Leading Emotionally Intelligent Teams

motivation clipThe world has changed. Once we thought that an MBA and wireless technology would secure the future. It won’t. Reams of data and our work at Collaborative Growth all point to the need to work together in teams and that the strategy for sustained team success is emotional and social intelligence, or ESI, at the team level. The most influential individual in this dynamic is the team leader – and it can be a daunting job at times. That challenge is enhanced by good data, such as from the Team Emotional Social Intelligence® Survey (TESI®) for a 360 report by team members on the team functioning, an individual report on emotional intelligence skills from the EQ-I 2.0® or EQ 360® and on leadership performance from the LPI®. These 3 assessments bring a powerful level of data together to support strategic leadership by the team leader. Pre – post measurement of success also will support good data and focused leadership.

Leaders need to learn strategies for building their effectiveness in expanding the emotional and social intelligence of their teams. Discovering how to measure and strategically develop a team’s skills enhances success and sustainability. A leader’s greatest challenges in building ESI are to:

  1. Develop him or herself personally and as a leader – be honest, hold oneself accountable
  2. Learn to coach team members individually
  3. Vision the team as a whole unit and lead / coach the whole team

Let’s consider each of these.

First, individual coaching supported by EQ 360 and LPI reports will give the leader and his or her coach the opportunity to be sure strengths are recognized and used and that weaknesses are addressed. Emotional and social intelligence is built on recognition of core skills that lead to success in meeting the environmental challenges that face a leader in every part of life. The key term is skills as these can be developed. If an area is important and the leader isn’t good at the skill, he or she can enhance that skill if they truly want to. Making sustainable behavioral change takes time, attention and commitment. The pay-off is rich and a coach and good assessment data will be valuable support along the way.

Second, coaching individual team members can be a real stretch. By taking on the responsibility to be a team leader, the leader’s challenge grew significantly from just working personally to coaching members of the team individually to support their best engagement and development opportunities. Many leaders come from fields such as engineering or sales that haven’t included training in human development. If a leader is challenged with self-regard or optimism or empathy, for example, how can he or she effectively coach the team members in developing their own skills? The answer is that the leader must engage in building his or her own capacities and also seek training and coaching or mentoring on how to support staff development. Their well-being and the organization’s productivity are directly linked to the leader’s guidance. The leader should keep focusing on learning to pass on skills he or she develops. Expanding communication skills will help the leader listen effectively and notice what is truly being requested. Consciously building his or her own skills will help the leader understand specific strategies to pass on. This is a continuous learning opportunity. If treated as a central way to enrich life for the leader and the staff, it can be fun and one of the best motivational strategies possible.

Third, have your team gain from solid date on their performance. Have the team take the TESI then work with them beginning with visioning the team as a whole unit and leading / coaching the whole team to a unified sense of purposeful engagement. This means the leader needs to view the team in two ways – paying attention to the individual and to the team as a whole. By working with TESI® information, everyone gains a sense of what’s working and what needs to be strengthened. When the team as a whole experiences that the leader is seeing the team as a discrete operating system – and one that he or she can be proud of – the team will rise to the occasion. This visioning is a powerful invitation to develop a cohesive unit that operates with what we call Collaborative Intelligence™.

Building Skills with the TESI, EQ-i or EQ 360 and LPI

The scales of the three instruments we’ve discussed, the TESI, EQi and LPI, all complement one another. We see them fitting together as demonstrated by this table.

TESI® EQ-i® or EQ 360® LPI®
Identity Self-regardIndependenceInterpersonal relationships Model the way
Motivation OptimismAssertivenessSelf-actualization Inspire a shared vision
Emotional Awareness Emotional self-awarenessEmpathyAssertiveness Enable others to act
Communication EmpathySelf-regardEmotional self-awareness Model the way
Stress Tolerance Stress toleranceImpulse controlSelf-actualization Challenge the process
Conflict Resolution EmpathyImpulse controlSelf-actualization Challenge the process
Positive Mood HappinessOptimism Encourage the heart
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