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HRM 4495 - readings 1.docx

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York University
Human Resources Management
HRM 4495

By now most executives have accepted that emotional intelligence is as critical as IQ to an individuals effectiveness But much of the important work in organizations is done in teams New research uncovers what emotional intelligence at the group level looks likeand how to achieve it WHEN MANAGERS FIRST STARTED HEARING ABOUT the concept of emotional intelligence in the 1990s scales fell from theft eyes The basic message that effectiveness in organizations is at least as much about EQ as IQ resonated deeply it was something that people knew in theft guts but that had never before been so well articulated Most important the idea held the potential for positive change Instead of being stuck with the hand theyd been dealt people could take steps to enhance their emotional intelligence and make themselves more effective in theft work and personal lives Indeed the concept of emotional intelligence had real impact The only problem is that so far emotional intelligence has been viewed only as an individual competency when the reality is that most work in organizations is done by teams And if managers have one pressing need today its to find ways to make teams work better It is with real excitement therefore that we share these findings from our research individual emotional intelligence has a group analog and it is just as critical to groups effectiveness Teams can develop greater emotional intelligence and in so doing boost their overall performance Why Should Teams Build Their Emotional IntelligenceNo one would dispute the importance of making teams work more effectively But most research about how to do so has focused on identifying the task processes that distinguish the most successful teamsthat is specifying the need for cooperation participation commitment to goals and so forth The assumption seems to be that once identified these processes can simply be imitated by other teams with similar effect Its not tree By analogy think of it this way a piano student can be taught to play Minuet in G but he wont become a modernday Bach without knowing music theory and being able to play with heart Similarly the real source of a great teams success lies in the fundamental conditions that allow effective task processes to emergeand that cause members to engage in them wholeheartedly Our research tells us that three conditions are essential to a groups effectiveness trust among members a sense of group identity and a sense of group efficacy When these conditions are absent going through the motions of cooperating and participating is still possible But the team will not be as effective as it could be because members will choose to hold back rather than fully engage To be most effective the team needs to create emotionally intelligent norms the attitudes and behaviors that eventually become habitsthat support behaviors for building trust group identity and group efficacy The outcome is complete engagement in tasks For more on how emotional intelligence influences these conditions see the sidebar A Model of Team Effectiveness Three Levels of Emotional InteractionMake no mistake a team with emotionally intelligent members does not necessarily make for an emotionally intelligent group A team like any social group takes on its own character So creating an upward selfreinforcing spiral of trust group identity and group efficacy requires more than a few members who exhibit emotionally intelligent behavior It requires a team atmosphere in which the norms build emotional capacity the ability to respond constructively in emotionally uncomfortable situations and influence emotions in constructive ways Team emotional intelligence is more complicated than individual emotional intelligence because teams interact at more levels To understand the differences lets first look at the concept of individual emotional intelligence as defined by Daniel Goleman In his definitive book Emotional intelligence Goleman explains the chief characteristics of someone with high EI he or she is aware of emotions and able to regulate themand this awareness and regulation are directed both inward to ones self and outward to others Personal competence in Golemans words comes from being aware of and regulating ones own emotions Social competence is awareness and regulation of others emotions A group however must attend to yet another level of awareness and regulation It must be mindful of the emotions of its members its own group emotions or moods and the emotions of other groups and individuals outside its boundaries In this article well explore how emotional incompetence at any of these levels can cause dysfunction Well also show how establishing specific group norms that create awareness and regulation of emotion at these three levels can lead to better outcomes First well focus on the individual levelhow emotionally intelligent groups work with their individual members emotions Next well focus on the group level And finally well look at the crossboundary level Working with Individuals EmotionsJill Kasper head of her companys customer service department is naturally tapped to join a new crossfunctional team focused on enhancing the customer experience she has extensive experience in and a real passion for customer service But her teammates find she brings little more than a bad attitude to the table At an early brainstorming session Jill sits silent arms crossed rolling her eyes Whenever the team starts to get energized about an idea she launches into a detailed account of how a similar idea went nowhere in the past The group is confused this is the customer service star theyve been hearing about Little do they realize she feels insulted by the very formation of the team To her implies she hasnt done her job well enough When a member is not on the same emotional wavelength as the rest a team needs to be emotionally intelligent visvis that individual In part that simply means being aware of the problem Having a norm that encourages interpersonal understanding might facilitate an awareness that Jill is acting out of defensiveness And picking up on this defensiveness is necessary if the team wants to make her understand its desire to amplify her good work not negate it Some teams seem to be able to do this naturally At HewlettPackard for instance we learned of a team that was attempting to crosstrain its members The idea was that if each member could pinchhit on everyone elses job the team could deploy efforts to whatever task required the most attention But one member seemed very uncomfortable with learning new skills and tasks accustomed to being a top producer in his own job he hated not knowing how to do a job perfectly Luckily his teammates recognized his discomfort and rather than being annoyed they redoubled their efforts to support him This team benefited from a group norm it had established over time emphasizing interpersonal understanding The norm had grown out of the groups realization that working to accurately hear and understand one anothers feelings and concerns improved member morale and a willingness to cooperate Many teams build high emotional intelligence by taking pains to consider matters from an individual members perspective Think of a situation where a team of four must reach a decision three favor one direction and the fourth favors another In the interest of expedience many teams in this situation would move directly to a majority vote But a more emotionally intelligent group would pause first to hear out the objection It would also ask if everyone were completely behind the decision even if there appeared
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