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5 Sep 2011

Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People (Pt 7): Team Intelligence

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People

Sensitive people (SP) can increase team intelligence in very much the same way mortar makes brick and stone walls stronger. Since diverse teams tend to be more creative and intelligent than homogeneous ones, SP will often provide the relational glue keeping diverse groups from fracturing under the stress of diverse views.

In “What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women,” an article in the June 2011 of the Harvard Business Review, Anita Woolley and Thomas Malone found SP:

  • Listen well
  • Share criticism constructively
  • Possess open minds
  • Aren’t autocratic

Since “Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do,” Woolley and Malone found that adding more women to groups would make them more intelligent. They “saw pretty clearly that groups that had smart people dominating the conversation were not very intelligent.”

SP’s concerns for the well being of others will help ensure that diverse views receive a hearing even from more dominant and autocratic members of the team. In effect, we don’t increase the intelligence of the group by necessarily adding more intelligent people. We do so by adding more SP who give deference to others so stronger more effective bonds are formed. Through these bonds flow the life-blood of ideation, more simply called communication. Under the influence of dominant, head-strong members, these arteries become constricted by fear and tension thus preventing the free, open flow of ideas necessary for increasing team intelligence.

As we saw, nurturing positive feelings in others dramatically improves performance. SP are perfect additions to improving the intelligence and performance of teams. Their talent for being more aware of the emotions running through others will help ensure team members will feel good about the team and their contributions.


Other links in this series:


Series Navigation<< Emotional Self-defense for Sensitive People (Pt 6): Defeatism & CourageEmotional Self Defense Regarding Decision Making For Sensitive People >>

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