5 Secrets to a Great Team

Most of us, at some point in our lives, were on a team.

Teams are vital to organizations, our personal lives, and in a core way—society as we know it. We define teams loosely as a group of people working together, but they are so much more than that.

Take a minute to reflect on the different teams you have been a part of.

Maybe you participated in a sport as a youth or child.

Perhaps it was less competitive in nature—like a social group focused on a mutual hobby or interest.

Whatever the team, you and others most likely possessed a shared goal.

There was somewhere you were trying to get together. Based on the dynamics of that team it was either a successful venture or painfully the opposite.

Some teams bring to my mind memories of perseverance and long-lasting friendships. Other teams stand out to me as a turning point in my career.

What about you?

As you meditate on your past and even current team dynamics, can you pinpoint what made them so successful? Or what lead to their demise?

Great teams do not just happen.

With that in mind, I want to further dive into the subject of emotional intelligence and team dynamics.

EQ is important in making you effective and successful in life.

However, when we look at EQ as it relates to teams, the application is a bit different.

Let’s break down the components of EQ on teams.

1. Self-Awareness

When we look at self-awareness from the standpoint of a team dynamic we do not want an individual awareness, but a group awareness.

We want to look beyond being in touch with what we as individuals are doing and how it affects others. We want to be aware of what is happening in the team, and how we are affecting one another.

How is the team’s momentum? How is our moral? What is hanging us up?

Group awareness is crucial to a high-performing team.

2. Self-Regulation

What does self-regulation look like on a team?

If someone starts to display behavior that is unhelpful, the entire team is responsible for giving feedback.

It isn’t just one person’s responsibility or role to lead the team in the coaching or correcting behavior.

On a high-performing team, it is up to the entire team to let one another know what is helping or hindering them.

Mutual accountability unifies the team and helps drive the momentum forward.

This takes trust and time to build—but having the value of open communication and “team” regulation is vital for a team’s success.

3. Empathy

Empathy is all about understanding another person’s perspective.

That happens through intentionally listening to what other people have to say, with the intention of learning where they are coming from.

When it comes to empathy on a team, the method shifts from listening or seeking to understand the individual, to seeking to understand the “team.”

It is still important to listen to the team members individually—but look to empathize with the collective perspective of the team.

How does each individual perspective add to the overall picture?

Empathizing with the entire team, with all of the diverse perspectives present, allows you to work towards ways to make sure every voice counts.

4. Social Skills

Social skills are all about how you relate to other people.

On a team, you are not just relating to one individual. You are relating to an entire team.

Your ability to communicate and relate to your team is critical to success.

Look at it this way. What if you were amazing at rowing and asked to be a part of a professional row team as a result?

You could be great at the skill, but if you were unable to row in unison with the other team members, your individual skill wouldn’t matter.

Your inability to work with the rest of the crew would slow the entire team down.

The power of a team is found in how well the team works together.

5. Motivation

Motivation in teams is similar to personal motivation, in that both the individual and the team are having to find the inner strength to work towards a goal.

Often, this happens in spite of setbacks, failures, or even plateaued success.

The benefit of team motivation is that you have other people pushing you forward. Everyone collectively rallies emotional energy towards a goal.

The potential downside is that just as motivation can be contagious, discouragement or negativity can be as well. It only takes one “naysayer” to bring a group down.

Here is where the other components of team EQ can really come into play. Having awareness of what is happening within the team can prevent any potential downward spiral.

As I said earlier, great teams don’t just happen. They take work.

It is incredibly valuable to talk about the components of team EQ with any team you are a part of.

In today’s competitive business landscape, it is becoming less about how talented you are in a field of expertise, and more about your effectiveness in working with others.

Employers are realizing that an individual’s adaptability, social skills, empathy, and personal motivation and producing far better results in the workplace.

The same is true for teams with a collectively high EQ.

Sales teams, research teams, executives, and the like all benefit from working well together.

You may not be the leader of the team you are a part of—but your role on that team is just as important.

When you display a high level of emotional intelligence, and model that behavior in the context of your team, you are leading by example.

Emotional intelligence, the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you, is an essential quality of effective leaders, employees, and people.

But, how do you practically go about increasing awareness of both yourself and your surroundings?  

We’ve created our free guide entitled, “10 Things You Can Do Today To Increase Emotional Intelligence” to help you begin to learn how to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others and leverage this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Download it here.