Mastering Team Performance

……by Building an Emotionally Intelligent Team Culture  by Drs Geetu Bharwaney and Steven B. Wolff, Ei World

Many people understand the importance of individual emotional intelligence (EI) and have put time and effort into understanding how people tick. Most of us work in teams where differing emotions and behaviours can cause friction, frustration and a lack of productivity.

For a team to thrive and blossom, it can be helpful if each individual understands their own and their colleagues’ emotions and demonstrates a degree of individual EI. What is generally not understood is that this is not enough.

Understanding and developing Team EI is a unique and powerful asset that can drive success and increase productivity.

So what is Team Emotional Intelligence?

Team EI, essentially, is the team’s ability to create a culture that shapes the emotional experience of its members, using emotion to give clues to the needs of the team, and creating an environment where team members can effectively use their personal skills, especially their individual EI. Team EI is distinct from individual EI, which focuses purely on the emotions and actions of each individual. Team EI is a team-level construct that focuses on the ability of the team to create a culture that allows emotions in the team to be processed effectively.

Leaders who understand how to build Team EI are able to create an environment where emotions are used as a resource for the team. Emotions provide information about the team and they contain information about team members and their ability to engage in the team’s task. Effective leaders understand this.

Understanding and using Team EI creates an environment where interpersonal tensions are greatly reduced but where the team, when necessary, has the resources and tools to address difficult conversations quickly and effectively. Thus, collaboration and communication among team members naturally increases; difficult behaviours are minimised as the culture naturally dissipates the emotional energy that creates them; trust and safety grow; and fear is reduced. All of this leads to improved performance, greater strategic focus and organisational alignment, improved ability to change and adapt, and the feeling of being less overwhelmed. 

So how does this happen?

Developing TEAM EI if you are a business leader

No matter how well honed your grasp of emotions in your private life, a command of Team EI in a business setting is a whole different skill set.

As hard as this may be to believe, our research shows the ability to create an emotionally intelligent culture matters much more to the performance of the team than the individual EI of its members, or anything else for that matter. It is the most highly correlated factor with team performance.

Developing a Team’s EI requires a firm understanding of the norms and tools that create an environment where emotions are used to enhance the team’s ability and improve performance rather than drag the team down; and where the environment builds people’s skills, enhances and facilitates the use of individual skills rather than suppresses them, and encourages emotionally intelligent behaviour and the intelligent use of emotion.

The good news is that this is easy to implement once you know how

At EI World we are experts in supporting and helping business leaders gain awareness of how to build an emotionally intelligent culture and empower their teams to create effective environments in which emotions are tools, not obstacles.

We run regular webinar accreditation programmes globally for executives, HR professionals, team leaders and even professional development coaches to help them develop a strong grasp of Team EI.

Book your place at our accreditation programmes in January or March, and gain Team EI skills which you can immediately put into practice, and see your teams thrive in 2017. To book or get more information about what we can do for you and your organisation, click here: or contact us on +44(0)2035070270 or via email at

Share this: