Learn how helping people recognize and expand the lenses through which they see the world increases team performance.

In the previous post , we talked about integrity at work and the fundamental principles behind building the trust that leads to top performance.  These timeless truths are universal, although some cultural nuances exist.  In this post, we’ll explore how the lenses through which we view the world relate to our emotional intelligence, and how authenticity building can increase emotional intelligence and improve team performance.

In contrast to universal truths, authenticity building is tailored to particular individuals and teams because it involves helping them discover the lenses through which they see the world.  Doing so serves two purposes: (1) enabling people to see through clearer lenses, and (2) helping people to widen the scope of their lenses.  Building authenticity in these ways impacts effective communication and trust—and ultimately team performance.

Let’s first talk about widening the scope of our lenses. Take a quick look at the image below.  What do you see?

candlestick - faces image

Some people first notice a candlestick.  Others see two faces looking at each other.  If you saw the candlestick, can you now see the two faces?  If you saw the faces, can you also see the candlestick?

This example helps us to recognize that people view things differently and that different perspectives are valid.  By being open to learning how others view situations, we widen the scope of our lenses and increase our ability to see situations and people more fully.  Doing so not only improves our personal effectiveness because we have a greater understanding of situations and others, it increases team and organizational effectiveness because members gain a greater understanding of situations and others as well.  This leads to a greater likelihood that teams will address situations and solve problems in ways that incorporate all views, which increases the likelihood that members will support the plans and solutions generated.  And as you well know, when people truly support a team’s efforts, the team is well on its way to top performance.

How does seeing through narrow lenses impact team performance?

Sometimes people have different and often unstated assumptions.  An example of this that can show up in teams is members have different assumptions regarding contributions.  When different assumptions exist regarding contributions, behavior can become increasingly uncoordinated and may lead to frustration or even anger, weakening a team’s sense of unity—which ultimately weakens its performance.  Varying assumptions regarding contributions can also lead to negative conflicts—stated or unstated—which further weaken team performance.

How does seeing through cloudy lenses impact team performance?

Sometimes the way people view things is not as objective or accurate as it might be.  For example, our personalities can make our lenses cloudy at times.  Personality differences result in various aspects of situations having more importance to some people than others.  As a result, what might not be significant to one person can trigger an emotional response in someone else.

Authenticity building includes learning to recognize what may have greater significance for us than others and therefore trigger emotional reactions.  Increasing our emotional intelligence—awareness of our emotions as well as those of others—can help us recognize our triggers early on.  And becoming mindful of our triggers can enable us to circumvent them before they get the best of us.  In this way, increasing our emotional intelligence enables us to interact more effectively with people, which strengthens trust and cooperation—and ultimately team performance.

Clearing up the lenses through which we see the world involves personal reflection and recognizing that we may not always view things objectively.  Seriously considering feedback from others can aid this process.  Being humble can help us be open to developing areas that may not come naturally to us.  This, in turn, can enable us to increase the range of our behaviors—and ultimately our effectiveness.

Authenticity building can help improve team performance because teams benefit when members widen their lenses to include others’ perspectives.  Doing so results in a more comprehensive view of a situation that can clarify issues and lead to better solutions and agreed upon actions that people support.

And when team members see through clearer lenses, it’s easier for people to become aligned because everyone has a similar view.  Seeing through clearer lenses also increases our emotional intelligence, which improves the effectiveness of our interactions.  Among other things, effective interactions and greater alignment increase team unity—which is necessary for top performance.

To discover your team’s well developed and less developed areas in order to guide authenticity building and increase emotional intelligence, click here to participate in our latest study and receive a free team profile.


Action items:

  • Reflect upon how clearly the lenses are though which you see the world and how mindful you are of striving to understand others’ views
  • Think about a time when you realized that you were not seeing a situation fully or clearly—how might things have turned out if you had not corrected your vision?
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