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  • Ashley Witherspoon

Do You Know Your Team?

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

In 1997, "The War For Talent" took many corporate industries by storm, calling for organizations to hire employees based on individual talent. However, the downfall of the approach coined by Steven Hankin of the Mckinsey Company became clear during the Enron Scandal, because the focus on individual rather than team performance encouraged employees to undermine their colleagues. According to the Harvard Business Review, the lesson is that rather than individuals, teams deliver, especially in high-value work such as creative work, complex analysis, and scientific research. Geoff Colvin argues that having the “smartest guys in the room” isn’t much good if they can’t work with others effectively. Scientists at MIT and Carnegie Mellon have identified a collective intelligence factor indicating that high performing teams include individuals with high social sensitivity, take turns when speaking, and surprisingly the number of women in the group.


So how do you create an effective team? Do you know who is currently on your team?


Three conditions are essential: Trust among members, sense of group identity—pride in the group, sense of group efficacy—the belief that they are more effective working together than apart (Druskat and Wolff, 2001). Although the workplace orientation process allows new hires to become familiar with the structure of the organization, further engagement is needed to create psychological safety amongst all to fully buy into the mission and values of the team.


The Art Wellness Exchange is based on Herbert Blumer's Symbolic Interactionism (Blumer 1969, Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method, University of California Press), which highlights the following principles:


  1. People act toward things, including each other, on the basis of the meanings they have for them.

  2. These meanings are derived through social interaction with others.

  3. These meanings are managed and transformed through an interpretive process that people use to make sense of and handle the objects that constitute their social worlds.


The Art Wellness Exchange utilizes the arts as a sounding board to generate narrative and drive connection through shared experiences. Hillary Elfenbein (2006), assistant professor at Berkley, published a study linking emotional intelligence with team performance at work. She found that “teams with greater average emotional intelligence have higher team functioning than [did] groups with lower emotional intelligence”. According to the US Department of Labor, teamwork involves building relationships and working with other people using a number of important skills and habits.


What is the ROI of Emotional Intelligence?


According to Psychology Today:


  • Emotional intelligence training can yield a 1484% return on investment for organizations.

  • Fifty percent of employees quit due to a bad manager, so emotional intelligence training can reduce employee turnover.

  • Emotional intelligence in executives has also been linked to higher profit-earning companies.


It is vital to invest in the mental fitness of your people, through system-wide enhancements rather than individual interventions. While the benefits of personal development training have historically been difficult to translate into cold, hard cash, research shows a clear (and sizable) financial benefit across industries of all shapes and sizes, particularly when it comes to emotional intelligence training. The Art Wellness Exchange allows you to customize your team building approach, sparking creative processing to drive connection. If you would like to learn more about the Art Wellness Exchange, contact us today.

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