Emotional Intelligence often focuses on individual skills and attributes. The benefits for groups and teams of having individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence is understood but there is often a lower focus on how the skills can be applied at the group level.
Leadership, influence and emotional management are closely interlinked and when we speak with some clients they view influence as an extension of leadership.
This article clearly highlights the key attributes of group emotional intelligence and how high performing teams apply them. Although the study looked at a sporting setting, the key points here apply in any team operating under pressure.
The interesting take-away from an influence perspective is that the leaders in this study focused on self-regulation and regulating the emotions of others without involving their own emotions.
The sharing of emotions and co-regulation seen amongst group members was seen less amongst the key leaders. This allows the leader to effectively influence the emotional state of the team without being seen as necessarily part of it.
There's a fine line here between effective group emotional management and ineffective 'keeping a stiff upper lip' at all costs. Truly effective influencers still need support in their emotional management - they may just seek it outside of the group they are responsible for.
What they found was the players in high performing teams engage in three types of regulatory activity: Self-regulation. This requires that the team member recognises where they are emotionally and the effect the emotion is having on their performance not just with the task but also their ability to operate as a productive team member. For example how they are responding to and initiating interactions with other team members. Co-regulation. This is where team members collude to give each other feedback on a reciprocal basis about their emotions and emotion regulation performance. Co-regulation involves communicating about their own emotional state and emotion regulation and getting involved in helping others with their emotion regulation. Extrinsic regulation. This is where a team member focuses on helping another regulate their emotions without involving their own.