The problems teams face are more complex and interconnected than ever. In order to successfully grow a business, we need to move faster and with much greater effectiveness. We need access to data that allows our teams to learn, move and improve in real-time. The data needs to provide us with more signal in a sea of continuous noise. The data also needs to motivate and create momentum for those we lead. Where is this mysterious data set? And better yet, how do we integrate it for making decisions?
There is something referred to as the heart center of the human can synthesize data and provide feedback to the brain. What is the heart center? According to the HeartMath Institute, the intelligence of the heart allows your body to evolve toward higher levels of order, awareness, and alignment with the other systems of the body, including the brain.
“In the new field of neurocardiology, for example, scientists have discovered that the heart possesses its own intrinsic nervous system—a network of nerves so functionally sophisticated as to earn the description of a “heart brain.” Containing over 40,000 neurons, this “little brain” gives the heart the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions, and even to demonstrate a type of learning and memory. Messages the heart sends to the brain also can affect performance”.
We also know “emotions are humanity’s motivator and its omnipresent guide.”
This ‘emotional data’ is difficult to capture so we tend to ignore it or deem it invalid, especially in the workplace. We, at Kokoro, have a hypothesis – emotions drive performance. Emotions are the leading indicator of performance. And, importantly, emotions fuel business success.
Let’s take a look at what science, research, and the latest trends have to say about high-performing teams and emotions.
- Amy Edmonton of Harvard looks at how psychological safety drives team performance
- This Harvard article reveals how psychological safety and diversity help to drive innovation and creativity
- The University of Sussex, looks at how identity and belonging to the team increases performance
- Here is an article on how workplace satisfaction drives productivity
- And one from Inc.com on how retaining talent is predicated on organizational mood and emotional connectedness
High-quality emotions drive performance, so why don’t we use this valuable data to help our teams thrive? Well, they’re messy and difficult to integrate, making them easy to ignore. Most workplaces have very little if any emotional safety for their employees. Meaning people feel they cannot fully express themselves without the fear of consequence. When was the last time you were able to express yourself about the dirty dishes in the sink? Or when your boss told you to do something that didn’t align with your talents? So where do we start to integrate this more ‘emotional data’ that drives our teams? Listening and awareness are the first steps.
Here are four easy tactics to start integrating emotions with your teams now:
- Listen – What wants to be said? What are the collective emotions saying?
- Surface – Where is the tension in the team? What wants to be surfaced?
- Process – How do we deal with those emotions? What will help us move forward?
- Adjust – How do we move and improve?
The key is–keep it simple. Find quick and easy ways to build your emotional competence by tackling one thing at a time.
I hope this helps you get started unlocking the true potential of your team and understanding how emotions fuel business success! If you’re interested in learning more about how to make the team experience simpler, healthier, and more engaging, check out Kokoro. We’ve used the latest scientific research and our work with over 1,000 teams to help companies measure what matters.