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Business team effectiveness

Organisations succeed by using teams effectively to achieve their corporate goals, missions and visions.

Emotional Intelligence with Moven Dube

Teams are more than the sum of the individual parts. The glue which holds teams together is supplied by emotional intelligence (EQ) to a greater extent.

Teams can be upbeat, downbeat, optimistic, pessimistic, motivated, demotivated, alienated or involved. All of these dimensions describe emotional realities. Our emotions are more powerful than our intellect.

A team can have everything going for it, high powered staff, the brightest people, all resources, a clear articulated vision and mission, but can still fail as a result of lack of team emotional intelligence. The success of a team does not depend on the individual team member’s EQ, but on the team’s EQ.

Because of the furious pace of change in business today, difficult to manage relationships between (a) team members or teams and (b) leaders and team members, sabotage business more  than anything else.

The way team members relate to each other is vital to success.  It is not business strategy that gets a company into trouble — it is contagious emotions.

All emotions are contagious.

Well-developed EQ can help team members immensely in carrying out their responsibilities better.

Team EQ increases resonance among team members, which in turn increases cohesiveness, teamwork, performance, utilisation of time, motivation, customer satisfaction, innovation and trust.

It reduces conflict among team members, eliminates unproductive politics and promotes effective communication.

An emotionally competent team performs better under pressure. Highly emotionally intelligent teams not only adapt well to change, but are able to effectively direct change.

Research carried out by Vannesa Ucrh Druskat and Steven B revealed that there are three conditions essential for team effectiveness: trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy.

If these three conditions are not met, going through the motions of co-operating and participating is still possible, but the team will be less effective, because members will choose to engage partially.

To maximise on effectiveness, the team needs to create emotionally intelligent norms — the attitudes and behaviours that eventually become habits — that support behaviours for building trust, group identity, and group efficacy.

This will create completely-engaged team members with a united purpose.

The members of high-performance teams are able to accomplish all they do in the most efficient amount of time because they have each defined and embraced the team’s norms and purpose for themselves in their own terms.

In order to create and promote a team that is upbeat, optimistic, motivated, alienated or involved and progressive, team members must leverage on a combination of technical knowledge and well-developed emotional intelligence in the following domains of EQ: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and social skills.

The model was later simplified to four domains.


Self-awareness is ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives as well as their effect on others. The ability to be critical about thoughts and make changes to behaviour can lead to an in-depth understanding about one’s self, which leads to a better understanding of others.

Lanser (2000) places a strong emphasis on the importance of self-awareness in guiding and perfecting job performance, including interactions with colleagues and in the establishment of positive and productive leadership and teamwork skills.

Team members need to be aware of their feelings as they may allow uncontrolled emotions to impact on the dynamics and culture of the team. Cherniss (1998) emphasises that effective team members are self-confident, which is reflective of their own emotional self-awareness, and have ability to control their emotions.

Effective team members promote psychological health, including a happy disposition.

self regulation
Self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods — the propensity to suspend judgment — thus is to think before acting. Controlling emotions and understanding the impact of emotions on the team is vital.

Being self-aware of emotions is the foundation for building self-management. Self-awareness of emotions enables team members to then practise self-regulation, which is the ability to use emotions to facilitate the progress of the task.

Being able to regulate — especially during conflict — emotions, pressure, stress and deadlines facilitates the smooth progress of the project and promotes positive, effective working relationships with other team members and clients. Goleman (1998b) explains that handling emotions and putting the task first rather than emotions aids in the attainment of the required goal.

Positive motivation is crucial to achievement. Being able to motivate fellow team members into contributing their best is very powerful.

Workers are discretionary in their application to a project – they will only give if they feel they are being supported, nurtured and inspired.

Successful teamwork requires intrinsic motivation, persistence and vision. Team members are not only responsible for their own motivation but also play a key role in motivating the team and colleagues.

Goleman (1998b) and Lanser (2000) propose that motivation is an essential element of emotional intelligence that pushes us forward through the positive and negative aspects of working life by showing initiative, perseverance and dedication, as well as being goal-orientated, focused and proactive.

You can never understand someone unless you understand their point-of-view, climb in that person’s skin or stand and walk in that person’s shoes.

Empathy is understanding and interpreting colleagues’ feelings and being able to identify with their feelings on issues through understanding their perspective and cultivating rapport with people from different “walks of life”.

Empathic team members have an awareness of the diversity of personalities and accept  the diversity of people and the impact culture can have on interactions within a team environment.

We shall discuss the last domain of EQ, that of social skills, in our next instalment.

Dube is the founder and managing consultant of Strategic Learning and Growth Private Business Corporation Zimbabwe. He is a trainer, coach and course developer on EQ at all levels.

E-mail: movenddd@gmail.com

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