Effective communication is a key factor in team building, team management, and team performance. But, what is the meaning of effective communication, and how is it connected to emotional intelligence? Let’s explore the connection and how we can cultivate effective communication within a team through emotional intelligence.
Communication: Creating Meaning
For our purposes, we will work with this definition: “communication is a transaction whereby participants together create meaning through the exchange of symbols.” (Fielding, 2005)
If communication is a transaction, an exchange between two or more people who create meaning together—for example, team members—what makes it effective? Is it the symbols used? For example, what is said versus what is left unspoken. Is it the facial expressions and the gestures of the participants during a meeting? Is it the photographs and the graphics shared during a presentation?
Every symbol is important as long as meaning is created. And, this is exactly what complicates things. What is meaningful to one participant might not be meaningful to the other. What I perceive as an effective message in a verbal communication exchange might be perceived as pointless talking by other team members.
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Effective Communication through Emotional Intelligence
So, how can emotional intelligence lead to effective communication? Emotional intelligence is defined as the subset of social intelligence that involves 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 (Mayer et. al., 2004).
The ability to monitor others’ feelings and emotions and be able to use this information is crucial to effective communication. This is about putting yourself in other peoples’ shoes. This is about the ability to listen on multiple levels with empathy and realize that all adults bring with them mindsets and experiences that impact the way they perceive things. This is about mindfulness and the ability to take a step back and reflect on this information during a communication exchange in order to make necessary changes to the communication approach.
Now, you might say, “Emotional intelligence is too complicated because it is not just one thing. You mentioned empathy, mindfulness, active listening, and social intelligence.” Emotional intelligence does require multiple skills and behaviors that demand practice and effort in order to be mastered. But, the good news is that they can be mastered. And, once mastered, your high emotional intelligence becomes a game changer for effective communication within your team. After all, everything revolves around emotions, doesn’t it?
So, what will be your first step toward mastering emotional intelligence in order to cultivate effective communication within your team?
Want to help your team learn to communicate effectively through emotional intelligence? Check out the Pluma online coaching platform and request a demo today. Our certified executive coaches are ready to support you and your team in building the strong relationship skills required to succeed in today’s business environment.