal than before; he just needed to be patient. Where a low EQ sales rep might have pushed for early commitment in their fear of losing the sale, Barry was able to stay level-headed, see the bigger picture, and adapt his approach to meet the situation at hand.

From Insights to Action.How you sell matters. What your process is matters. But how your customers feel when they engage with you matters more.” –Tiffani Bova

Perhaps the most important finding in emotional intelligence research is that it is a highly flexible skill. With practice, people who measure low in EQ can work to improve a specific EQ skill within six months to a year.

To learn more about emotional intelligence and TalentSmart’s EQ products and services, contact TalentSmart at 888-818-SMART or visit us at https://www.talentsmart.com/contact-us/.

What You Can Do To Raise Your Team’s Emotional Intelligence

A team’s performance is measured most often by the things they accomplish as a group—a new product developed, a crisis managed, or a patient’s satisfaction.

Beneath each of these final outcomes, the team engages in a whole symphony of interactions, crowded with conversations, thoughts, and feelings between people. Imagine, for example, a patient in a hospital whose journey begins at the front desk, then transitions to nurses for preliminary testing and to a doctor for diagnosis (the list can quickly grow a lot bigger and more complex than this). Each of these medical professional team members interacts with the patient, and many of them will interact with each other. A team’s ability to effectively recognize, understand, and manage these interactions and their emotions toward successful outcomes is called team emotional intelligence (team EQ).

Studies have linked high team EQ to improved goal achievement, faster task completion, increased trust and group cohesion, better stress management, and stronger cross-functional collaboration.

As a team member, what amount of difference can you really make in the way the whole team interacts? The answer is quite a bit! The words you say and the actions you take greatly influence your team’s EQ. Below, we put together ten strategies tailored to the individual who wants to raise their team’s EQ:

  1. 1. Help advocate different perspectives. When your group agrees too quickly, don’t be afraid to step in with a different perspective. Say, “Well, have you thought about it this way?” This is a great way to stimulate new ideas without attacking anyone or claiming to have the answer. Even if your team sticks with their original decision, you’ve helped deepen your team’s ap
  2. 2. Help a struggling teammate. When you notice someone isn’t doing well, or doesn’t seem like their normal self, try to find a natural way to check in with them and make sure they’re okay. Say, “Hey, I noticed you were a bit quieter than normal today.” or “I noticed you have a lot to say about ____. Are you feeling okay with the changes?”

3. Say “thank you” to team members who work above and beyond. Recognition doesn’t have to come from above. In fact, team leaders aren’t always there to see when something special happens. People will appreciate you spreading the news and they’ll follow in your footsteps, creating an environment where good work gets noticed and appreciated.

4. Hold yourself accountable and apologize when you make a mistake. Work to fix it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if your mistake is complicated, or even if you’re just confused. Accountability is a powerful, positive force in a team. Why not model it?

5. Encourage quieter members to share their perspectives. Say, “I remember ___ had something interesting to say about this topic last time. Would you mind sharing your perspective with the group?”

6. Reinforce team confidence. Say, “We can do this. I know we’re capable.” Simple, positive affirmations help build a good team atmosphere.

7. When things get difficult, remind your team what they can do. Say, “That might be out of our hands, but what we can control is…” When faced with big changes or challenges, teams tend to focus on how difficult everything is. This creates stress and a negative atmosphere, which in turn can lead to poor decision-making and conflict. Toxic stewing may trigger unhealthy reactions. By re-focusing the group on what they can control, you’re steering the team toward healthy action.

8. Remind your team of the bigger picture. When your team finds themselves conflicted or unsure how to proceed, try reminding them of the original goal, where the eventual destination is, and why you got started down this path in the first place. Say, “Remember that what we’re trying to achieve is…”

9. Point out when your team seems stuck in a rut. Inevitably there will be times when your team gets caught-up on a single topic or a bad mood. By pointing out that things seem stuck, you can save everyone a lot of conflict, energy, and time. Say something like, “It feels like we’re stuck and I think we could pause here and decide tomorrow where or how to proceed without making things worse.”

10. Leverage your company connections. When your team is collaborating cross-functionally, and you know someone on the other team, offer to play a liaison role. By learning more about that team through your connection, and vice-versa, you can help kick off collaboration. Both teams will be better set to work through difficulties by understanding what the other is up against. A solid discussion between people who know each other well is a great way to proactively initiate that understanding.

From Insights to Action. Team EQ is powered by the seemingly small things each team member can contribute. Each of these strategies is intentionally simple and straight-forward in execution, yet each carries a small perspective shift that can cast a disproportionately large ripple effect on the team’s EQ.

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