In episode 12 of the Mission-Critical Leadership Podcast, we talk about Team Dynamics and Emotional Intelligence. What are the benefits of a team with a high degree of emotional intelligence? How do we know when we have it? How do we develop it if we don’t? We dive into that and a whole lot more in this episode. Join us.
In This Episode
In this episode, we talk about the team dynamics and emotional intelligence overlap that your team needs to have. We will discuss:
The benefits of emotional intelligence in your team
5 ways to build emotional intelligence in your team
Team Dynamics and Emotional Intelligence
Recently, I had a personal value disrespected. While it looked like I was angry, I wasn’t. The problem is that disrespect and anger can present similarly. Where I failed was to make a clear expectation of my result. When that expectation wasn’t met, it wasn’t the other person’s fault. It was mine. I needed to do better. Learning how to name, identify and express emotions appropriately is part of what it means to be a mission-critical leader. Had I done better, the team would have performed better. Let’s learn about the relationship between team dynamics and emotional intelligence.
Dr. Justin Hiebert works with mission-critical leaders to accomplish the unimaginable. Realizing that no leader has ever needed more things to do, he works with his clients to get the right things done. His clients rise above burnout, captivate their teams, and transform their communities. By engaging their hearts and minds, his clients unlock their full potential to be, do, and have it all. This affords them the ability to leave a legacy of influence and impact on the world. He is a husband, father, teacher, learner, and champion of joy. He resides in Bakersfield with his wife, four kids, two cats, and one dog. In his free time, he loves exercising, riding motorcycles, and doing anything outdoors.
Recently, my wife and I were enjoying some coffee in the morning when we noticed headlights pull into our driveway. This isn’t too unusual or a call for alarm as we live three blocks from her parent’s house. They will sometimes stop by in the morning to see the kids before school.
However, three minutes after noticing the lights, they hadn’t come to the door. Then, we heard the sharp screel of an angle grinder, followed immediately by our car alarm going off.
As I ran outside, there were three individuals attempting to steal our catalytic converter and turn it in for recycling money. I found out from the cops that it’s a popular crime, and one hard to track. Most of the time, car alarms don’t go off. We were able to escape any major injury or damage to the car as we called the cops and they sped off.
However, one phrase has been a recurring phrase for us in the house following the event is: “Deal with it.”
Deal With It.
While they didn’t get anything of value, it was a huge invasion of privacy. Worse than that, there were two individuals I could plainly see, one providing lookout in the car and the other cutting away beneath our vehicle. What I couldn’t see, was the third individual lurking around the corner who charged me when I stepped out my front door to see what was going on. Narrowly escaping, I pushed my wife and kids back inside to the safety of our home and called the cops once we were alerted to the danger.
That night, I noticed that I had a lot of anxiety. Worried they would come back and attempt to finish their theft, or worse, left me unable to sleep. The next several days were all stressful as we tried to process not just the attempted theft, but the invasion of privacy and safety as well.
As we process the event and deal with the consequences and trauma of the event, I realize how many times in life we don’t “deal with it” when problems arise.
Work situations are ripe with circumstances and experiences that haven’t been dealt with.
A coworker makes an inappropriate joke or demeaning remark and is never called out for it. Instead, he assumes everyone agrees with him since nothing was said.
A manager ridicules an employee unfairly and abusively. The “leadership style is defended because “that’s just the way he is.”
A brewing team conflict is allowed to simmer because of the false belief that product launch and marketing execution is more important than team health.
A series of pet-peeves builds mounting frustration towards a full-blown argument where harsh words are used.
The pressure of increased sales at work diminishes the quality of life at home, leading to personal withdrawal and isolation.
The busyness of life limits personal connection time and family bonding, leading to a fractured family unit and unspoken angst.
You get the point. You’ve also likely been there. Perhaps you even are there now. But high performers know that you can only be as strong as your weakest area of life. If you’re struggling to deal with any aspect of conflict, drama, or trauma, your success will falter and your breakthroughs will be limited.
Instead, based on the experience of the recent attempted robbery, here are three ways to help you process conflict in your life so you can deal with it appropriately.
1.) Give your emotions space.
The first step towards healing for Elise and I was to give our emotions space. We first had to acknowledge what we were feeling: sadness, anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, panic, and worry were quick to come out.
Strong leaders know they need to raise their emotional intelligence. Through consistent and deliberate practice, they engage their emotions and learn to master and express them appropriately.
2.) Share in deep conversation
You can’t deal with problems if you don’t talk about them. Once we acknowledged our emotions, we shared a conversation based around healing. What did it mean for us to deal with this situation effectively? How could we overcome those negative emotions and find hope? What did the other person need? How could we support them?
The good news is that we are all okay. The better news is that we can work for a better tomorrow. This experience provided us with the opportunity to look at our house in a new light and discover what made it a good target. Poor outside lighting contributed to the criminals picking our house. So too, did several other factors. We were able to see those, remedy them, and create a safer environment for our family.
In life and work, we can do the same. Interpersonal conflict doesn’t have to be the norm. In fact, it shouldn’t be. In his book Thrive By Design, Don Rheem tells us that we are wired to perform better in teams. Those around us should make us better. If they aren’t, we have issues to address. By addressing them, we make the team better. When we make the team better, we get better. When you get better, you can attain peak performance. By reaching peak performance, you can skyrocket your success.
It is inevitable that conflict, disagreement, and discord will arise in life. However, we don’t have to live in it constantly. Instead, we can rise above it by giving our emotions space, engaging in deep conversation, and working towards a better future.
The spiritual and emotional health of leaders is a necessary component of holistic health.
We’re in the middle of a series on leadership health. Want to catch up? Part 1 is here.
Healthy leaders engage in ancient practices of development, often called spiritual disciplines. Times of quiet reflection, meditation, prayer, rest, and community discernment are a few examples.
An example of leadership spiritual growth is a hobby. Hobbies are those life-giving activities that serve as a reflection of our unique personality. Hunting, fishing, reading, flying drones, calligraphy.
In fact, I found that is often the case for high performing leaders. Engrossed in work and personal development (for the sake of further accomplishment), high performing leaders have a hard time unplugging and engaging in activities with no real goal or purpose other than enjoyment.
I’ve used comments like, “I have fun when I’m winning.” That’s enormously frustrating to people who are playing to have fun. (And vice versa).
Other similar phrases include:
I don’t know what to do with downtime.
I’m not bringing too much work with me, I’m on vacation.
My hobbies include winning and getting better.
(I may or may not have said all of these….) 😬
But spiritual health is rooted in calling and it is about the full development of a person’s humanity. Below, is a partial list of spiritual practices and disciplines to help you grow.
Practices for Spiritual Development:
Gratitude and Thankfulness
Have others? Leave a comment and let others know how to grow in spiritual health.
Emotional Health in leaders
Emotional health is the next step to fruitful and productive leadership. In my experience, this is the most neglected area of health. The emotional health of a person sits in the unique field of being almost completely internal in nature through past experiences, while also being almost completely externally visible through actions, perceptions, and relationships.
Peter Scazzeo notes the concerns of emotional health:
Emotional health is concerned with such things as: naming, recognizing, and managing our own feelings identifying and having active compassion for others initiating and maintaining close and meaningful relationships breaking free from self-destructive patterns being aware of how our past impacts our present developing the capacity to clearly express our thoughts and feelings respecting and loving others without having to change them clearly, directly, and respectfully asking for what we need, want, or prefer accurately assessing our own strengths, limits, and weaknesses, and freely sharing them with others developing the capacity to maturely resolve.
For the emotionally healthy leader, effective emotional health requires a previous recognition and engagement with the emotional traps, snares, and shortcomings at earlier stages of life. Family dynamics, addiction triggers, and shortcomings all need to be worked through and reflected upon.
But it is important to remember that emotional health may start internal, but presents external.
These are a few outward signs that something is wrong internally. Healthy leaders, by contrast, are generous. With their praise, with their affirmation, with their encouragement and desire to see others succeed and grow.
Because this is such an important topic, we are going to examine how to grow in emotional health and intelligence next week.
I learned the necessity of emotional intelligence like a child learning to walk. There was lots of hand-holding, many more tremendous crashes (often public), and more than a few bumps and bruises.
The Leader’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is like playing the piano. The greater the range, the greater the player.
As a pianist, my musical accomplishment is limited to chopsticks. On a good day, I might be able to find middle C.
For my wife, after some tinkering, she can learn to play fairly complex songs. She can tune her guitar, sing along as she plays, and is good enough to teach our children.
A world-class pianist can play amazing complex songs. The piano seems to come alive in their hands. Every technique is mastered. Each hammering of the keys is intentional. Everything ringing with a divine sound.
Emotional Intelligence works the same way. Emotionally immature people have a very limited range of keys to play from. Usually, they are the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. A situation arises, and their keystrokes are limited. Everything triggers them to respond in simplistic ways.
I knew a man like this once. Though physically mature, the emotional range was limited. Within a split-second, he could go from happiness to anger. Worse than that (as someone who claimed to be a leader), there was little desire to change.
“I’m just this way. I’ve always been this way, I’ll always be this way. “
This limiting belief and limited emotional capacity will limit his leadership capacity.
Expanding The Emotional Range
Expanding emotional range happens with practice. Like each new key on the keyboard that a pianist can play, emotional range equips the leader for more situations.
Think of a strong emotion like anger. Those with limited emotional capacity experience lots of anger. The lack of self-awareness leads to them repeatedly pounding the same key over and over again.
They get cut off in traffic and are angry.
The restaurant takes too long to cook their food and they are angry.
Their child leaves their shoes in the middle of the floor and they are angry.
They are passed over for a promotion and are angry.
Their favorite team loses in the championship game and they are angry.
Bothered by the amount of trash in the local park, they are angry.
Like a new piano player, they keep hitting the same note. Always angry, always looking for a reason to explode, always at the ready to let everyone know how they feel.
In contrast to this, there are ranges of anger: annoyance, frustration, furious, exasperated, and bitter are a few examples. Each is a different key to more adequately express the current emotion.
Do your child’s shoes in the middle of the floor really make you angry or are you annoyed because you tripped over them?
Does the missed promotion make you exasperated because you worked hard and thought you earned it?
The more keys that are available to us as leaders, the better we can navigate the situations around us.
The thing about leadership is that it is never a finished journey. New experiences and new insights lead to new emotional experiences.
Over the last several months, it has been a series of two steps forward and one step back.
Exciting progress met by a frustrating setback.
The subfloor was installed fairly quickly and easily.
But then, it took three orders of the shower to get one delivered undamaged, followed by three visits of the plumber to get it installed fully.
But after six weeks, we finally had a shower. So we put up the drywall and painted.
Progress, Setback, Repeat.
That, as it turns out, is much like life.
Slow, Steady Growth
Healthy leadership is a series of growth events. Each is the opportunity to take a step forward. Unfortunately, we also experience moments of setback.
For every successful meeting or mentoring moment, we belittle an employee.
Every time we set healthy boundaries and engage in personal development, we scream at someone in traffic.
For every trip to the park with our kids or a date night with our spouse, there’s the emotional binge eating for temporary relief.
It’s this continual cycle of growth and progression that encapsulates the leader’s life. It’s also the reason that I started intentionally focusing on seven key areas and aspects of healthy leadership.
Over the next couple of weeks on the blog, we are going to be covering each of these seven areas. In each area, we’ll examine the process of opportunity, growth, and reflection.
First up, let’s talk about calling.
Calling – Leadership Health and Integrity (Part 1)
The foundation for all leadership begins in a calling. God has been calling and shaping people since the beginning of time. Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and Paul are a few examples. All have unique and personalized call stories that led them to live a life of mission.
There are two levels of calling that need to be identified. First, is a general calling. The second moves from general to specific.
The general call focuses first on the development of leadership skills.
For me, it came as a freshman in college. Unhappy with where I was, how I felt, what I was looking forward to, and the classes I was taking, I remember the feeling of being alone, unloved, and unimportant.
I had gone to college because it’s what I was supposed to do. However, I didn’t arrive with any real sense of purpose or direction. Having spent a semester as a science major, the only thing that I was certain of was that I couldn’t spend any more evenings in the lab staring at a microscope.
I entered into a time of dedicated study, prayer, and reflection. I looked at transferring schools, changing majors,and dropping out and getting a job. After weeks of prayer and study, I was renewed with a sense of purpose and direction. I was reminded that I had once been called into leadership positions and that it might be time to explore that calling again.
I began to argue with God about what that might look like. In my brokenness, I also listed the reasons why I was unfit and unqualified for leadership.
I suffered from extreme shyness and public anxiety.
I had a lack of public presence and a huge fear of the unknown.
In a sense of divine irony, I sensed the call to read my Bible. I randomly opened my Bible to the story of Moses in Exodus three and four. My reservations and fears had been calmed when I saw that I raised all the same objections Moses had. I became convinced that God delights in using our weaknesses in unique and exciting ways.
General revelations can happen at any time and force future leaders to have open hearts and minds about how God is calling and shaping them.
Specific call stories take on a more detailed tone. If a general calling echoes my own idea of, “I’m not sure what this means, but I think I’m called into leadership;” specific call stories can fill in the blanks of to whom and for whom.
Originally for me, this meant youth ministry, but it didn’t take very long as a youth pastor to see that this was not what God intended for me!
Over the last decade, I have continued to define and refine my leadership skills and capabilities.
I now work with leaders, empowering them to get the right things done. My time is spent with success-oriented individuals helping them reach peak performance, accomplish their goals, and transform conflict into opportunity.
Let’s wrap up today’s discussion by providing discussion plans and growth points for the leadership journey.
These questions are designed to help you gain momentum in your journey towards leadership health.
To whom have I been called to serve?
What energizes me?
How do I want to give back?
What gifts and talents do my closest friends and family see in me?
Have I experienced a general calling? What did that look like?
Have I experienced a specific calling? What does that look like?
Who am I trying to become?
Next week, we are going to begin our look at the four internal aspects of leadership health and continue towards our final destination.