Team intelligence (T-i) is Emotional Intelligence applied in a team setting. It is unique because teams come together to achieve a specific purpose through shared vision and goals. Because fulfilling that purpose relies on the efforts of the very people brought together to achieve it, the emotional states and morale of each team member greatly matter. In essence, Team Intelligence is the realization that we are all a voice for one another and that no one person is ever greater than the sum of the parts of a team.
Team intelligence is all about learning how to function as a part of the larger group. Regardless of role, title, or formal hierarchy it means acknowledging and acting upon how you naturally come together by recognizing and leveraging each person’s strengths, blind spots, and needs. Team intelligence is what builds high-performing team cultures that outlast and outdistance expectations.
For leaders, having high Team intelligence is all about the ability to assess, tap into and manage the different emotional states of the team. It includes creating a psychologically safe environment where people are free to be themselves and speak their minds. It includes setting a purposeful direction, giving actionable feedback, and coaching individuals for both growth and performance. This level of deep engagement within the culture of a team enables a leader to anticipate roadblocks to communication, resolve conflict, recognize individual contributions, and authentically celebrate team accomplishments.
For members of a team, having high Team intelligence includes the ability to collaborate, be receptive to feedback, and adapt to change in context of the team’s collective purpose. It includes acting on part of the team, supporting one another, pressing each other’s strengths, mitigating each other’s blind spots, and enabling everyone to reach their full potential. At times this means having to put yourself aside to act on behalf of another—or behalf of the team culture as a whole—to ensure everyone takes part in team successes.
According to Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers, leaders play one of two roles; Multiplier, or Diminisher. Multipliers create boundless opportunities for others by empowering them to be their best selves. Diminishers, not so much. This week, consider the role you play in the lives of people on your team. Beyond the technical skills and experience you bring, you’re a moral leader to your teammates. As such, watch The Accidental Diminisher and think about how you might be affecting others with your natural approach. Then, consider how you can reinvest in your team’s success.
“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.
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