I am a huge fan of professional football. I faithfully follow my Minnesota Vikings through their ups and downs. On the rare occasions when they make it to Phoenix to battle the Cardinals, I do my best to support them in person.
Although I am a fan, I don’t pretend that all is well in the NFL.
One of the most recent NFL controversies is the broken jaw of Geno Smith of the New York Jets. Smith’s injury was not the result of a sack during the game or any other football related matter. Instead, Smith’s broken jaw was the consequence of a blow to the face by a team mate in the locker room. The physical altercation was the result of an ongoing conflict between Smith and a fellow player that had zero to do with football. Because of the injury, Smith, the starting quarterback, will not be able to play for six to 10 weeks. This outcome is detrimental to the entire Jets team.
When I read this story, I immediately thought about the lack of emotional intelligence from both parties involved. I thought about how important factors like self-awareness, impulse control and stress tolerance are in conflict resolution and what an important part emotional intelligence plays in team effectiveness.
From the office to the boardroom to the playing field, emotional intelligence is a key driver of success. So what can individual team members do to boost emotional intelligence to effectively work through conflict and maintain team effectiveness? Here are three strategies to help you boost your EI:
It Starts With YOU!
Sometimes we don’t even realize how we look to others when we’re feeling heightened emotion. We don’t realize that we’ve let out an exasperated sigh of frustration or done an eye roll. If we cannot take our “emotional temperature” we are at risk of behaving in a manner that will turn people off.
Take some time for yourself. Reflect and assess. The best way to do this is to take notes or journal. You can do this throughout the day-especially at high emotional points (happiness, anger, anxiety, sadness, etc.) and sort through what caused those emotions. How did you respond? What was the intensity of the emotion? What was the outcome? What role did your feelings play in how you handled the situation?
Listening and paying attention are two key ingredients for building effective relationships. And when I say listening-I mean active listening. Eye contact, head nodding, asking questions, paraphrasing, the whole thing. I do not mean nodding your head and saying “yes, I’m listening” while checking emails or tweeting.
Think about a time when you were working with someone who gave you their full and undivided attention. How did that feel? I would venture to say that you felt important, valued, like what you had to say mattered. How important is it to listen to members of our team? If we listen carefully we may be able to engage them, address their concerns and effectively use their feedback.
Boost Your Empathy
Empathy is the ability to see the world from another person’s perspective, the capacity to tune in to what someone else might be thinking and feeling regardless of how that view may differ from your own perception.
The next time you are in a tough situation with a boss, an employee or co-worker, put yourselves in their position for a moment before you act. Phrases like “I understand,” “I know this is difficult,” “I realize you are in a challenging position” go a long way in expressing your empathy and connecting with others. Empathy defuses anger and promotes an honest dialogue.
Have questions about emotional intelligence or team building? Contact our experts at Pathfinder Strategies! firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 888-529-0240.