In a study written up in both Science magazine and the NY Times, M.I.T. researchers identified the traits that characterize consistently smarter teams.

Those teams who perform consistently smarter are:

  • Teams whose members contribute more equally to discussions, vs. letting one or two dominate.
  • Teams whose members are more able to read complex emotions using a test called “Reading the Mind in the Eyes”.
  • Teams whose membership includes more women than men.

The researchers also concluded the last effect was partly explained because more women were able to “read the mind through the eyes” than men.

When researchers replicated the teamwork studies online (where team members couldn’t see their team mates), they found a more general ability to read emotions was just as important in identifying smarter teams.

As a soft skills speaker, workshop presenter, and coach, this provides additional support for the validity of soft skills work.

Educating and empowering individuals and teams to develop and enhance active listening and tools that develop the ability to relate to others and create safe emotional spaces may be the greatest gift any organization can provide.

As a writer, I collect stories and feedback from my clients and readers about situations that challenge them.  As a coach and presenter, I provide tools to deal more successfully with those challenges.

If you would like my advice on a challenging relationship or team situation, please feel free to contact me at I would be happy to reply through this blog, and will protect you and/or your organization’s identity.

May we pursue our paths, finding ways to honor and integrate soft skills,

Best wishes,