No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Teams benefit from emotional engagement


Jim Welch, programme director at Pera explains how emotional intelligence contributes to team effectiveness.

How can organisations meet the challenge of getting people to work together more openly and honestly? Is emotional intelligence the answer?

Research suggests that it is. A study by Yale University, for example, found that teams with high levels of emotional intelligence outperformed teams with low levels by a margin of two to one.

Now you may think that if you put a group of emotionally intelligent individuals together you instantly create an emotional intelligence team, but this isn't so. The social skills that the team needs to develop are as follows:

1. Inclusiveness. This is about developing in team members the sensitivity and perspective that creates dynamic harmony and allows all team members to express their talent. When the team has this competency people will be able to share their successes, will genuinely want to support one another and will work collaboratively, not competitively.

2. Adaptability. This is a personal competency applied in a team context. If you have rigid beliefs then these will adversely impact the way you listen to, and respond to, your colleagues. Ei requires people to enquire into their personal development in order that they stay open to new opportunities and manage change positively.

3. Assertiveness. Assertiveness is a direct complement to adaptability. It is about being able to set and maintain boundaries, about engaging in direct and honest communication and about knowing what one stands for, individually and as a team. It is about being respectful and clear in all interactions.

4. Empathy. Within a team setting this is about attending to people's emotional cues. Empathy is not about getting into somebody's hole with them; rather it is about developing that capacity to step into someone else's shoes, see what their experience is like and so build genuine understanding.

5. Influence. Here we are talking about individual team members behaving in ways that enhance relationships both inside and outside the team. Strong relationships are critical when the team has to face new challenges and developed emotional intelligence underpins the trust, support and understanding that the team will need when managing change.

Now these five competencies do not evolve randomly or arbitrarily, there are other aspects to the application of these social skills.

Each team member should commit to continuously increasing his or her self-understanding. Ei teams must also prioritise the giving and receiving of feedback as a way of developing their social performance. And team members must also understand how to adapt their emotional intelligence to every person and situation.

As for training teams, individuals must first develop an awareness of what they are feeling and how they typically react. People usually underestimate how well they manage their feelings and often have strong beliefs around how and where emotions should be expressed. The truth is, however, that emotionally intelligent teams courageously bring feelings into the open so that the team itself can see how performance is being affected.

Moreover when feelings are aired they often contribute something extremely valuable. They are expressions of people's intuition and provide access to awareness and knowledge that might be extremely pertinent. In this respect the team must feel safe to be able to explore, embrace and ultimately rely on emotions in work.

In essence the benefit of training teams in emotional intelligence is that you help people to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of asking 'what is happening?' the team is always ready to enquire into 'what we can do to make it happen'.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!