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Mastering Emotional Intelligence – How To Support Underperforming Team Members

Camilla offers a unique blend of one on one coaching, online courses, and a thriving community that focuses on helping individuals discover their true professional calling

Executive Contributor Camilla Hasloch

In today's competitive business landscape, organisations rely heavily on the collective efforts and performance of their teams to achieve strategic goals and maintain a competitive edge. However, despite meticulous recruitment processes and training initiatives, teams may encounter challenges related to underperformance among certain members. Addressing these issues requires more than just technical expertise or disciplinary measures; it necessitates a deeper understanding of human behaviour and effective interpersonal skills.

Low angle view of smiling business team having a constructive meeting in the office.

Emotional intelligence (EI) has emerged as a critical factor in navigating complex social interactions and fostering positive relationships within teams. Defined as the ability to recognise, understand and manage one's own emotions and those of others, EI encompasses a range of competencies that are instrumental in supporting underperforming team members. This article aims to unravel the intricate relationship between EI and performance management within teams, offering insights into how EI can be harnessed to facilitate individual growth and team success.

Components of emotional intelligence: To comprehend the role of EI in supporting underperforming team members, it is essential to dissect its components and understand their implications in a team context. According to the seminal model proposed by Salovey and Mayer (1990), EI comprises four key dimensions: self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness and relationship management.

Self-awareness entails recognising and understanding one's own emotions, strengths, weaknesses and their impact on others. In the context of team dynamics, self-aware team members are better equipped to acknowledge their limitations and seek assistance when needed. They are also more attuned to the emotions and behaviours of their colleagues, fostering empathy and rapport within the team.

Self-regulation involves managing and controlling one's emotions, impulses, and reactions effectively. Team members with strong self-regulation skills exhibit composure and resilience in the face of challenges, contributing to a harmonious and productive team environment. They are less likely to succumb to stress or negative emotions, thereby setting a positive example for their peers.

Social awareness encompasses the ability to empathise and understand the emotions, needs and perspectives of others. Team members who possess high social awareness can sense when their colleagues are struggling or experiencing difficulties. By demonstrating empathy and providing support, they create a culture of trust and collaboration within the team, encouraging open communication and mutual assistance.

Relationship management entails building and maintaining positive relationships with others, resolving conflicts and inspiring teamwork. Team members who excel in relationship management foster a sense of camaraderie and cohesion within the team, facilitating effective collaboration and synergy. They are adept at mediating conflicts, offering constructive feedback, and motivating their peers to achieve common goals.

Strategies for Supporting Underperforming Team Members: Armed with a comprehensive understanding of EI and its components, leaders and team members can implement various strategies to support underperforming colleagues and enhance overall team performance. The following are some practical approaches to leveraging EI in this context:

  1. Cultivate a culture of psychological safety: Create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their concerns, admitting mistakes and seeking assistance without fear of judgement or reprisal. Foster open communication, active listening, and empathy to establish trust and psychological safety within the team.

  2. Provide constructive feedback and coaching: Offer timely and constructive feedback to underperforming team members, focusing on specific behaviours or performance gaps rather than personal attributes. Use a coaching approach to help them identify their strengths, areas for improvement and actionable steps to enhance their performance. Encourage self-reflection and goal-setting to promote continuous growth and development.

  3. Foster empathy and understanding: Encourage team members to develop empathy and understanding towards their underperforming colleagues, recognising that everyone faces challenges and setbacks at some point. Promote a culture of support and collaboration, where team members offer assistance and encouragement to their peers without judgement or criticism.

  4. Encourage self-care and well-being: Acknowledge the importance of self-care and well-being in maintaining optimal performance and resilience. Encourage team members to prioritise their physical and mental health, take breaks when needed, and seek support from colleagues or professional resources if necessary. Lead by example by practising self-care and demonstrating a healthy work-life balance.

Conclusion: In conclusion, emotional intelligence plays a pivotal role in supporting underperforming team members and fostering a culture of growth, collaboration and success within teams. By cultivating self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness and relationship management skills, individuals can effectively navigate performance challenges and contribute to a positive team environment. Through empathy, constructive feedback, and coaching, leaders and team members can empower their colleagues to overcome obstacles, realise their full potential, and thrive in their professional endeavours. As organisations continue to prioritise the development of EI competencies, they can unlock the collective potential of their teams and achieve sustainable growth and performance excellence.


Camilla Hasloch, Founder

Camilla Hasloch, is the visionary founder of Glassceilingcareermanagement. With a passion for unconventional career development, Camilla offers a unique blend of one on one coaching, online courses, and a thriving community that focuses on helping individuals discover their true professional calling. She combines life and career development coaching for her clients to truly recognise who they are and what that looks like in a satisfying career.



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