EPISODE #059 - TEAM EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE: CRACKING THE CODE ON HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

PODCAST SHOW NOTES - DR. VANESSA DRUSKAT & DR. STEVEN WOLFF

Podcast Episode #059: Team Emotional Intelligence: Cracking the Code on High Performing Teams

with Dr. Steven Wolff & Dr. Vanessa Druskat

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Join Dr. Krister Lowe and show guests–Dr. Vanessa Druskat and Dr. Steven Wolff–for this week’s episode of The Team Coaching Zone Podcast. The title of this episode is: “Team Emotional Intelligence: Cracking the Code on High Performing Teams.” Dr. Druskat is Associate Professor at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, USA. She is an internationally recognized expert on team effectiveness, team leadership, and emotional intelligence. She works with top leadership teams around the world and is passionate about helping teams meet their collaborative potential. Together with Vanessa Druskat, Dr. Steven B. Wolff has developed a theory of group emotional intelligence that extends the theory of individual emotional intelligence to the group level. Dr. Wolff has over ten years experience as a professor teaching and researching team effectiveness and leadership. He worked as a research consultant at HayGroup where he helped Richard Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman develop their second generation EI instrument (the ESCI), and has 15 years experience in the high-tech industry as an engineer and manager.

In this episode Dr. Druskat and Dr. Wolff take listeners on a journey from their early days in graduate school conducting research together on teams, to collaborating with Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis on scholarship in the area of team emotional intelligence, to publishing an article in the Harvard Business Review on “Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups,” to creating the Team Emotional Intelligence Survey, through some great stories working with real teams using the Team Emotional Intelligence framework and survey, to training team practitioners in the Team Ei instrument.

Specific themes covered in this episode include the 20 years of research behind team emotional intelligence; the team fundamentals, team emotional intelligence norms and social capital outputs that comprise team emotional intelligence and The Team Emotional intelligence Survey; lessons learned applying Team Ei with real world teams; the critical role of norms in facilitating team effectiveness; what differentiates good performing teams from high performing teams and more.

This is a rich episode that listeners are sure to listen to over and over again. All team coaches should be familiar with this important body of knowledge that cracks the code on what drives high performing teams. This is definitely an episode that you won’t want to miss!

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Resources Mentioned

  1. Team Emotional Intelligence Assessment & Accreditationhttp://www.eiworld.org/Events/Team-Emotional-Intelligence. Webinar-based accreditation program: two 3-hour sessions on separate days.
  2. HBR ArticleBuilding the Emotional Intelligence of Groups https://hbr.org/2001/03/building-the-emotional-intelligence-of-groups
  3. Other Articles & Informationwww.geipartners.com

Listen to the Episode:

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SHOW NOTES

Part 1 – Getting to Know the Show Guests: Dr. Vanessa Druskat & Dr. Steven Wolff

A. Introduction

  • Dr. Vanessa Druskat is Associate Professor at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire, USA. She is an internationally recognized expert on team effectiveness, team leadership, and emotional intelligence. Award winning teacher and researcher, published in major journals such as the Harvard Business Review, The Journal of Applied Psychology, MIT’s Sloan Management Review and the Academy of Management Journal. She works with top leadership teams around the world and is passionate about helping teams meet their collaborative potential. Together with Vanessa Druskat,
  • Dr. Steven B. Wolff has developed a theory of group emotional intelligence that extends the theory of individual emotional intelligence to the group level. Dr. Wolff has over ten years experience as a professor teaching and researching team effectiveness and leadership. He worked as a research consultant at HayGroup where he helped Richard Boyatzis and Daniel Goleman develop their second generation EI instrument (the ESCI), and has 15 years experience in the high-tech industry as an engineer and manager.

B. Journey into the Theory, Research and Practice of Team Effectiveness and Team Emotional Intelligence

  • Vanessa and Steve were doctoral students at the same time at Boston University; both were studying teams
  • Met each other in a micro organizational culture course
  • Both felt that a lot of the literature on teams described the characteristics of high performing teams but didn’t really get behind the curtain of what drover those characteristics and conditions; Wizard of Oz metaphor (in front of the curtain and behind the curtain)
  • Vanessa: grew up around the world; was very aware of how culture impacts behavior; interested in team cultures
  • Interested in taking the teams literature into a more systems focus
  • Steve: took a cultural anthropology course and was fascinated to see how national cultures shape our way of expressing emotions
  • Vanessa was at Case Western and Daniel Goleman and Richard Boyatzis were there and invited Vanessa to contribute a chapter to a book on team emotional intelligence. She invited Steven to join her and they started building off of Daniel Goleman’s work on individual level emotional intelligence.
  • Vanessa’s dissertation advisor was David McClelland who also was Daniel Goleman and Ricahard Boyatzis’ advisor.
  • The Harvard Business Review then invited Vanessa and Steve in 2001 to write an article.  It was called “Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups.”
  • Research at Johnson & Johnson: Steve and Vanessa were invited by J&J to conduct a study to determine why some of their drug development teams were working well while others weren’t; they looked at everyting possible that could predict team effectiveness; identified more than 30 factors.  When they ran the analysis 4 factors washed out on top: #1 was Team Emotional Intelligence (highest correlation in the study); #2 was Social Capital (outcomes of Team Ei); #3 Foundational Factors (meeting procedures, clear goals, roles and responsibilities); #4 External Support – teams that were high on external support tended to be high on Team Ei and proactively sought out help.
  • Technical caveat: other factors in the study were connected to performance however you don’t need them when you measure the four factors mentioned above

Part 2 – Team Emotional Intelligence

A. The Team Emotional Intelligence Assessment

  • Fundamental Norms (3 Norms): Clear Goals, Clear Roles, Meeting Procedures; even average performing teams needed to have these in place; one finding from the J&J study found that teams that took good meeting minutes had less conflict
  • Team Emotional Intelligence Norms:
    • Individual Level (3 Norms): Interpersonal Understanding; Addressing Counterproductive Behavior; Caring Behavior.  These norms are about interpersonal relations. These norms help teams manage the inevitable frustrations, issues, problems, challenges that arise when teams are at working try to
    • Team Level (4 Norms): Team Self-Evaluation; Creating an Affirmative Environment; Creating Emotion Resources; Proactive Problem-Solving
    • Organizational Level (2): Organizational Understanding; Building External Relations. Builds on Debra Ancona’s work at Harvard about the inward and outward focus of teams. Teams tend to be good either internally or externally but rarely both.
  • Social Capital Outputs (4 Outputs): Safety & Risk Taking; Team Identity; Innovation; Creating Debate. One on safety comes out of Amy Edmundson’s research at Harvard.

B. Why the Focus on Norms?

  • Focus is on norms: habits and culture of the team
    • Team leaders exert strong effects on creation of team norms
    • Norms are informal rules; heavily influence behavior in teams
    • We don’t notice norms but they strongly influence what behavior is acceptable
    • Effective teams have strong norms: making the implicit explicit; deciding collectively what the norms should be
    • Dr. Richard Hackman: one of Vanessa’s mentors; strong emphasis on norms
    • Dr. Ruth Wageman: was a student and colleague of Richard Hackman; Ruth was Steven’s boss at one time

C. Stories Applying Team Ei 

  • Steve: story of a high performing team; one member was exhibiting some difficult behaviors; the group tried to talk to him/her but it wasn’t helpful (like back-a-mole).  Team Ei Survey found that the team wasn’t creating a Positive Environment – they weren’t letting him express his concerns.  Once the concerns were allowed expression the problems went away.  The individual was getting scapegoated by the team.  The “problem member” is now a huge advocate of Team Ei and a well-established member of that team.
  • Vanessa: working with a CEO and top leadership team; had a number of consultants come in and just couldn’t gel.  Problem was trickling down and impacting the organization (low morale).  Vanessa often opens meetings, before looking at survey results, by focusing on interpersonal understanding.  Activity where she has on a flip chart have each person share: 1) 3 priorities they have; 2) 3 challenges they have; and 3) what help they need from the team. They discovered a lot about each other just from that exercise.  Vanessa had to put off till then next session going over the Team Ei survey results.  They often blow up the results of the survey into posters and put it up on the wall. They discovered that they needed to help one another.  They were embodying a lot of what was in the survey during the session.  Doing a series of interventions, not just one shot interventions.
  • Disaster Case: a charismatic and very strong leader; HR person decided to try to address the leader’s issues by doing a team emotional intelligence intervention instead of addressing the leader directly. Leader got defensive during the session.
  • One lesson learned and insight: The Team Ei Survey really helps you understand how to build a team and it is supported by research.  Can help team leaders gain insight into what to focus on to build a high performing team.

Part 3 – Resources, Parting Words, Contacting Steve and Vanessa

A. What Has Vanessa and Steve Excited?

  • Certifying practitioners through accreditation program since 2012: excited about that.
  • Vanessa is going to be working on a book next Spring during her sabbatical: wants to dig into each of these norms and flossing them out.
  • Steve really excited about a trend, on the cusp of a paradigm shift that is shifting from an over-emphasis on the rational and scientific to one that integrates emotion. Steve is working on that and excited about it.

B. Resources

C. Contacting Vanessa & Steve

  • Group Emotional Intelligence Partners (GEI Partners): www.geipartners.com
  • Contact Steve at steve@geipartners.com

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