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How to Create an Emotionally Intelligent Elite Team

A lot of the time we concentrate on the emotional intelligence of the individual leader of a team, but what about the rest of the group and their dynamics as a collective unit? Because emotional intelligence is a skill that individuals require, this skill needs to be strong in the team members, and then the whole team is naturally more emotionally intelligent. There are ways in which we can increase and foster emotional intelligence as part of group dynamics. 

“We define emotional intelligence as the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions.” – Salovey And Mayer.

6 Aspects to Create an Emotionally Intelligent Team

There are various emotional challenges in a variety of work team setups, which begs the question, how do we work with group emotions and how do we regulate these emotions to get the team to perform at an optimal level. So, if self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness is part of having a high EQ, we need a set of standards to establish a diverse team that can overcome conflicts and miscommunication through understanding each other’s emotions. 

1.     Foster Psychological Safety within the group. 

  • When you work with individual team members, make sure you establish open communication in the group. Do this through promoting active listening and positive conversations among members.
  • Make sure you do regular check-ins with the group to determine each individual team members’ emotional state before starting a meeting or tackling new projects. Make this an ongoing thing. 
  • Encourage members to see a situation out of the other person’s perspective. Let the team practice compassion and empathy while communicating. 
  • Curb the urge to jump to conclusions. Acknowledge mistakes and try to create opportunities to learn. Rather refrain from personally attacking each other to giving the group members the benefit of doubt. 
  • Include each other in various group activities. Involved team members feel emotionally wanted as part of a work family. 

2.     Nurture Respect among team members.

  • Promote respect among all the members by cultivating politeness and owning up to mistakes.
  • Stimulate and encourage authenticity.
  • Adopt a mindset of helping one another and always have an open channel of communication. 
  • Make decisions together. When team members feel like their opinion matters and that they are part of the decision-making process, mutual respect can be harnessed. 

3.     Get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • When the group members know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, the team can ask for help, or give help to the others where needed. 
  • This helps to get to know each other as part of this diverse team. It is the ideal way to learn from each other and to use diversity as an advantage to enhance creativity and innovation. When we can understand and learn from one another, true group cohesion can be achieved. 
  • Encourage socialising among team members. If they work and “play” together, they will know one another better, communicate better and therefore be more in touch with one another’s emotions. 

4.     Team members should motivate one another.

  • highly motivated team is a positive and happy team and therefore they work well together.
  • Team members need to feel a sense of purpose to motivate each other to perform.
  • They need to share the commitment and take ownership of projects together to become socially aware of one another’s drive to get the team to succeed.  
  • Promote positive self-talk and focus on positive and constructive feedback. Build each other’s confidence. Don’t break down or criticize individuals. 

5.     Support change and adaptability.

  • Have a flexible and adaptable work environment. This will not only help with teaching adaptability to your team members, but also increase team motivation and productivity.
  • Encourage change among your team, even if it is small like changing venues for meetings every week. 
  • Get the team members to form a support system for one another so that when changes occur, there are people who understand what they go through and who can be there to help them cope. 

6.     Learn to deal with conflict and stress as a group.

  • Accept that not everyone will like one another. People have different personalities, come from different backgrounds etc.  
  • The important thing is to sort out conflict quickly and to come up with creative ideas to stress less.
  • People want to be heard. Therefore, it is important to detect problems or conflict early, and then to curb it before it explodes by using effective open communication and active listening.
  • Team members should be dealt with respect, fairly and consistently. 

Daniel Goleman said: “There is an old-fashioned word for the body of skills that emotional intelligence represents: character.” And that is precisely what should be harnessed within a team – character. If team members are allowed to have a voice, feel like they belong, feel like they are valued and appreciated, and are respected, they too seem to mimic that behaviour in the team. Yes, you get the bad apples who are negative, close-up quickly and who might bring the entire work morale and culture of the team to a halt. But when you foster strong emotional intelligence within teams, those bad apples tend to either come around or work themselves out. 

EQ, more than IQ, determines professional and personal growth and success. EQ can be developed to increase your skills in being organised, effective, focused and positively motivated. If you battle establishing emotionally intelligent teams, consider training for your team in this very critical skillset. This training course, offered by The Mindspa Institute, looks at how the fundamentals of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) will improve inter-personal relationships, communication skills and increase professional and personal success.