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  • Ian Gregory

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE & TEAMS


There is an old Japanese proverb that translates into “None of us is as smart as all of us”, and it applies directly to the formation and outcomes of teams. In the past, it was much more about relying on individuals to solve problems and improve performance. Teams, if they were built at all, were formed around the individual and were merely extensions of what that individual thought and wanted done. Today, teams are much more in vogue and whether self-managed or led, each person on the team contributes their opinion and ideas to the overall contribution. So how does Emotional Intelligence (EI) play a role today? Let’s look at the basic tenets of EI and see how these teachable skills can be utilized to build and sustain teams that work well together, produce consistently higher results and have continuous improvement always in their sights. The first three competencies are Personal and determine how we manage ourselves. They are: Self-Awareness – knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions. Self-Regulation – managing one’s internal states, impulses and resources. Motivation – Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals. The next two competencies are social and determine how we manage relationships. They are: Empathy – Awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns. Social Skills – Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others. Before you jump on the bandwagon and say this is nothing more than just age and maturity, do you know anyone that has plenty of experience and has made enough mistakes that personal change should have resulted and yet didn’t? I would say that organizations are filled with those that seem resistant to personal growth either through lack of education and training or lack of awareness. What’s amazing to me is how oblivious we seem to be about what impact that lack of growth has done to customer relations and satisfaction, organizational growth, and the bottom line for most organizations which is positive cash flow. Is EI training important for your leaders and teams? Resoundingly, the studies show that the answer is yes (Johnson & Johnson 1995, 1999, Yost & Tucker 2000, Grossman 2000). Without question, the leader of the team should be the most well versed in the competencies as they have the greatest impact on the performance, but again, the higher the level of competence in EI of the group correlates to better performance, ability to work through and overcome problems, results in growth in individuals and organizations, improves customer relations and loyalty, and ultimately ends in higher returns in many areas for the organization. So pay attention to your training, incorporate EI training into your curriculum and watch your teams flourish. As we at LIA say, excellence is a habit. It should be trained for regularly, pushed for daily, and should be what the culture at your organization welcomes. References: Parker, G.M. (1990) Team Players and Teamwork. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional Intelligence. New York: Barton Books Grossman, R.J. (2000) Emotions at Work. Health Forum Journal, (Sep/Oct), 18-22 Scarnati, J.T. (2001) On Becoming a Team Player. Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 7(1/2), 5-10

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