Want to Improve Team Effectiveness: Learn about Team Emotional Intelligence

Daily Quote: “Emotional Intelligence has had a real impact on individual growth and performance but the only problem is that so far emotional intelligence has not focused its research on team competency or effectiveness. The reality is that most work in organizations is done by teams. And if managers have one pressing need today, it’s to find ways to make teams work better”. Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

“EXCELLENT” Meetings. Meetings are what bosses “do.” Meetings are de facto Leadership Opportunity #1. Act accordingly.  Dr. Tom Peters

How to make meetings more satisfying, productive and work more effectively? “Begin with the end in mind” or the vision thing. By setting a vision of what the team wants to accomplish and what a successful meeting looks like the changes of increasing engagement and having more satisfying outcomes increase dramatically .

We generally ignore priority setting or vision thinking in most meetings. For some reason there is pressure to get down to work quickly. This thinking goes like this “we can’t waste time on all this petty stuff we have important things to do”. So what happens is that most team leaders and members avoid or ignore answering these important questions: What is the most important thing to work on and accomplish while we are together this morning? Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve? Where are we trying to get to?’ What does success look like? How do we handle side issues that might come up? How do we get everyone involved, engaged and committed to what’s important to discuss and decide on today? What the leader and team fail to understand is how important it is to answer these questions not just to motivate thinking and members engagement but to guide how to use our valuable time together. Both “structure and processes” are key elements for increasing energy and productivity in meetings.  So my advice to those who are bored or frustrated by meetings is to –STOP, CLARIFY and GET AGREEMENT on what is important to focus on today.

Another important idea is presented by Druskat and Wolff in their Harvard Business Review’s article that the real source of a great team’s success lies in the fundamental understanding of group emotional intelligence. This understanding allows effective task processes to emerge like setting decision-making and communication norms and that cause members to commit to the shared established by the team. Their research says there are three conditions are essential to a group’s effectiveness: trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy.”

Planning and detail thinking are both about “how” to implement your vision, with planning being more at the 30,000 level and big picture thinking, and detail discussions are more ground level dealing with specific actions and commitments.   “This kind of ‘how’ to execute or work together is very difficult if you don’t have a  clear why these activities are a priority and important to the individuals, team and organizational imperatives.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learning how to conduct effective meetings can’t be learned over night. To break the habits of poor meetings will take experimentation and practice. In the beginning instituting new group maintenance procedures or processes will feel unnatural or uncomfortable. So as a team leader it is important from a learning and mental stand point to stick with changes long enough to see if they can make a difference in your team’s productivity. Remember that ” A team can have everything going for it the brightest and most qualified people, access to resources–a clear mission and still fail because it lacks group emotional intelligence and understanding of group dynamics”.

So over the next month your challenge as team leader is to explore ways to improve your meetings through feedback and speaking-up. Start first by reaching out to team members on two questions:

1. How do they feel about the effectiveness of our present meetings.

2. Ask for suggestions on what needs to change in order to make them more productive?


Thought Stream: On the Meaning of Leadership

“The truth depends upon a walk around the lake.” Wallace Stevens.

Let’s take a walk together and reflect on what leadership means.

I spent the last few hours pondering and responding to this incomplete sentence.

Leadership is…

On this post you will find my list of 25 leadership statements. Let’s see if you can add a few more insights on the meaning of leadership and then as an individual or team begin to change the climate of leadership in your organization.


1. Never completed or finished—it is life long.

2. Leadership is being RESPECTFUL AND CURIOUS about others ideas and suggestions

3. Leadership is squaring action with rhetoric.

4. Leadership is measured by results not just intentions.

5. Leadership depends on integrity, trust and authenticity.

6. Leadership is making mistakes; then understanding the lesson.

7. Leadership is never giving up on your vision for the future.

8. Leadership is appreciating the power of passion and people.

10, Leadership is trusting others abilities to do the job.

11. Leadership involves being present in the moment not day dreaming.

12. Leadership is all about knowing that the more you understand; the more you have to learn.

13. Learning is a deliberate intention to be both efficient (doing things right) and effective (doing the RIGHT THINGS) to creste a better future.

14. Leadership is tapping the potential and passion of  change and renewal.

15 Leadership is creating the climate of respect and making others feel important so that we continue to move forward.

16. Leadership is creating credibility through following up and executing against plans.

18. Leadership is all about flexible and open thinking.

19. Leadership is absorbing data turning it into information and then into usable knowledge.

20. Leadership is taking calculated risks to change and make a difference in people’s lives.

20. Leadership is experimenting and using trail and error; then remembering what was right and what was wrong.

21. Learning is listening to a preacher or teacher and taking home one or two useful ideas.

22. Leadership is long-term planning excuted day in and day out.

23. Leadership is showing up and being present.

24. Leadership is caring enough to challenge irrational ideas and selfish behavior.

25. Leadership is being a servant to others by following the creed of being “Men for others.”

Add your ideas about leadership; at least it will take your mind off of the economy.

How to build on these ideas of leadership?

  1. Add at least one  of your own ideas of leadership
  2. Make a list of five that ring true for you.
  3. Turn each idea  into a question, beginning with the words “How can I show more caring for others as a leader?
  4. Brainstorm each question – alone and with your team.
  5. Then, Get started on doing  something about one of these leadership ideas  within the next  week