People and relationships are complex. Emotional intelligence is needed to identify and address such issues. These skills are often referred to in business literature as ‘soft skills’, which misrepresents how incredibly difficult it can be to get a group of human beings to work together constructively for years! This isn’t the easy stuff. It requires the manager to be a multi-skilled combination of psychologist, motivational speaker, police officer, visionary, ethics adviser, management consultant, subject-matter expert and more. It also requires members of the team to be emotionally intelligent, flexible, savvy, politically astute, forgiving and constructive!

Now, let’s work through some practical questions that get to the heart of the complex and thorny issues that are pulling your team off track. In these reflective exercises we will take a broad view of the context, culture, history and future horizon. These perspectives will deepen your understanding of the team dynamic, and also of how amenable the team will be to different interventions. A workbook of these reflective exercises can be downloaded at


First, think about the individual people in your team — about their behaviours, personalities, styles, preferences and personal circumstances. Are they acting in ways that are aggressive, fearful, confused? Are they avoiding responsibility for their work outputs or their conduct? Do they ...

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