How Leaders Coach Emotional Intelligence In the Team

How Leaders Coach Emotional Intelligence In the Team

Article by Donna Earl

Effective leaders are able to motivate and manage highly productive teams by exemplifying a high level of emotional intelligence. In addition to modeling behavioral awareness and appropriateness, leaders can coach emotional intelligence in their teams through some of the following steps:

  1. Leaders set the behavioral tone for the team. Provide a role model of emotional intelligence and behavioral appropriateness to the team through your actions and words.
  2. To boost the emotional intelligence of the team, provide training in:
    • Emotional intelligence
    • Communication skills
    • Team building skills
    • Conflict resolution
  3. After training, reinforce appropriate behavior through feedback. People learn most effectively if feedback (whether corrective or reinforcing) is offered in the following manner:
    • In private. The team member’s behavior concerns only the leader and team member, thus should be discussed in a one on one, out of earshot of others.
    • With specifics. Hearing feedback about behavior can feel uncomfortable. To make the feedback effective, describe examples of the inappropriate behavior and the negative impact. Be as objective and non-judgmental as possible. Offer suggestions for alternative behaviors linked to potentially more favorable reactions from others.
    • As immediately as possible. People learn better if the behavior has recently occurred.
    • Consistently and constantly. Provide consistent feedback for improvement on a continual basis. Most team members are eager for well presented information about how they can improve performance
  4. Deal with problem team members. Members who behave appropriately feel demotivated by problem people. The motivational set point of the team is determined by the least functional member.
    • Hold all team members accountable for their behavior, reminding them behavior is vital to team functioning, and their individual future success.
    • Keep coaching problem people and if they refuse to improve, get rid of them!
    • Team performance improves when problem behavior is dealt with, or the problem person is removed from the team.

By mastering each of these steps, leaders will dramatically increase the emotional intelligence, motivation and productivity of their team.

Copyright © 2003 Donna Earl. All rights reserved.

Donna Earl is an international specialist in Customer Service, Management Skills and Emotional Intelligence. Donna can be contacted by phone at 415.929.8110 or by email at for permission to reprint these articles, or regarding her consulting and training services.