HOW TO LEAD TEAMS: The Relationship Between Team Skills and Human Development

pie_wedge_pushThe Emotionally Intelligent Team model proceeds from the archetypal process of human work itself. The seven scales measured by the TESI® (Team Emotional and Social Intelligence® Survey) are core skills for teams as they reflect specific needs that have arisen over the course of human evolution.

1.  Stress Happens — we arrived as infants desperately needing a breath of fresh air, then warmth, then food, and the whole range of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Everything that interrupts the satisfaction of these needs is experienced as some degree of stress, and yet a certain amount of stress is necessary to keep us from sinking into complacency. Developing the awareness and focus necessary to successfully meeting these needs gives us our concrete task orientation skills. Successful teams need the resilience that comes from Stress Tolerance skills.

2.  Life is hard, but we are naturally motivated to relieve instinctual drive states in order to improve our life conditions. Successful team leaders help their staff connect with and utilize this natural motivation rather than employing the command and control strategies that disrespect the individuality that gives rise to motivation. A major component of successfully modeling this understanding lies in the leader being able to distinguish between what the team members move towards, what they move away from, and what we move against. Building Motivation, for example, calls for the leader to move the team towards the reward of being acknowledged for a job well done. The leader realizes they will move away from embracing a new task if the necessary resources aren’t provided and that the team will become oppositional if they see team members being treated disrespectfully by the team leader.

3.  Because it is too hard to hunt effectively alone, we learn to Communicate in order to coordinate and maximize group efforts. We learn to develop our trust and relationship skills from the model communicators we encounter in our early world. the key lies in how well we send and receive meaningful signals from one another.

4.  Communicating effectively is a difficult process in itself, and there are many opportunities for misunderstanding which give rise to conflict. Then our challenge becomes a matter of how we get people to change: from no to yes; from “I” matter to “we” matter, from “I want to be right” to “I want to be happy.” These are core skills for Conflict Resolution.

5.  In order to resolve conflicts we need to be sensitive to what others desire and value and expect for their efforts as well as how they actually achieve those goals. This is where the team tunes in with Emotional Awareness.  To really be able to hear and appreciate their various positions requires the empathy, respect, and active listening that enable others to perceive us as trustworthy. Only then can we be open enough to achieve the atmosphere of spontaneous mutual influence that yields maximum benefits.

6.  Communicating effectively in the avenues of both task and relationship builds a powerful sense of Team Identity  in which teams feel free to risk and experiment, repeat what works and celebrate the results and build traditions and innovative new solutions. The value of belonging to such a team is the source of the leader’s ability to hold members accountable.

7.  Positive  Mood is the evidence of our collective success in satisfying individual and group life conditions. This is an important time and space of reaffirmation, rest, and recharging, because new stressors are no doubt just around the corner.

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