Category: Soft Skills Training

How to Manage Emotions in Your Team

How to Manage Emotions in Your Team

Emotions are a fundamental part of every person, and the success of your team requires these emotions to be managed correctly. Team members need to be encouraged to understand their emotions and learn how to use them correctly. Some team members may have the view that there is no place for emotions in a team, but emotions will always play a role and must be managed and utilized effectively. Each team member’s make up, which includes emotions and the ability to manage them, emotional intelligence and communication skills are all a part of whether or not a team is successful.

As a team leader, you also need to be aware of your own emotions and be able to manage them correctly. If, for example, your team has an important deadline that they are in danger of missing; the way you handle the situation emotionally can have a significant effect on the outcome. How you approach the situation will depend on your natural tendencies as well as your level of professionalism. You can either call a team meeting to explain the ramifications of missing the deadline, or you may take the more volatile route and yell at everyone and tell them to get to work. Deciding the best approach can be done by weighing up the pros and cons of each and considering which would result in the most positive outcome. Do not rely only on how you feel, but what makes logical sense.

The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Your Team

The Emotional Intelligence of your team members plays a vital role within the team dynamics. How the team members feel about themselves, interact with others and handle conflict is directly related to the quality of their contributions to the team. Emotional Intelligence includes the development of both social and personal proficiency.

Social Proficiency

  • Empathy – Being aware of others’ feelings and exhibiting compassion.
  • Intuition – An inner sense of the feelings of others.
  • Political Acumen – Ability to communicate, strong influence and leadership skills, and conflict-resolution skills.

Personal Proficiency

  • Self-Awareness – Understanding one’s own emotions. The ability to assess one’s self as well as display confidence.
  • Self-Regulation – Managing one’s emotions. Maintaining trustworthiness and flexibility.
  • Motivation – Being optimistic about situations. Having the drive to take initiative and commit until completion.

Disagreeing Constructively

There will not always be agreement on all matters relating to the team. You can expect disagreement to take place within the team from time to time. This need not be a negative experience, but positives can be gained if the disagreement is constructive. To disagree constructively means to do so in a positive productive manner. You are not disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing or to get your point across. Disagreement should also not be negative or destructive of other team members’ thoughts. Constructive disagreement is acknowledging and confirming someone else’s ideas before presenting your own.


Emotional Intelligence Training Course

How to Encourage Participation in Team Meetings

How to Encourage Participation in Team Meetings

In your team meetings, you are more likely to reach consensus if everybody is participating in the discussions. The following are some suggestions to help you encourage participation in your team meetings.

Provide preparation guidelines before the team meeting

In your meeting invitation; include some guidelines of what to review and study in preparation of the meeting. Allowing your team members to prepare beforehand will give them confidence to add something to the discussion. You can also include guide questions with the meeting invitation.

Encourage participation from everyone at the start of the meeting

Right from the start of the meeting, you should make it clear to your team members that participation is not just welcome but an integral part of the decision making process. This is often all that is required to get all the team members to participate. The participation of the team members is likely to lead to lively discussions regarding the topic of the meeting.

Acknowledge each team member’s contribution

Show that you have heard and understood a contribution by acknowledging a response in verbal and non-verbal ways. Verbal ways of acknowledging contributions include praising, clarifying or requesting more information. You can praise a contribution by using words such as “I am glad you brought that up” or “That is a good point”. To acknowledge a contribution by clarifying you would use words as “You suggested that” and “Is this correct”. “Tell us more” and “Please go on” are examples of ways you can acknowledge a response by requesting more information.  Making eye contact, nodding and leaning forward are all non-verbal ways to acknowledge a contribution by a team member.

Do not discount contributions

Be aware how you respond to a contribution so that it is not interpreted as devaluing the contribution. Never ignore a contribution made by one of your team members. Examples of responses that discount a contribution are “That was already said”, “That is irrelevant”, “Is that it? Is there anything else?”

Ask directly for contributions

An effective way of encouraging participation in team meetings is to ask everyone directly for their opinion on the topic that is being discussed. Some examples of how you can do this are “Can I get everyone’s opinion” or “Lets share all our ideas.”

Build on the contributions

Encourage participation in the team meeting by integrating each member’s contribution with the contributions of the other members or the whole group. Similarities and differences can be highlighted, and you can point out how each point relates to another. This also helps the discussion to move along and helps individual contributions to be seen as part of the whole.

Some ways to build on contributions include:

  • Help the team members to see that their concerns are shared with questions such as “Who else has felt this way?”
  • Make verbal connections to what individual team members say and feel with statements such as  “John thinks there should be another meeting. This seems similar to what Jane was saying a while ago.”
  • Involve the whole team in the discussion by using redirecting questions such as “What is your thinking about that?” or “How do you feel about Mike’s idea?”

Intentionally keeping silent in the meeting

You can encourage participation in the meeting by intentionally keeping quiet and waiting for some response from the team members. If the group is eager to participate you will not have to wait long for a lively discussion to start.

Thank your team for their participation

Always affirm your team for their participation. Making a point of thanking each member for their contribution will encourage greater involvement in succeeding meetings.

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The Role of Personality Types in Team Motivation

The Role of Personality Types in Team Motivation

Any successful team consists of a mix of personality types. A team in which everyone has the same personality type, is more likely to experience conflict between its members. When a problem arises in the team, everyone is more likely to try and take the same role in solving it. To motivate your team effectively, it is vital that you identify your personality type as well as the personality types of your team members. It is also essential to realize that different personality types have different ways of motivating others, and different ways in which they are motivated.

Identifying Your Own Personality Type

Those aspects of your character that arise when around others or when doing something important, defines your personality type. Various tests have been created to identify your personality type, but perhaps the best way to detect your personality type is to examine your reaction to a problem which affects the whole team. How do you react to a problem?

  • Do you immediately look for a solution to the problem?
  • Are you instinctively worried by what happens?
  • Do you ask other people to help with the problem?
  • Do you comfort the people in the team that are stressed by the problem?
  • Do you stand on the fringes, making comments and jokes?

All these reactions are helpful in the team and can contribute to overcoming the problem. The “problem solver”, the “consensus seeker”, the “nurturer” and the “humorist” are all classic personality types. All these personality types have an equal part in making up a successful team.

  • Without problem solvers,  the team would be more likely to deviate from the team’s plan.
  • Consensus seekers make sure that problem solvers do not become too independent.
  • Nurtures ensure that a problem does not become a crisis.
  • The humorist ensures that everybody remains in high spirit despite the problem.

How much we allow our personality to show is often limited by convention and reason. Most people will also avoid being seen as too one dimensional.

Identifying the Personality Type of Other Team Members

While most people have a clear idea of their own personality type, it is more difficult to identify the personality type of other team members. The best way of identifying the personality types of others is by speaking to them and observing how they behave in various situations. Ice Breakers and Team Building Activities are also effective ways of getting to know the personality types of your team members. These activities highlight people’s priorities and show a lot about their personality type outside of the activities. The team building activities will show which team member is a dominant character, who is pragmatic, who is light hearted and so on. In these activities,  you will pick up if two or more people are competing for the dominant position and which members choose to play a less confrontational part. Ice breakers and team building activities are excellent for learning about the personality types of all the team members.

Motivating the Different Personality Types in Your Team

Different personality types motivate other people in different ways and different personality types are motivated differently. The conciliatory personality type will motivate the rest of the team by speaking to them one-on-one. They will allow the other team members to see where they can excel and improve. They have the ability to share good news discreetly and put bad news in a good way.  The dominant personality type is more likely to deliver criticism one-on-one as they will be wary of not de-motivating the rest of the team by delivering criticism in the open. Good news, on the other hand, will be delivered loudly and shared throughout the team. The dominant personality type will want to spread the joy and motivate the rest of the team to try and achieve the same.

Different personality types will contribute to your team’s motivation in different ways. By assigning each team member the correct role within the team, you enable them to get the best out of themselves and their team members.


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Identifying Barriers to Communication in Your Team

Identifying Barriers to Communication

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Access Our Ultimate Guide for Building Better Communication in Your Team

Communication is not as simple as one person talking and another person listening or one person writing and another person reading. Communication is a complicated process, and there are various barriers that can affect clear communication within your team. In this blog we will take a look at some of the most common barriers and how to minimize their impact on communication within your team. Barriers to communication can be divided into three main categories namely language, culture and location.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Language as a Communication Barrier in Teams

Language is one of the most common communication barriers that can exist within a team. This may occur because team members speak different languages, the language being used is not everyone’s first language or the team members all speak the same language but have different dialects. To reduce the impact of language barriers, it is essential to recognize that the barrier exists and identify ways to minimize the impact of it. Pictures are a universal language, and can be used to communicate across language barriers. If you are required to communicate with a person over a long period you will have to find a common language or consider hiring a translator.

Culture as a Communication Barrier in Teams

Words or gestures can mean different things to different cultures. The members of your team may be from a different culture, class or lifestyle which can hinder communication. One way to overcome this barrier is to find out as much as possible about the culture of your team members and how it differs to your culture. Identify potential areas of misunderstanding in order to prevent or resolve communication problems that may occur. If you do not have time to prepare, ask about cultural differences as you notice them and encourage questions about your own culture. Ask questions that are curious but never judgmental or resentful.

Location as a Communication Barrier in Teams

Location defined by time or place can also be a barrier to effective communication within your team. These barriers arise when team members are located in different places and time zones. To control or overcome potential barriers when phoning a team member in a different place, it is useful to make small talk about the weather to get a idea of his/her physical environment. You can also ensure that telephone calls and meetings are set up at a time that is suitable for you both. Emails can be an effective time and location bridge as the recipient can read and respond to the message at a convenient time. However if it is something urgent or needs further explanation, email is not the best option.

Being aware of time differences can place pressure on time and can result in rushed communication. Either party could easily make assumptions or leaps of faith. It is essential always to ask the person you are communicating with to give you a playback no matter the time constraints involved. You will need to make the most of the communication time that you do have.


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How to Help Your Team Understand Change

Change is constant, and it is essential for your team to understand the nature of change. The effect of change on the individual influences all aspects of the team. Change often creates fear and uncertainty in a team; the members of your team need to understand the nature of change. They need to know what to expect when change happens and how to prepare for it.

Help Your Team Understand Change
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Causes of Change

The causes of change can either be internal or external. All teams are subject to external forces that are constantly interacting with its existence. Team members usually have little control over external factors such as politics, economics, technology, culture and societal changes. It is vital for them to understand that if the change is due to external factors, they need to accept the change and modify any internal processes affected by the external influence.

There are a wide range of internal factors influencing change that can include almost any item or event within a team. Some of the likely internal influences include policies, team structure, leadership and finances. Internal influences to changes can be controlled, and you can prepare your team for the outcomes of such events. Tools such as education, communication, training and support will help mitigate negative outcomes which may arise as a result of the change.

How People React to Change

Individuals react differently to change and understanding the different reactions to change will help you in managing changes. The following are some of the most common ways that people react to change.

  • Anger – Change can sometimes cause people to experience anger. Some team members may lash out and become uncooperative when confronted with change. Humans find comfort in their habits and changes may cause inner conflict which can manifest as anger.
  • Resistance – There will always be resistance to change that stems from a fear of the unknown. The fear of the unknown during the process of change may often lead to strong resistance within a team.
  • Indifference – Some of the members of the team may not care, or think the changes do not have much impact on their tasks. These individuals may be indifferent because they do not understand or accept the change.
  • Denial – Some of the team members may believe that the change is not required. These individuals may be reluctant to listen to – or deny – any information presented to support the change.
  • Acceptance – These team members realize that changes usually are for the better and can have a positive influence on the team. Acceptance may not happen right away but should happen quicker than if changes are experienced as negative.

Tools to Facilitate the Change Process

Preparing your team for the changes will increase the likelihood that the changes will be successfully implemented. The following are some tools that you can use to help facilitate the change process and deal with any negative reactions that may occur.

  • Education – Educate your team members on the reasons for the change and what the expected outcomes will be. People like to know why changes occur and educating your team members will clear up any rumors that may have spread.
  • Communication – It is vital to keep the channels of communication open during and after changes have occurred. Open communication will help with any unforeseen events that may arise. See also: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities
  • Training – Keep your team members trained to ensure they have the necessary skills to cope with the changes.
  • Flexibility – When change is planned for not all events can be foreseen. Be flexible and ready to revise or update the current plan to account for any unforeseen events.
  • Affected Parties – It is especially beneficial to have the individuals that are involved in the change participate in the change process. They may be able to shed light into the subject from an expert’s point of view.


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How to Deal with Anger

Anger can be an incredibly destructive force, and since everyone experiences anger, it is crucial to have constructive approaches to manage it effectively.  The following are some of the methods that can be employed to manage anger effectively.

How to Deal With Anger

Admit that you are angry
In order to deal with anger you need to admit that you are angry and not keep the anger inside. People often think that they are effectively dealing with anger by ignoring their feelings of anger. This is a defense mechanism and includes methods such as laughing-off an issue off, distracting one’s self from the problem and trivializing the impact of the feelings. You need to recognize that you are angry and give yourself permission to feel the anger. In order to control something successfully you first need to admit it exists. The process of admitting you are angry can be as simple as saying to yourself “I am angry”.

Calm yourself before you respond
Aggression, which can be verbal or physical, is never an acceptable way to express your anger. It is necessary to calm yourself before saying anything or responding to the situation. When we become angry, our body becomes engaged in a fight or flight response. At this stage, you need defer any reaction until you have returned to a more stable biological state. Count to ten or, if possible, remove yourself from the situation for a moment before responding.

Avoid becoming passive-aggressive
Passive-aggressive behavior usually results when a person keeps silent over a matter that is important to him/her. Passive-aggressiveness refers to indirect and underhanded means to get back at a person that made you angry. It includes behavior such as gossiping, tardiness and backbiting. If keeping silent results in physical and mental symptoms because it is so important to you, it is better to let it out. Speak to the person concerned or, if that is not possible, at least speak to a trusted friend or a mental health professional.

Take ownership and communicate your feelings constructively
Avoid the use of indirect attacks and unproductive statements such as blaming, labeling, preaching moralizing, ordering, warning, interrogating, ridiculing and lecturing. Get the anger within your control by taking ownership and responsibility for your feelings. You cannot control other people, you can only control yourself.

Use relaxation techniques to control your anger
An effective way to manage your anger is to intentionally induce yourself to a state of calm. This can help particularly in addressing the physical symptoms of anger. Relaxation techniques you can do include: breathing exercises, meditation, visualization, music, arts and craft.

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