Published on June 5th, 2012
Powerful Teams with Emotional Intelligence
Historically, the oil and gas industry has focused primarily on the mechanics of the business, such as the resources and the logistics of the projects themselves. But what is becoming abundantly clear is that if companies do not make the human factor a priority, they are going to have difficulty surviving in the very competitive, culturally diverse global arena that currently exists.
We all want to feel understood, appreciated and fulfilled in our lives, both personally and professionally. We want to be part of something that we believe in and resonate with. At our core, we are all motivated by the same things, so one could suppose that motivating a team should be fairly easy.
Turns out, that is not the case.
There is a lot of information out there about building strong teams and motivating people to do their best work. But what if you have done everything you can think of to build a strong team? You have tried cheerleading, guidance, feedback, team building, clarity on roles, responsibilities, timelines, expectations and outcomes plus excellent salaries and benefits. Furthermore, everyone is clear on the goals and vision for the project, and you believe you’ve created an environment that, according to everything you’ve read, should make for a very motivated team and yet … something is missing. They are just not working together the way you know they could. All the ingredients are there: they’re well-trained, highly skilled collaborators, having the resources they need. So what’s the problem? Is it you? Is it them? What’s going on?
It appears that the very best teams out there, the ones who outperform everyone else regardless of industry, are the ones with high levels of group emotional intelligence.
According to Mayer and Salovey, two of the leading researchers on the topic, emotional intelligence is “the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” Or to put it another way, it is a navigation system for life, a state-of-the-art GPS. It is so much easier to understand the people around you if you first understand yourself. We all function under cultural norms when it comes to reading body language, facial expression and tone of voice. But those cues are not necessarily the same across cultures. Emotional intelligence means taking your skills and awareness to new levels when working with diverse teams. In a team environment, emotional intelligence also means leaving your ego at the door and trusting the team to have your back. When team members truly trust each other, feel that they are part of a group that’s doing work they can be proud of, and have the conviction that, as a team, they do better work together than they could ever do apart, you have the foundation for a remarkably effective and productive team.
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