You may have noticed that most work is done in groups. Many people feel that the time spent in group meetings doesn’t produce productive results. Some teams can make better decisions and deliver superior results. Recent research has shown that some teams are more intelligent than others, much like people.
This is why you need to account for it. It’s not about having a lot of intelligent people in a group. Although having intelligent people in a team might solve the problem, it’s often impossible to control a team’s composition. Teams almost always consist of people with different abilities, experiences, and intelligence. Leaders must be able “to play with the cards they are dealt.”
What can “smart” team members do to make their group more productive? These are five tips to make your team smarter.
Diversity allows the team to have access to many perspectives and talents. However, diversity of view and opinion often comes with conflict and differing opinions. It is essential to foster trust and respect in order to allow differences to lead to positive outcomes rather than cause problems.
Research has shown that, in addition to the diversity of perspective and opinion, teams with more women tend to be more productive. This may partly be explained by the fact women are better at understanding the complex emotions of others. This brings us to the second tip.
Build Emotional Intelligence
Team interaction is facilitated by being able to read the emotions of others and then acting accordingly. Intelligent teams have emotional intelligence. This is the ability to be aware of one’s own behavior and how it affects others. Combining self-awareness with self-control and empathy creates a more supportive environment for the exchange of ideas, solving problems, and making high-quality decisions. This is true for both virtual and co-located teams.
The most innovative teams draw on the collective knowledge and experience of the entire team to avoid situations in which a few people dominate. If so-called experts are dominant, there is less chance for new ideas to emerge—the risk of making the same mistakes again or applying the exact solutions to further problems increases. To encourage more participation in group discussions, ask open-ended questions. Invite people who are still silent to share their ideas.
It is human nature to be pessimistic about what we don’t love. You’ll be able to learn new things if you have a diverse group and encourage input from all. If you focus on the negative, it can either close down the conversation or cause the other person to need to defend their ideas. Both are bad for the team.
This will help you avoid it. Look for the positives in the words of the other person to prevent this. Even if there are some issues with the idea, you can still see that it has value. This keeps new ideas fresh and allows you to explore them fully and determine their value. This helps to build trust and respect between team members, which are two essential factors for open information exchange and team members being able to have honest conversations.
Expression of Concerns is a Solution
If you focus only on the positive aspects of ideas, it is impossible to evaluate and develop them. It’s important to voice your concerns. Intelligent teams use this constructively to move the discussion forward. Once you have stated your thoughts on the idea, you can then address your concerns in a “how-to…” form that encourages problem-solving and action.
Instead of saying, “We can’t push back the deadline a week,” it’s better to say, “We can’t delay the project any longer without looking unresponsive.” It’s impossible to delay the project without making it seem unresponsive. Instead, it would be more effective to say, “Pushing back the deadline another week would allow us more time to address all the issues.” How do we accomplish this without appearing unresponsive? This case is different from the previous one. You have stated your concern clearly and directly, but you have invited the other person instead of defending a position to find a solution.
The most intelligent people don’t necessarily make the best teams. Team processes and skills are what make the difference. They build trust, respect and encourage open dialogue between all members of the group. These five tips will help you leverage the talents and experience of your team. This will make your team more intelligent.