Team Emotional Intelligence: How to Avoid being a “Quarrel of Lawyers”

Topics: Corporate Legal, Leadership, Practical Law, Talent Development, Thomson Reuters, United Kingdom

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In an article in Practical Law UK, author Kelli Read of consulting firm Beyond Blackletter discusses the theory of “team emotional intelligence” and explains how a model of team effectiveness based on a framework of team emotional intelligence can achieve a high-performance culture among members of in-house legal departments.

In her article, Read references Daniel Goleman‘s model of emotional competencies for the workplace and outlines the steps needed to build a personal development plan. Read also studies aspects of emotional intelligence and how they’re used to help individuals enhance their personal performance.

So, does it necessarily follow that a group of emotionally intelligent members makes an emotionally intelligent team? Not necessarily,” Read writes. “Team emotional intelligence (Team EI) should not be confused with individual emotional intelligence.”

Read also examines what makes a good team experience, highlighting the following elements:

  • Trust;
  • Respect;
  • Shared values;
  • Commitment;
  • Camaraderie;
  • Accountability;
  • Support and cohesion;
  • Open communication; and
  • Results.

“The majority of the characteristics listed above that positively influence team experiences are behavioural rather than procedural,” she explains. “This highlights why we need to consider more than just goals, structure, processes, tasks, resources and benchmarks if we are to create effective teams.”

As most human interactions stimulate emotional reactions, Read notes we need to consider the role of emotion in teams because attitudes and behaviour will impact both how a team performs and the emergence of its culture. Additionally, emotion (both positive and negative) is contagious and can spread swiftly among team members, affecting team dynamics for the better or worse, she says. “Understanding and using emotion in a team is therefore essential to achieving a balance between harmony and productivity.”


You can read the entire article online at Practical Law UK