Build Group Emotional Intelligence to Increase Team Effectiveness

EmotionalIntelligenceIt is a sad story: Mary was a friendly, experienced individual who accepted a six-month contract in an established business. During this period coworkers would help, but never without her reaching out first, and not once was she invited to join the group for lunch or other social activities. At the completion of the contract no one said goodbye. This is a group who definitely displayed low Group Emotional Intelligence (GEI)!

In another organization with higher GEI a team member struggled to achieve mandated results. Without being asked, coworkers reached out, encouraged and supported the individual to meet the requirements. A much happier result.

Where is your team?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of emotions, our own and those of others, and to manage both effectively. In the workplace, higher levels of emotional intelligence can result in stronger leadership, improved decision-making, creation of better relationships, and increased team efficiency.

It is powerful when GEI is developed in a team.

In their research, Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff describe the importance of GEI for the development of trust, identity, and efficacy.

Reference: Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff


Great working relationships cannot be developed without trust. Trust allows us to be open, honest, and vulnerable. It helps us to be willing to identify mistakes and weaknesses, ask for help, and share successes. In an atmosphere of trust transparency abounds, and communication is unfiltered, but positive. Conflicts are dealt within expeditiously. Commitments are kept and accountability is embraced. The achievement of results is the focus.


Members of the team believe they belong to a unique and worthwhile group. They feel connected and valued as individuals; and are proud to be associated with a workplace that cares.


Members believe that the team can perform well together and that they are more effective because of their association with one another. Individuals must first believe in their personal ability, and then they need to learn to believe in the abilities of other team members.

When Trust, Identity and Efficacy are in place the stage is set for Participation, Cooperation, and Collaboration to occur. This produces the energy to drive results forward.


People are attracted to teams that display high levels of GEI. This is especially important for leaders without a specific line of authority who are tasked with engaging individuals within an organization.


Cooperation entails working with another to accomplish what is asked. Although often short-term it requires mutual respect, transparency, and independence to effectively work on a goal.


Successful collaboration on a common goal or project is often a longer-term endeavour that also requires mutual trust, sharing of values, and developing interdependence. True collaboration can create new ideas.

GEI, whether high or low, exists in all workplaces. Effective leaders must be aware of the factors and implement strategies that increase GEI if they are to achieve improved results.


July 5, 2017

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