EI in groups


By Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

Although group Emotional Intelligence (EI) can help skilled teams reach their highest potential, it is far more complex than individual EI and therefore more difficult to cultivate. To build group EI, a team must be aware of and constructively regulate the emotions of:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.54.50 pm

*Individual team members. To understand the sources of individuals’ emotional behaviors, members can perform role-playing exercises and adopt the opinions and styles of others. To regulate individual emotional behavior, teams must learn how to constructively confront others.

*The whole group. Teams must use self-evaluation and feedback from others as norms that cultivate group self-awareness of their emotional states, strengths, and weaknesses. To regulate group-level emotion, teams must establish norms that create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem solving.

*Other key groups. Teams can cultivate awareness of the emotions of other key groups by having team members act as liaisons to important constituencies. To regulate the emotions of other key groups, it is necessary to develop cross-boundary relationships in which appreciation is shown.



By Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson

The successful execution of a major initiative requires a complex team comprised of many educated specialists from diverse backgrounds. However, while the complexity of a team may be beneficial to an initiative, it can also make collaboration extremely challenging. To maximize the effectiveness of large, complex teams, the following eight practices are recommended:

1. Invest in building and maintaining social relationship practices. Executives can build and maintain social relationships throughout their organizations with “signature practices,” or highly visible investments that demonstrate commitment to collaboration.

2. Model collaborative behavior. Executive teams must support a culture of collaboration by making their own collaborative efforts visible to the rest of their organizations.Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 01.28.49

3. Create a “gift culture.” A “gift culture” is one where employees view interactions with leaders and colleagues as valuable and generous. This can be cultivated if executives embed mentoring and coaching into their routine behavior and throughout their companies.

4. Ensure the requisite skills. Collaboration improves when HR departments teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts.

5. Support a strong sense of community. People are more likely to reach out to others and share knowledge when they feel a sense of community. HR can foster a community spirit by sponsoring events like networking groups or weekend gatherings.

6. Assign team leaders who are task- and relationship-oriented. The most successful team leaders are able to be task-oriented in the beginning stages of a project and shift to being relationship builders as conflict between members arises.

7. Build on heritage relationships. As people are reluctant to share knowledge with strangers, it is necessary to ensure team members know one another.

8. Ensure role clarity and task ambiguity. Cooperation increases when the roles of individual team members are clearly defined but the path to the achieving the team’s goal is left somewhat ambiguous. Task ambiguity promotes creative thinking and collaboration.



By Diane Coutu

Teams consistently underperform, despite the extra resources they have, because of problems with coordination, motivation, and competition. Team expert Professor J. Richard Hackman argues that while even the best leaders cannot guarantee that their teams will deliver results, they can increase the likelihood of their success by setting the following conditions:

*The team is “real.” Leaders must be ruthlessly clear about who is on the team and who is not. Sometimes this requires forcing ill-suited members off the team.

*The team has a compelling direction. Leaders must articulate a clear direction to ensure members do not pursue different agendas. Members must know and agree on the work they are collaborating on.

*The team has expert coaching. When it comes to group processes, teams need guidance from expert coaches who can:

*Run launch meetings to orient team members with the tasks at hand.

*Help teams conduct midpoint reviews to determine what is working and what is not.Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.55.15 am

*Regularly reflect on finished work to identify successes and shortcomings and how members can make the best use of their experiences the next time around.

*The team has a designated deviant. To avoid complacency, leaders must assign “deviants,” or naysayers who challenge their teams’ desire for homogeneity.

Leading with RESPECT

Teams of all types have the best chance to become SuperTeams when their leaders understand the critical importance of RESPECT. This includes the following elements:Screen Shot 2015-09-13 at 2.55.05 pm

*Recognition: Making sure that people are recognized individually and appropriately for their contributions.

*Empowerment: Giving team members the autonomy and decision-mak ing authority they need to get things done.

*Supportive feedback: Providing prompt, actionable feedback on a routine basis.

*Partnering: Acting as an ally and advocate for team members.

*Expectations: Ensuring that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and equitable.

*Consideration: Recognizing that team members are human and need understanding and thoughtfulness.

*Trust: Demonstrating confidence in team members by trusting them with important tasks.

Trust importance

Trust is the foundation for respect, and vice versa. On a SuperTeam, trust is a core characteristic that gives people the freedom they need to share information, work collaboratively, and provide critical feedback to other team members.

Trust enhances efficiency and effectiveness by reducing the need to communicate; people who trust each other to get a job done do not need to check in with each other, check up on one another’s’ work, or fear that anyone is pursuing a personal agenda. There are five important ways to build trust:

1. Overcommunicate. The more people communicate, the more they are trusted for their transparency.

2. Give trust. When people feel trusted, they are more likely to return that trust.

3. Ask for feedback. Asking others for feedback is a way of showing trust in and respect for their opinions.

4. Disclose. People who share personal information and get to know their teammates enhance others’ trust in them.

5. Be someone who can be counted on. Trusted members on a team are willing to help others when they need it.




Recognition is a very powerful tool. People who are recognized for their efforts on the job feel respected, validated, and secure. They are more likely to engage, work harder, and feel better about what they do. Conversely, when their productive behaviors go unrecognized, people are less likely to repeat those behaviors.

Recognition does not come naturally to most people. Team members and leaders need to make recognition a priority by using simple tools like writing thank you notes, sending e-mail “shout outs,” or taking deserving individuals out for coffee.


When employees are empowered, they can think, behave, and act autonomously. They are able to maximize their potential as team members and their opportunities to succeed, which leads them to take initiative and achieve more success. Unfortunately, there are many forms of resistance to empowering people, including:

*Team leaders who fear that giving autonomy and authority to others diminishes their own importance.

*Team leaders who lack knowledge of how to empower others.

*An unwillingness to spend money on training that is necessary to help people succeed.

On a SuperTeam, strategic development plans are created for every member. Team leaders determine when and what type of training is needed, and seek appropriate new challenges for everyone. Relatively inexpensive ways to enhance the empowerment process include:

*Offering cross-training so team members can support and cover for each other.

*Auditing the team’s skills in order to address talent needs.

*Establishing clear decision-making boundaries.

*Learning not just what the team is doing, but why things are done a certain way.

Supportive Feedback 

Supportive feedback involves sharing straightforward, constructive perceptions and advice to help people improve. It should be encouraging, specific, and actionable. On a SuperTeam, feedback is both given and received respectfully; the giver shows respect by caring about the recipient’s growth and development, while the recipient shows respect by being open to the feedback and appreciative of the giver’s effort. Moreover, SuperTeam members take the initiative to ask each other for feedback.pphoto

It is not easy to provide supportive feedback, but there are ten specific ways that SuperTeam members can improve how their feedback is structured and delivered:

1. Ask permission. When people give permission to a provider of feedback, they are less likely to react to the feedback defensively.

2. Pull the individual into a discussion of what went wrong. This approach is more effective than when a feedback provider simply pushes a point of view.

3. Focus on behaviors, not attitudes. When people improve their behaviors, their attitudes change as well.

4. Avoid judging or preaching. Assume the individual welcomes an opportunity to perform more successfully.

5. Show empathy. People who have experienced poor outcomes feel vulnerable and appreciate a feedback provider’s understanding.

6. Comment on what worked as well as what failed. This approach enhances the feedback recipient’s perception of fairness.

7. Take a TeamWe approach. Feedback to a team member should be given in the spirit of collaboration.

8. Seek to understand. Instead of making assumptions, the feedback provider should ask questions about what happened from the recipient’s point of view.

9. Speak from an “I” perspective. Feedback providers must recognize that theirs is a personal perspective, and that they should be open to the perspectives of others.

10. Be straight. Feedback should be delivered in a straightforward way, not watered down or obfuscated.


SuperTeams go beyond collaboration; they work together to partner in ongoing, committed relationships where each member has the others’ interests at heart. These partnerships may be short or long term, formed to accomplish specific tasks or to achieve visionary goals. They may include other teams both inside and outside of organizations.

Unfortunately, many partnerships fail to realize their true potential. Based on the authors’ research, failure can most effectively be avoided when teams pay attention to 12 key organizational and interpersonal factors:

1. Clear and compelling vision. The efforts of partners may be misaligned in the absence of a shared vision.

2. Core values. There should be partnership agreement on the principles that determine what is important to all members.

3. Culture. Culture is the underpinning of social mores and how things work in a partnership.

4. Clear roles and responsibilities. All members must clearly understand what they are counted on to do and what will be done by other members.

5. Complementary roles and synergy. Teams often include people with different but complementary skills and abilities. To function as partnerships, team members need clarity about what talents are needed and how to obtain them.

6. Cross-training. In powerful partnerships, people are trained to be able to support and cover for each other.

7. Competence. Partners take responsibility for helping others learn the skills they need or shift roles to take advantage of their strengths.

8. Clear performance goals and expectations. In a partnership, people’s performance can be clearly evaluated based on criteria that everyone knows.

9. Commitment. Partners are committed to the team for the long term and are willing to address any weakening of commitments that may occur.

10. Collaboration. Partners collaborate not only to accomplish specific tasks, but also to build relationships and support each other.

11. Character. Personal integrity of all members is an indispensable element in effective partnerships.

12. Communication. Partners must have open lines of communication at all times, especially when there are relationship problems.

RESPECT : key for team

Throughout human history, respect has been a cornerstone of functioning societies. Social order arose from people’s respect for their leaders and gods. Highly respected people were protected from harm and given access to superior food, shelter, and other resources.

Respect, or success in influencing others, is also a basis for power. Powerful individuals are skilled at getting others to listen to them and to act in accordance with their opinions and desires. However, if these people lose respect, they also lose their influence.

In the workplace, respect is the foundation of engagement; employees engage when they feel respected and disengage when they feel disrespected. On a SuperTeam, it is critical to foster respect on both interpersonal and technical levels, and members must see each other as trustworthy, kind, and supportive in order to get the job done. There are ten respectful workplace behaviors that individuals should aspire to:

  1. Being punctual to meetings and considerate of others’ time.
  2. Giving credit where it is due.
  3. Being supportive of others during meetings.
  4. Encouraging the contributions of others during meetings.
  5. Giving full attention to others when they speak.
  6. Asking people before putting them on e-mail lists.
  7. Asking team members about their personal lives.
  8. Asking team members for advice.
  9. Offering to help other team members.
  10. Inviting coworkers to lunch.

Conversely, there are also ten common behaviors that communicate disrespect:

  1. Gossiping.
  2. Being late.
  3. Accusing or placing blame on others.
  4. Berating others.
  5. Bragging.
  6. Being dictatorial.
  7. Being condescending.
  8. Withholding information or providing misleading information.
  9. Inappropriately copying others on e-mails.
  10. Dismissing others’ opinions.

The most extreme form of disrespect is bullying, a pattern of intimidating, threatening, and humiliating others that is estimated by the Workplace Bullying Institute to be experienced by 35 percent of workers. Unfortunately, bullies are often tolerated because they are viewed as valuable to their organizations. But for a SuperTeam to function effectively, it must hold bullies accountable for their actions. As soon as bullying behaviors occur, individuals must be confronted, spoken to, and stopped.

Superteam : engagement

A team is comprised of two or more people working together toward a common goal. A SuperTeam goes beyond the performance of ordinary teams to consistently deliver superior outcomes relative to customer expectations. Critically, SuperTeam members do not pursue personal goals or agendas; they are solely focused on achieving success as defined by their customers.

Engagement is a measure of employees’ commitment and how vigorously they apply their talents and energy to the job at hand. High engagement on a team means that members:

*Willingly exceed what is required.

*Are not derailed by challenges and problems.

*Are proactive.

*Hold themselves accountable for results.

*Work collaboratively and synergistically.relationalskills

SuperTeams need TeamWe players. These are people who are engaged not only with their own work, but also with the work of other members. They take responsibility for, provide constructive feedback to, and help one another. They avoid the behaviors of TeamMe players who are selfish, disloyal, and committed only to their own advancement. Some highly engaged people may be superstars, or standouts in terms of talents and efforts, but in order to contribute to SuperTeams they must be willing to focus their attention on the accomplishments of their teams, act as coaches or mentors, and serve as role models for less skilled team members.

Fundamentally, building teams is about building relationships. When team members barely know each other, it is hard for them to be engaged with others’ work. Conversely, personal connections–often created in simple, low-cost ways like holding team pizza parties–lead to the mutual commitment that characterizes SuperTeams.


Being an effective speaker is considered a key executive competency, but it is also something of a dying art. People are relying more and more on digital communication, and studies show that listeners’ attention spans are getting shorter. Still, speaking is a more effective mode of communication than writing because vocal intonations help clarify meaning that gets lost when a message is written, and people focus their attention on the speaker.

McGowan finds there is a communications gender gap in the corporate world. Women have to walk a fine line between being seen as too empathetic or nice and being seen as bossy or inflexible. Men, on the other hand, do not have to deal with the same kinds of stereotypes. Women tend to back into their messages because they like to establish support for an idea before actually explaining it. Men tend to be less empathetic, so are often not as effective at explaining how an idea might help others.

But not all communication issues are gender based. People can be poor communicators because they focus too much on irrelevant details, make the same point over and over, rely on clichés, or continually edit what they just said, a habit called verbal backspacing. To help speakers overcome any quirks that keep them from being good communicators, McGowan recommends seven principles of persuasion:

1. The headline principle: Speakers should grab their audiences’ attention at the start.

2. The Scorsese principle: Speakers should create imagery with words to hold listeners’ attention

3. The pasta-sauce principle: Speakers should boil down their messages to make them strong and concise.

4. The no-tailgating principle: Speakers should talk slowly while thinking about what to say next.

5. The conviction principle: Speakers can show certainty with their words, tone, and eye contact.

6. The curiosity principle: Good conversationalists are interested in other people and what they have to say.

7. The Draper principle: Speakers should keep the conversation focused on their areas of strength.

To learn these principles and put them into practice, people can focus on learning and using one principle at a time. Individuals can study speakers on television to see how they display various principles, and they can evaluate their own use of the principles by reviewing recordings or videos of themselves speaking.


While McGowan developed his seven principles of persuasion based on what makes a good television sound bite, many of the principles work in a wide variety of uncomfortable situations, including those encountered on the job. In all situations, speakers who combine fairness, honesty, and empathy are more likely to see good outcomes result from their comments.

When parting ways with a business associate, for instance, an individual should express that the decision should not be taken personally. The speaker should complement the other person on one of his or her strengths to lessen the blow, and allude to a future where both people do well going their separate ways. When reprimanding an employee whose work is not up to standard, an effective method is to ask sympathetic questions to find out why, and to act like a mentor giving advice rather than a boss giving an ultimatum.

Several of the principles come into play when individuals are attending a meeting. They should pay attention (the conviction principle), maintain a warm, engaged expression (the curiosity principle), and keep their comments brief and relevant (the pasta-sauce principle).

Job seekers facing the dreaded “tell me about yourself” question in an interview should focus on the headline and Scorsese principles. In answering the question, they should put forth the most important information first, and use stories filled with visual details to illustrate their strengths. When interviewers hear three to five memorable stories or examples from one job candidate, they are likely to remember the person.

People are often asked to give speeches or presentations at work, and being nervous about such public speaking is very common. To prepare, McGowan suggests writing an outline on note cards, then giving a practice speech without writing it out. Before transcribing a speech, it is helpful to record it (and then listen to it) so it will not sound too stilted.

To overcome jitters, a speaker should:

*Practice the beginning over and over in order to start strong and build confidence.

*Exercise on the morning of the speech to burn off nervous enerelationalskillsrgy.

*Arrive at the venue early to check it out and meet people.

*Take deep breaths at the lectern before starting the speech.

*Speak slowly.

*Use pauses, pitch changes, and different pacing to hold the audience’s attention.