Emotional Intelligence . . . in Animals and in Teams - Fresh Concepts Skip to main content

Emotional Intelligence . . . in Animals and in Teams

Is your team as emotionally intelligent as a herd of goats?

Need a moment to consider this intentionally odd and humorous question? Here’s some background info that could help you make a more accurate assessment.

The quickie definition of emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand emotions found in oneself and others. (Daniel Goleman is the FATHER of emotional intelligence, and his book Working with Emotional Intelligence is terrific.)

Interestingly, many non-human animals recognize the feelings of others in their group.

Goats, elephants, chimps, and dogs are mammals that respond to the emotions they sense.

These mammals can HEAR and SMELL the contentment or anxiety of others in their group. For example:

  • when a goat twin was separated and lost, another goat slept with the grieving twin who remained behind;
  • when elephants sense distress, they are able to sooth others using vocal sounds (emitting small chirps);
  • when chimps see snares and poaching traps, they dismantle them to save other animals.

These small but meaningful actions show care and compassion.

How can we apply similar caring actions to our HUMAN TEAMS?

  • Sincerely ask how your work mates are doing when stressful life events are experienced within their immediate family. Tell him or her that you are thinking of them during this time.
  • Remember to look for the many different cues that could be signs of anxiety and/or sadness in your colleagues. Unlike many animals, humans cannot smell fear, sadness, and anxiety. However, we can look for small changes in behavior.
  • Consider how you can save your work friends from disaster. How might you set others up for success or redirect them around some of the mistakes you’ve experienced? Altruistic behaviors go a LONG way to create meaningful workplace bonds.

How frequently does your team engage in the above activities?

Always = GREAT JOB!! Keep up your team’s emotionally intelligent work!

Sometimes =  Ok, but improvement is possible. Dig deep and model more of the RIGHT behaviors. Create an emotionally intelligent trend!

Never = Shoot. Your team needs help getting the ball rolling. You should look to an outside source for perspective and insight.

Increasing your team’s EI can transform your organization – from the inside to the outside.




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