Lack of Emotional Intelligence and the Impact on Team Performance (5 Key Areas)

Lack of Emotional Intelligence – What Does that Mean?

People who lack emotional intelligence, also known as low emotional intelligence (EQ), refers to a person who is deficient in the ability to recognize, understand, manage, and use emotions effectively in interpersonal relationships and social situations. EQ is a crucial aspect of human interactions, as it helps individuals navigate complex social environments, empathize with others, and communicate more effectively.

Some signs of low emotional intelligence may include:

  1. Poor self-awareness: Difficulty in recognizing and understanding one’s own emotions, leading to impulsivity or unpredictable emotional reactions.
  2. Inability to manage emotions: Struggling to regulate emotions, which can lead to mood swings, outbursts, or emotional numbness.
  3. Lack of empathy: Difficulty in understanding and sharing the feelings of others, which may result in a perceived lack of caring or insensitivity.
  4. Poor social skills: Struggling with effective communication, active listening, and the ability to navigate social situations with ease. This would include poor coping skills and signs of low emotional awareness in social settings.
  5. Difficulty building and maintaining relationships: Challenges in forming deep, meaningful connections with others, which can lead to a sense of isolation or loneliness and the inability to manage relationships.

Why is Emotional Intelligence Important?

Developing a high emotional intelligence is important for personal and professional success, as it can contribute to better relationships, improved decision-making, intelligence in the workplace, job satisfaction, better mental health and overall mental well-being.

We know that positive leadership, solid processes, and good team dynamics are important for not only team performance, but overall satisfaction in the workplace. Properly expressing emotions can accurately identify what is happening in the present and help a team recognize what needs to be adjusted for success in the future.

And as leaders in a climate where turnover is a big problem, performance and satisfaction are becoming important areas to focus our attention on.

How Does Emotional Intelligence Impact a Team?

The question of how to function smoothly and effectively as a team during trying times often comes down to emotional intelligence – not only in the leader but in the individuals making up the team.

EQ is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

When it comes to team dynamics the higher the level of emotional intelligence available in the members of the team the greater the chance for success. Success not only in terms of business outcomes but also in terms of personal satisfaction and professional fulfillment.

Emotional intelligence matters greatly in the workplace and has a significant impact on a team. When team members possess strong emotional intelligence skills, it fosters a positive and productive work environment.

  1. Improved Communication: Team members with high emotional intelligence can effectively understand and express their own emotions, leading to clearer communication. They can articulate their thoughts, needs, and concerns in a constructive manner, which promotes better teamwork and collaboration.
  2. Conflict Resolution: Workplace emotional intelligence enables team members to handle conflicts more effectively. They can empathize with others’ perspectives and use their social skills to address disagreements in a respectful manner, leading to quicker resolutions and reduced negative emotions.
  3. Empathy and Understanding: Individuals with developed emotional intelligence are more empathetic, which allows them to understand their colleagues’ feelings and needs better. This empathy fosters a supportive and compassionate team dynamic, enhancing overall team morale.
  4. Productivity and Creativity: High emotional intelligence positively influences team productivity. Emotionally intelligent team members can manage their own emotions and stay focused on tasks even during challenging situations. Moreover, they create a safe environment that encourages creativity and innovation as team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas.
  5. Leadership Impact: Emotionally intelligent leaders can set an example for their team. By demonstrating emotional intelligence in the workplace, they encourage their team members to do the same. This leads to a more emotionally mature team that can handle pressure, adapt to changes, and work cohesively towards common goals.
  6. Stress Management: In high-pressure work environments, emotional intelligence can significantly impact stress management. Individuals with strong emotional intelligence can better cope with stress and help others manage their stress levels as well, reducing burnout and improving overall well-being.
  7. Trust and Cohesion: Workplace emotional intelligence fosters trust among team members. When colleagues demonstrate emotional intelligence, it creates a sense of safety, where team members feel comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities and seeking support when needed. This trust strengthens team cohesion and collaboration.

Emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in shaping team dynamics and overall success. By honing their own emotional intelligence and demonstrating it in the workplace, team members can improve communication, conflict resolution, productivity, and creativity. Emotionally intelligent leaders can positively influence their teams and create a work environment that is supportive, trusting, and conducive to growth and success.

What happens when a Team Doesn’t have Emotionally Intelligent People?

  1. Anger, dissatisfaction & interpersonal conflicts

    When people lack EQ it means they may bring up concerns and questions, express themselves, and act in a way that causes tension and conflict. When they get frustrated, this is exacerbated – they become less clear and less effective at their job, and speak in a way that leaves their teammates feeling disrespected, stressed out, and undervalued. When trust between coworkers collapses, there is a low chance they can effectively solve problems as a team.

  2. People not following the proper process or meeting expectations

    It’s common for individuals in a team struggling with EQ to choose their own process and follow their sense of what should be done, rather than working together towards achieving a goal. Part of improving EQ means understanding that people think, communicate, and work differently. When this level of understanding is lacking, it means that disappointment and failure is not a possibility, but an inevitability. This can understandably be frustrating for managers who spend extra energy trying to get everyone on the same page while their team’s performance nosedives.

  3. Doubling down on processes or expectations that are unrealistic or not working

    Leaders who haven’t developed their EQ often don’t have the agility to read and meet the needs of evolving or challenging circumstances. They struggle to adapt to emerging situations, instead doubling down on their original initiative and guidebook despite red flags. This often leads to ineffective decision-making and more stress in a team that already feels like they’re treading water.
  4. A lack of measurable and sustainable results

    When a team of skilled professionals fundamentally does not enjoy nor understand how to work together, they end up trying to do their part despite the negative emotions and anxious energy of the team and other people around them. With people pushing hard in different directions, team performance takes a big hit. It becomes difficult to discern what is working and what is not because the water is muddied with interpersonal conflict and miscommunication.
  5. A high turnover rate & retention problems

    When all of these issues are conflated, here is the ultimate consequence: a high turnover rate and decreased retention of good people. When workers get frustrated enough in an underperforming team, they’ll leave a job they enjoy. Especially in a post-COVID world, we’re seeing that people are more willing to leave workplaces that cause them emotional stress and seek better possibilities. It’s just not worth it for them.

How can you make positive team changes starting right now?

There is good news about all of this: intelligence in the workplace is the key that can improve your team’s satisfaction, performance, and cohesion all at the same time.

At Evolved Metrics, we are DiSC specialists. DiSC is a tool built on personality profiles that help people better understand themselves and the people around them. Importantly, in the DiSC spectrum, EQ is accessible to all personalities.

This means that anyone can go from low EQ to high emotional intelligence, you can increase and enhance emotional intelligence within your teams emotional quotient. It is not a fixed or inherent trait that is difficult to develop. You can do this for both yourself and your team members.

Because of amazing leaps in behavioural science, there are great tools designed for the workplace to make EQ easy. Our favourite tool to improve team emotional intelligence is Everything DiSC Agile EQ. 

The premise of the tool is simple: Individuals on a team all do the DiSC assessment, and then their personality traits are linked with helpful information about their work style and personality for other team members to see. Just with this information, leaders and coworkers achieve greater insights on how to adapt their actions and expectations, improve the performance of individuals, and set people up for success. 

When individuals succeed, the team succeeds.

When individuals feel heard and seen, they hear and see others. They commit to the workplace that values them.

When individuals feel satisfied, they bring positive energy and enhanced skill to the team.

When individuals trust their team, the whole team focuses its energy on achieving higher goals together.

It’s time to get on the same page & do amazing work together.

Do you want to experience the benefits of improved team EQ?

We see that you value your people and you know they can achieve amazing results when they’re set up for success. Book a complimentary discovery call with us to see if this is the right course of action for you! 

We help businesses achieve clarity between individuals and teams, implement processes that support a healthy work culture & foster understanding and collaboration.

Low Emotional Intelligence FAQ

What Causes a Person to have low Emotional Intelligence?

Low emotional intelligence (EQ) in a person can stem from various factors. It is important to note that emotional intelligence is not static and can be improved over time. Some possible causes for low emotional intelligence include:

  1. Genetics: A person’s genetic predisposition might play a role in their emotional intelligence. Some individuals may naturally possess a higher emotional intelligence or lower emotional intelligence than others.
  2. Upbringing: The environment in which a person is raised can significantly impact their emotional intelligence. Emotionally intelligent people replicate themselves, and children who grow up in nurturing and emotionally supportive environments are more likely to develop a higher EQ, while those who experience neglect, abuse, or lack of emotional guidance may struggle to develop emotional intelligence.
  3. Lack of social exposure: Social interactions and experiences are essential for developing emotional intelligence. Individuals with limited social exposure might not have the opportunity to learn and practice important emotionally intelligent skills.
  4. Emotional trauma: Experiencing emotional trauma, especially at a young age, can hinder the development of emotional intelligence. Traumatic events can lead to difficulties in understanding and managing emotions, both in oneself and others.
  5. Mental health issues: Some mental health disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, or personality disorders, can affect an individual’s ability to develop and maintain emotional intelligence. Physical health can also play a role in someones emotional quotient, an emotionally intelligent person often has a handle on their physical health, or at least have figured out how to mitigate its affects on their EQ.
  6. Cultural factors: Cultural norms and expectations can influence the development of emotional intelligence. In some cultures, emotional expression may be discouraged or seen as a sign of weakness, which could impact the development of EQ skills.
  7. Lack of education or awareness: Many people are not aware of the concept of emotional intelligence or its importance. Without proper education or guidance, individuals may struggle to develop their EQ skills.

Remember, low emotional intelligence can be improved with conscious effort, guidance, and practice. By seeking to understand and develop one’s emotional intelligence, individuals can enhance their professional and private relationships, as well as their overall wellbeing.

Do Narcissists have Low Emotional Intelligence?

Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Narcissistic individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships, maintaining good mental health, and their behavior may appear self-centered and manipulative.

While there is no direct correlation between narcissism and emotional intelligence, research suggests that individuals with narcissistic traits often exhibit lower emotional intelligence than others.

Narcissists may possess certain aspects of emotional intelligence, such as being able to read and manipulate others’ emotions to their advantage. However, they often struggle with other key components of emotional intelligence, such as empathy and being self aware.

This discrepancy may arise from the fact that narcissists are primarily focused on themselves and their own needs, often at the expense of those around them. Consequently, they may have a limited understanding of how their actions impact others, leading to a diminished capacity for emotional intelligence.

Empathy is a critical component of emotional intelligence, as it allows individuals to relate to and understand the emotions of others.

Narcissists often have difficulty empathizing with others, which can lead to a decreased ability to form meaningful connections and engage in effective communication. Their lack of empathy may also contribute to their inability to recognize and respond appropriately to the emotional cues of others.

This deficit in emotional understanding and the ability to express emotions can create barriers in personal and professional relationships and make it difficult for narcissists to collaborate or cooperate with others effectively.

Furthermore, self-awareness is another crucial aspect of emotional intelligence that narcissists often struggle with. Self-awareness involves understanding one’s own emotions, recognizing how they affect behavior, and using this knowledge to guide decision-making.

Narcissistic individuals typically have an inflated sense of self-worth and may be unwilling or unable to recognize their own emotional vulnerabilities and shortcomings. This lack of self-awareness can hinder their ability to manage their emotions effectively and make it difficult for them to grow and learn from their experiences.

In summary, while narcissists may possess certain elements of emotional intelligence, they often struggle with key components such as empathy and self-awareness. Their self-centered nature and lack of concern for the emotions of others can lead to a diminished capacity for emotional intelligence, which may impact their personal and professional relationships.

It is essential to recognize that narcissism exists on a spectrum, and not all individuals with narcissistic traits will display low emotional intelligence. However, understanding the link between narcissism and emotional intelligence can provide valuable insight into the challenges faced by those with narcissistic tendencies and inform strategies for improving their emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills.