Checklist For An Emotionally Intelligent Team

This is a draft for another checklist designed to get people thinking about emotional intelligence in their workplace.

As a team leader, manager or business owner, there is a lot you can do to make your team more emotionally intelligent. The benefits of higher team EI should include: better morale, more creativity, better staff attraction and retention, and higher levels of ‘discretionary effort’ (people putting in more than the minimum their job description requires).

How many of these questions can you give meaningful answers to?


  • Does your team know what it’s there for? What is its purpose? Does every team member know this? How?
  • Does everyone in your team understand what is important about achieving the purpose (the team’s ends values)?
  • Does everyone in your team understand what is important in order to be able to achieve the purpose (the team’s means values)?
  • Does your team have a sense of humour about itself?
  • Does your team solicit honest feedback – from customers, suppliers and other outside stakeholders?
  • Do your team members feel they can talk honestly you (if they do, the evidence will be you sometimes get critical feedback)?
  • How does your team learn from its mistakes?
  • Do your team members share best practice with each other?
  • Are there no serious issues between team members that you don’t know about? Really? How do you know?

Relationship Awareness

  • How good are you and your team at putting yourselves into the shoes of customers, employees, and other stakeholders?
  • What are you doing to maintain and improve your own and your team members’ ability to see yourselves as others see them?
  • How diverse is your team (gender balance, different personality types, cultural backgrounds)
  • How long does it take a new entrant to become a productive member and feel part of the team? How can the team make this easier?


  • Does bullying occur – and if so how is it dealt with?
  • What mechanisms are in place for resolving conflict within your team – and do they work?
  • What is the overall emotional tone set by your leadership – is it positive ("resonant", in Daniel Goleman’s terms) or negative ("dissonant")? How do you know this?
  • How is emotionally intelligent behaviour measured?
  • How is emotionally intelligent behaviour reinforced, encouraged and rewarded?
  • What is the length of the typical working day and week (more than a five-day week or an eight-hour day will tend to have adverse effects on health, stress levels and performance)?
  • How is work-life balance encouraged?


  • Do your team members have a sense of purpose?
  • Does everyone in your team know how their job fits into the bigger picture?
  • Does you know for sure what motivates each of your team members? How?
  • Is the rate of staff turnover significantly below the average for comparable teams (within or outside your organisation)?
  • Do team members contribute "discretionary effort" (above and beyond what they are required to do to keep their jobs)?

Relationship Management

  • Do team members feel respected and listened to?
  • Would team members recommend your team as a good place to work?
  • Do customers/suppliers/other stakeholders feel respected and listened to?
  • To what extent do employees act as advocates for the products, services or work of your team outside working hours?
  • What is the tone (verbal and ‘non-verbal’) of your communication with team members?
  • How well does your team co-operate with other teams?
  • Does your team embody a win/win ethos in its dealings with others?

7 Rules For Dealing With Angry Or Aggressive Clients

Some very sound advice by Adam Sargant of Personnel Development, a communication and thinking skills trainer (and former mental health nurse) in this article.

I’ve haven’t met Adam face-to-face yet, but from our email exchanges and his online writings he’s a wise and clear thinker – as you’ll see. He will be running a session for us on this very topic at the North West Business NLP and Emotional Intelligence Group on 5th July which I’m looking forward to.