You Are Here
When you make the leap from team member to manager, change now means us. Degree of difficulty levels up. Every team has its unique personality, history, routines and ideals. Some good. Some not-so-good.
Social analytics research from MIT shows that every team has a distinct level of collective intelligence. Team IQ gets its unique score from how socially intelligent team habits are. A team’s social intelligence matters more than talent, vision, motivation, roles, recognition and resources. Combined.
If you could invisibly observe a team for 30 days, you would see them work at one of five levels. Maybe you’ll recognize your team:
Level 1 is corrosive. The blunt way of describing level one is that people hate their jobs and each other. It’s also the accurate way of saying it. Because only two percent of teams work at level one, this is probably not your team. We hope.
Level 2 are “job-holders” who check boxes and go home. Engagement and ambition are low. People may have a connection with one or two people in their group, but that’s it.
Level 3 is a collection of soloists. In the natural give and take of communication, there’s more take than give. These teams try to collaborate, but competing agendas and superstar mentality interfere with high creative output and productivity. Although people are talented and have high professional IQ, level three team intelligence is average.
Level 4 teams are islands. Island teams work well on their own, but don’t get outside their own territory or network well. In most level four cases, the team’s social intelligence ends as soon as they engage with another team—maybe engineering doesn’t jell with design, or sales and marketing want to outmaneuver each other, and that friction limits their relevance.
Level five has the biggest upside. Because social intelligence is high, individual talent and IQ have a much higher use rate. Think symphony, not spotlight.
Productivity and creative output are 30% higher at level five than level four because level five replaces what’s typical at the other levels with traits like high idea flow, deep human interaction, strategic relevance, purpose and water-cooler honesty. In other words, human dynamics are fluent.
As opposed to managers who lead teams at levels one through four, level five leaders focus on the factors that drive the metrics—traits of high team intelligence—rather than the metrics alone. They crush their numbers because they know the intelligence quotient that matters most.
Productivity and creative output are 30% higher at level five than level four because level five replaces what's typical at other levels.
Expectations Meet Reality
Here’s the catch: there’s a 98% chance your team isn’t level five. In fact, there’s a 73% chance you’re at level three or lower. Given that only two percent of teams live at level five, there’s work to do.
Your job is to lead your team to hit, or beat, the numbers, whatever numbers mean in your job. Every manager feels that pressure. Some can’t let it go even when they go home.
The culture you engineer—the level to which your team rises—is the decisive indicator of whether you hit your metrics, and if your leadership works. The unshakeable reality is that metrics follow culture.