5 Benefits to Growing Your Team’s Emotional Effectiveness

In the post-pandemic hybrid world, people are craving reconnection. They are looking to rebuild trust in organizations that look and function differently than they did just a few years ago. Leaders of teams know they must foster new ways of connection among their teams. Growing your leadership team’s emotional intelligence is key to building a connection and managing the increasingly diverse needs of employees, while creating a healthy and engaged organization.

This quote now holds meaning for teams at work:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
   – Margaret Mead, Cultural anthropologist

For the thoughtful, committed teams I have worked with recently, I have observed them having a tremendous experience with each other when they focused on identifying their own level of emotional intelligence, and working to gain an understanding of their own trust-growth opportunities. Then they can leverage trust to have conversations that strengthen their commitment on the team.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how well we:

  • Perceive and express ourselves
  • Develop and maintain social relationships
  • Cope with challenges
  • Use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way (2012, Multi-Health Systems Inc.)

To learn more about emotional intelligence, and the importance of it to leaders, please see my previous article:  Emotional Intelligence: How Leaders Can Use it to Their Advantage

5 Benefits to Growing Your Team’s Emotional Effectiveness

In the Queen’s IRC custom “Building Team Trust with Emotional Intelligence” program, leadership teams learn about emotional intelligence, and they explore how that relates to different levels of trust from individual, team, and organizational perspectives.

Below are 5 benefits to teams experiencing this program together. They are highlighted with some of the emotional intelligences:

  1. Understanding Emotional Reactions and Triggers as a Team
    There is value in the group learning together about emotional intelligence when they realize that they aren’t alone in learning how to become more emotionally effective. For example, Emotional Self-Awareness is one of the emotional intelligences that the team benefits from talking about. If a team is able to understand emotional reactions and triggers, then they can benefit from sharpening this understanding. If there is any tension in the team, it could be because there are moments of unawareness of how emotions are impacting the group. The team could put these emotions to positive use instead of being derailed by them.
    “We are similar in our journeys, but sometimes you can feel alone at work.” – team member
  2. Leveraging Empathy
    Training all leaders together creates space for people to step out of their departmental box. All levels of leadership participate including supervisors, managers and the CEO. This program is a customized way to promote open communication and collaboration, which often results in them getting to know each other better. One of the best emotional intelligences to leverage is Empathy, where they get to spend time understanding and appreciating how each other feels. For teams that have a lower score for empathy, it may be beneficial to think about how to ensure group consensus is reached before carrying out a decision; this is especially helpful during times where individuals’ worries or concerns take over instead of gaining an understanding of how decisions can be made that would beneficial everyone. Trust is strengthened in the team as they use empathy as a regular tool to be gaining insights into each other’s perspectives.
    “I experienced growth as a collective and individually…  Helped me to not just think of me, but to think of the team.” – team member
  3. Using Reality Testing
    By experiencing the build of a Trust Fit Plan, the team co-creates solutions to using emotional intelligence to their collective advantage.  Reality Testing is one of the emotional intelligences used by teams who want to honestly rebuild and repair trust. Reality testing is about remaining objective and seeing things as they really are, versus seeing things the way you want to see them. (2012, Multi-Health Systems Inc.)   Teams that can view situations from an objective stay point do strengthen their decision-making ability; however, during stressful times, emotions can impact how realistic they are in approaching challenges. When teams focus on accurately assessing a situation and understanding why the reasons occurred, trust becomes a stronger characteristic of the team.
    “There are opportunities to rebuild together now.” – team member
  4. Building Confidence and Trust
    Team members say they have more confidence in the group after sharing and participating in the discussions. They express feeling ready to do the work that needs to be done by making trust a part of their regular conversations – in other words, this program helps teams to look forward. By doing this work together, it helps teams to identify how to be more emotionally effective with each other, which can result in them finding new ways to do the work. Optimism is an emotional intelligence that teams leverage in order to see the best in people, and it helps to remain hopeful about the future despite challenges and issues. Conflict can be a natural result of diversity, so teams that leverage diversity make better decisions and create more trustworthy workplaces.
    “So much wisdom in this group. Now, I would trust you all in a decision. Ready to embrace a new way of working with each other.” – team member
  5. Developing Interpersonal Trust
    One participant said that this opportunity to be vulnerable in the group during the program was key to her learning experience. During the program, there are many small group break out discussions where team members can openly explore how the organization facilitates trust with their stakeholders too – the program looks outside of the organization’s walls so that teams can see themselves as a collective group who are co-creating for their customers, clients and the public in general. The emotional intelligence at play here is interpersonal relationships which is about creating relationships based on mutual respect and trust. This takes time. This 2-day program fully dedicates the time to learn way more about each other than a normal work environment permits; this is one of the most common elements teams build into their Trust Fit Plans: time and space to stay connected.
    “Free of judgement to learn in this space that is fully dedicated to team trust”. – team member 

Building Team Trust with Emotional Intelligence

This two-day custom program is based on our open enrollment Building Trust program. While many parts of the open program are also included when running in-house training, running custom training for your internal leadership team provides the opportunity for building trust and learning together as a team. Some of the highlights of the program are:

  • Prior to the program, each team member completes a confidential self-assessment online survey.
  • During the program, we explore the different emotional intelligences and participants receive their Individual EI Leadership Self-Assessment report.
  • We share a Group Profile – this provides a lens through which to interpret emotional intelligence (EI) results in a team or group setting. (It combines scores of individual self-assessments which is helpful to learn how they contribute to the collective EI of the team.)
  • Participants diagnose their organization’s current state, and collaborate to design a “Trust Fitness Plan” for their team by using the emotional intelligences.

Phases of Strengthening Team Emotional Effectiveness

As teams work together to strengthen their emotional effectiveness, they will follow these phases:

  1. They learn the Concept of emotional intelligence.
  2. They start to Experiment with the concepts by imaging saying or doing something differently.
  3. After the program, they have an Experience by trying it out and actually saying or do something differently.
  4. They Reflect and think about what it was like having that experience: How did you feel? What did you notice in the other person? Impact? Outcome?
  5. Repeat the phases like a fitness rep. The phases of learning constantly repeat, just like our actions for healthy living, like taking a fitness class. We don’t check off the fitness box and say “well, I exercised, so I am done doing that forever.”  The analogy to fitness is the foundation of the Trust Fit Plan where the team EI repetitions are embedded into how they work together.

For more information on a custom “Building Team Trust with Emotional Intelligence” program, please contact cathy.sheldrick@queensu.ca or find more information on our website: Customized Training

About the Author

Linda Allen-Hardisty

 

 

 

 

Linda Allen-Hardisty is an organizational development professional (Queens IRC OD Certificate), an executive coach (ICF PCC professional designation), a team coach (EMCC Global Accreditation), and a Forbes Coaches Council contributing member. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in OD with a practical approach to addressing organizational challenges and opportunities. With a Masters of Education from the University of Regina, Linda’s uniqueness is that, prior to private practice, she fulfilled corporate leadership roles including the Director of Organizational Development in a company listed on the Hewitt Top 50 Employers in Canada and became the first Manager of Strategy and Performance for a municipal government undertaking cultural transformation. Over her 20-year OD career, she has helped many leaders – from corporate executives to entrepreneurs – improve their personal and professional success. She is a sought-after facilitator and advisor for executive development, strategy and change, team effectiveness, and emotional intelligence.

Linda is the lead facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Building Trust program, which runs in cities across Canada and virtually. She facilitates custom programs with a wide variety of organizations, including union groups, government organizations and private companies.

Dementia Care Innovation in the Region of Peel

The first article in this series focuses on the Region of Peel’s bold decision to pilot and implement a ground breaking approach for dealing with people living with dementia. This model of care has proven effective at dramatically enhancing residents’ quality of life and wellbeing, their family’s satisfaction and involvement, as well as employee engagement, fulfillment and retention, all while reducing the number of incidents, and creating more positive relationships all around.

Key information for this piece comes from an interview with Mary Connell, Project Manager for the Butterfly Initiative Implementation at the Region of Peel.

In the series, we will look at the methodology used by these innovative organizations leveraging the 4D Process – Define, Discover, Design and Do, created by IRC’s Brenda Barker Scott. But first, a look at why today’s organizations are transforming service delivery, and the increasing role that Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) play in design and implementation.

Download PDF: Dementia Care Innovation in the Region of Peel

Emotional Intelligence: How Leaders Can Use it to Their Advantage

Ever catch yourself thinking, “Why did I just say that?” or “I didn’t handle that discussion as well as I could have.”

We are all human and can make poor decisions in the heat of the moment. Afterwards, we are often left wondering how managing our emotions could have made a difference in the situation. But for leaders, reacting emotionally can have a negative impact that ripples through the organization. We can all become more effective by understanding emotional intelligence and learning how to strengthen our own emotional intelligence. This skill is particularly important for those in managerial and leadership roles.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is also referred to as EI or emotional quotient (EQ). EI is a set of emotional and social skills that collectively establish how well we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way. (2012, Multi-Health Systems Inc.) EI is not the same as IQ, cognitive ability, aptitude, or personality.

More and more we are witnessing how emotional intelligence truly defines successful leaders, rather than their technical skills or IQ. Think about how often leaders need to use their EI at the organizational, team, and individual levels. Consider these examples:

  • Leaders of international brands who make public apologies for mistakes and how they got right out in front of the issue to admit their shortcomings;
  • Boards of Directors and teams who have had to lead their groups through challenging situations where the ambiguity and tension runs high;
  • Managers and leaders who have what it really takes to listen to someone, while managing their impulse control so that trust can be built.

In such situations, it is the emotional strength of leaders that can make – or break – the difference. The good news is that EI can be developed. Leaders can change their emotional intelligence to become more effective personally, professionally and socially.

Strengthening Your EI

Many leaders have grown in their emotional intelligence because they have made a purposeful effort to accomplish that growth.  A typical path is to participate in an EI leadership assessment, debrief the results with a certified EI practitioner, and then make an action plan to develop specific skills or behaviors.

While there are many emotional intelligence models and tests available, one of the most researched and statistically validated models is EQ-I 2.0 (from Multi-Health Systems Inc.). Let’s take a brief look at the five scales of EI followed by examples of EI in action:

  1. Self-Perception refers to the “inner-self” and is designed to assess feelings of inner strength and confidence, persistence in the pursuit of personally relevant and meaningful goals while understanding what, when, why and how different emotions impact thoughts and actions (The emotional intelligences associated with this are: Self-regard, Self-actualization, Emotional Self-Awareness);
  2. Self-Expression is an extension of Self-Perception and addresses the outward expression or the action component of one’s internal perception. Self-expression assesses one’s readiness to be self-directed and openly expressive of thoughts and feelings, while communicating these feelings in a constructive and socially acceptable way (The emotional intelligences associated with this are: Emotional Expression, Assertiveness, Independence);
  3. Interpersonal refers to the ability to develop and maintain relationships based on trust and compassion, articulate an understanding of another’s perspective and act responsibly while showing concern for others, their team or their greater community/organization (The emotional intelligences associated with this are: Interpersonal Relationships, Empathy, Social Responsibility);
  4. Decision Making refers to the way in which one uses emotional information and how well one understands the impact emotions have on decision making, including the ability to resist or delay impulses and remain objective so to avoid rash behaviors and ineffective problem solving (The emotional intelligences associated with this are: Problem Solving, Reality Testing, Impulse Control);
  5. Stress Management refers to how well one can cope with the emotions associated with change and unfamiliar and unpredictable circumstances while remaining hopeful about the future and resilient in the face of setback and obstacles (The emotional intelligences associated with this are: Flexibility, Stress Tolerance, Optimism).

EI in Action – How Raising EI Self-awareness Helps Leaders

Here are a few examples of how business leaders raised their self-awareness with an EI leadership assessment and, as a result, are improving in their leadership effectiveness:

  1. “Greta” caught herself immediately saying no to a new business line that her business partners suggested. Upon reflection, she realized that she often said no to new things, because new ideas challenge her and change her routine. Because her impulse control was low, she would react quickly and appear impatient in decision making. Now with her new awareness of low impulse control, she can better manage her emotional response to new business ideas that come forward from her business partners.  Rather than immediately declining the ideas, she listens and asks questions before offering her opinion.
  1. Working with a team of leaders in Canada, I observed the team having some candid conversations with each other regarding their Group EI Team Profile.  The team’s EI strengths in empathy and social responsibility are two reasons why they are so effective in delivering on their mission; however their collective EI weakness (decision-making when emotions are involved) interfered with their effectiveness and purpose as a team. It was very useful for them to see their top EI strengths and top EI weaknesses as a group, and to talk about how difficult it can be to approach emotionally charged situations with a more logical and factual mindset. Their collective willingness to explore the group EI and to take action is why this team increased their effectiveness.
  1. “Dillon”, a business leader I was coaching, has a high level of assertiveness and self-actualization, and is open to thinking about how he uses emotional information to make decisions. He said, “I like how you don’t solve my problems for me. You ask tough questions without giving me your opinion.” Even without participating in an EI assessment, leaders can raise their awareness of how they use their emotions in decision-making through the process of working with a business coach.

The “inner” work of improving your emotional intelligence isn’t for the faint of heart.  Choosing to improve your EI is about changing one’s behavior – and changing behavior is hard work. It takes time, energy and a commitment to becoming more emotionally effective overall. The EQ-I 2.0 leadership assessment, for example, compares a leader’s result with the scores of the top leaders in the sample across North America. This provides leaders with the unique opportunity to compare results to those exceptional leaders who demonstrate high EI.  If one wants to be on par with top leaders, then this can be one way to do that by giving them something to aim for and compare to; however, it can also be a humbling and surprising experience for leaders who may have expected to already be on par with the high performers – yet, taking time to self-reflect on the results proves to be invaluable to leaders. Many leaders would say that focusing on becoming more emotionally effective is one of the most rewarding journeys.

When was the last time you reflected on how emotionally effective you are?

 

About the Author

Linda Allen-Hardisty

Linda Allen-Hardisty is an ICF-certified executive coach, organizational development professional, and a chair at The Executive Committee (TEC) Canada. She’s built a reputation as a vibrant, contemporary voice in the business world by blending her grounding in organizational effectiveness with a practical approach to solving problems. She has extensive experience in executive development, organizational change and culture, team effectiveness, organizational design and strategy, and emotional intelligence (certified practitioner EQ-I 2.0 and EQ360). With a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Regina and a certificate in Organizational Development from Queen’s IRC, Linda’s corporate leadership experience includes the role of Director of Organizational Development in a company listed on the Hewitt Top 50 Employers in Canada, and becoming the first Manager of Strategy and Performance for a municipal government undertaking cultural transformation.

Linda is a facilitator for the Queen’s IRC Building Trust in the Workplace program.

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