It may come as a surprise to discover that people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. And the difference is their emotional intelligence. It’s that special something that makes us uniquely who we are and it influences how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. So while you may have thought that having an IQ was a prerequisite to performing well at work, the truth is that emotional intelligence has perhaps an even bigger part to play. Let’s find out more.

Importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace

A recent survey discovered that when tested against other important workplace skills, emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance, explaining an amazing 58 percent of success in all types of jobs. And so if you want to have a high-performing team, then it’s important that you promote a culture that nurtures and sustains emotional intelligence in the workplace.

Ways to promote emotional intelligence in your team

A team’s work culture sets the parameters within which everyone works – what’s acceptable and expected. And developing a culture in which emotional intelligence is nurtured and encouraged needs to start from day one. And so when somebody leaves or joins the team, it’s important to reset those parameters and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Teams that are emotionally intelligent tend to build strong interpersonal connections and have a common sense of trust. They also tend to challenge ideas at all levels. Emotionally intelligent team members are often self-starters and are solutions oriented.

So how do you encourage your team members to be more emotionally intelligent? Here are some quick and easy ways to raise the levels of emotional intelligence in your team:

Provide regular feedback: Turning regular feedback into a habit, challenging each other and bouncing ideas around the team gives members the confidence to share, challenge and speak out. Make it an integral feature of your team to provide feedback and people will become less defensive and will accept it as being a positive that helps to improve performance rather than as a negative criticism.

Reward initiative: Teams that display a sense of fear around taking risks and have a fear of failure are not emotionally intelligent. Instead, give praise and encouragement to team members who give their best efforts. Even if the outcome is not as expected, the fact that a team member tried something new and took a step outside their comfort zone is worth acknowledging. The emotionally intelligent team will see it as an opportunity to analyse the lessons that will help them to succeed next time.

Encourage shared ownership of outcomes: Emotionally intelligent teams share responsibility for outcomes whether positive or negative. The old-fashioned notion that the boss is responsible for everything doesn’t have a place in the emotionally intelligent team. Instead, a genuine openness and willingness to learn means that these teams take ownership and credit when things go well, but also step up and take responsibility when things don’t go to plan.

And so as we’ve seen, emotional intelligence is an important, and often underrated, element of high performing teams. In short, it’s the star ingredient that will make all the difference. Ensure your business encourages and nurtures the emotional intelligence of your team employees with these easily implemented solutions.