Team Management Systems

Team Management Profile & Emotional Intelligence: More than the sum of their parts

By Roy Howells, Civil Service College
Copyright © Roy Howells. All rights reserved.

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This paper was presented at the TMS Development International Conference, Making Connections, Changing Perceptions, Bath, 6-7 June 2000.

"Taken alone, the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile is a mightily impressive tool. Combine it with Hay/McBer's recent developments in the field of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), however, and you add a whole new dimension to management development", says Roy Howells of the Civil Service College.

It's now around 13 years since I first ran across the Team Management Profile (TMP) as a M. Phil student. I gained accreditation for its use a few years later, and successfully incorporated it into my work - first with the Ministry of Defence training team, and now with the Civil Service College. I've used it consistently ever since.

Last year I travelled to Boston, USA to familiarize myself with new thinking, in the shape of the Hay/McBer Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI), and became accredited in its use. Since then I've designed for the Civil Service College two programs that focus on EQ - for senior and middle managers respectively, to broaden our portfolio of management development products. While the ECI has been central to these new programs, the TMP has been a key component, and I believe the two approaches to represent more than the sum of their parts when combined.

I'm delighted to say that, so far, the EQ programs have been highly successful, justifying our initial confidence that we were on to something good. That's not to say, however, that our hearts weren't in our mouths when the time came for the talking to stop and the action to begin. Participants on the first program were very senior people, and we knew that taking three days out from the office represented a big investment of their time. They would want results, and largely due to EQ being a comparatively new idea (at least in the sense of management development) we knew we faced a risk of the idea being dismissed as esoteric if we didn't get it right. While I won't claim we hit the nail flush on the head, we finished the first run excited at the things that had happened and the responses from participants. Tellingly, even for those who remained undecided about the relevance of EQ to their situation, the experience had clearly been a good one.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Since it was first published in the UK in 1995, Daniel Goleman's book 'Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ' has sold over 4 million copies worldwide, and is still going strong.

The book's central thesis is that emotional competence is a learnable prerequisite for good people and good societies, and Goleman posits that (what he interprets as) American society unravelling can be attributed to a collective lack in this area. The propensity of alienated American youth to express itself with semiautomatic weaponry in school playgrounds provides dramatic examples of 'emotional hijacking', the result of 'emotion out of control' and part of a wider picture of an 'erratic tide of outburst and regret'.

The rigor in Goleman's argument is provided by recent developments in neuroscience, in particular that which has allowed scientists to track brain activity. To cut a very long story very short indeed, at times of stress we are still very much in thrall to a primitive part of our brain, which reacts to perceived threat as dramatically as it does irrationally.

According to Joseph LeDoux of the Centre for Neural Science at New York University, the part of the brain known as the amygdala is key to the study of emotional response. It constantly scans situations for trouble, and takes charge during emergencies, releasing fight or flight hormones and prompting sometimes drastic and inappropriate action - Goleman's 'neural hijacking'. Over time, Goleman's argument goes, our responses become grooved. We've all heard the folk tales of war veterans killing their children when they sneak up behind them and shout 'boo!' and, less dramatically, we've all been incapacitated by 'mental static' - unwelcome emotional responses to people, things and situations.

Goleman believes the world would be a better place if we could learn to control such impulsive brain activity, and offers a compelling argument that this is possible. His follow-up book 'Working With Emotional Intelligence' locates his thinking specifically in the workplace, and he cites a wide range of research demonstrating that people able to retain some control over impulse get more from life and are more successful.

"Every business person knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly-skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid - but not extraordinary - intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared" says Daniel Goleman in an article for the Harvard Business Review in November-December 1988. This is the EQ argument at its most dramatic - the brilliant lone wolf specialist losing out to the people-friendly all-rounder. Indeed research suggests that IQ is only 20% responsible from the success enjoyed by high-flyers, and that leadership is 90% EQ.

Goleman accepts, however, that in the vast majority of cases people with high EQ will also have a high IQ. If it is EQ that makes the difference, the obvious question for employers is 'How do I make sure I hire and keep emotionally intelligent people?' which in turn begs the question: 'How can we measure it?' Applied to managerial roles, EQ highlights the desirability of being able to recognize the behavior of those around us, to empathize with them, and to think about how our behavior affects them.

Measuring EQ

This line of inquiry has resulted in the hottest development topic of recent years.

In the mid-1980s the US financial services company Metropolitan Life was hiring 5,000 salespeople a year and training them at a cost of more than -30,000 each. Around half would leave the company during the first year, and four out of five by the end of their fourth year. The reason was simple - selling life insurance involved having the door slammed in their faces time and time again. The company had a problem - how to recruit people better at handling frustration, who could take refusals as challenges.

Psychologist Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania was called in and invited to test his theories about the importance of optimism to people's success. He had found that when optimists fail they attribute the failure to something they can change, while others were more prone to blaming a personal quality they could not overcome.

Seligman tracked 15,000 new workers who had taken two tests - the company's usual screening exam and another to measure levels of optimism. One group failed the screening test but emerged from the other as 'superoptimists'. This group performed best of all in the workplace, and by a considerable margin. Since then a welter of research studies have added to the belief that EQ is by far the most important characteristic of high-performing people.

We have already touched on optimism as a factor in individual success, which is part of the broader ability to avoid being swamped by emotional feelings. Anyone that has suffered from examination nerves will know how 'emotional static' can impair our ability to perform. No less important in the work environment, however, is the ability to recognize the behavior of those around us, to empathize with them, and to think about how our behavior affects them - reflected in the range of EQ measurement tools now available.

As with everything new that comes along, there have been concerns about the validity for the claims made on behalf of EQ. 'It's just management by niceness' is one criticism, with the implication that the approach lacks weight. Goleman disagrees, pointing out that EQ has nothing to do with 'letting it all hang out' and everything to do with controlling emotions so that they are used appropriately.

'How can you measure emotions?' is another sceptic's reaction, and not one without merit. Whereas IQ tests measure performance on the ability to answer questions correctly, there are no correct answers to questions about how you feel or what you do in given situations.

It is perhaps symptomatic of the relative youth of EQ as a management discipline that there is, as yet, no orthodoxy with regard to measuring EQ, although I believe it is starting to happen. Until recently, the most advanced methods, pioneered in the UK by the Henley Management Centre and ASE, broke EQ down into the following competencies:

  • Emotional Resilience
  • Motivation
  • Interpersonal Sensitivity
  • Influence
  • Decisiveness
  • Self-Awareness
  • Conscientiousness and Integrity

More recently, however, The Hay/McBer model, developed in conjunction with Daniel Goleman and another EQ pioneer, Richard Boyatzis, has further simplified the categorization of EQ to:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Skills

These four core competencies are broken down into twenty sub-competencies. To get a feel for the territory, punch the phrase 'emotional intelligence' into an Internet search engine, and you will find a range of methods. Most, if not all, will bear some resemblance to the two described above.

The Hay/McBer ECI compiles information via 360 degree feedback and compares self-reported characteristics with those attributed by others - managers, peers and subordinates being typical. This information is then compiled to offer specific scores against prescribed levels of competence under the four headings and their many subheadings. It is a comprehensive and detailed approach that offers participants direct pointers as to where their performance could improve. Crucial to our rationalizing when designing EQ courses was the idea that a context must be provided in which behavior can be examined and considered, before change can be meaningfully contemplated. This is where the TMP comes into play.

Put bluntly, the Team Management Profile gives respondents a steer on their preferences as to what they do and how they prefer to do it. ECI then takes the process a stage further, offering people an insight into how their preferences impact upon their own performance and the way they interact with others. If recognizing and then understanding one's own behavior are the first and second stages in effecting change, then the combination of TMP and ECI represents an excellent method of getting to a stage we might call 'insight'. It is one thing to better understand the past, however, but quite another to influence the future. Becoming a more effective manager requires that insight gained is translated into action. Here, again, the Team Management Wheel comes into its own.

If EQ is about understanding and managing our emotional responses and those of others, the TMP helps us to understand the preferences that make up our own personalities and those we are likely to encounter. From there it should be possible to at least guess at the likely range of responses prompted by any particular social interaction. From there it a short step to anticipating and allowing for any areas that may throw up difficulties. For example, I am an Explorer-Promoter, and I happily accept the characteristics that the Team Management Profile attributes to me. I am happiest when initiating ideas, I like variation in my work, I get bored easily and I am a strong on communication and empathy. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, I have a fairly strong extroverted preference.

So what systematic areas of possible conflict do I find when I look around the Wheel? To take Thruster-Organizers as an example, it is possible that I will not strike such personalities as being sufficiently results-orientated or corporately conscientious - things that are typically important to them. In turn, I may become irritated by what I see as the Thruster-Organizer's 'results at all costs' approach and apparent unwillingness to listen and explore. An introverted Thruster-Organizer may well present problems of a different kind - like other extroverts I sometimes have trouble with silence, and I run the risk of being perceived as talking without thinking (when of course I am developing my thinking as I speak).

Recognizing these potential clashes does not require EQ. However, anticipating their manifestations and then preventing or tempering them, does. If the ECI tells you, for example, that you tend to express your own feelings, it is possible you may misinterpret the silence of an introvert to mean that they are withholding theirs, when they may simply be processing what they think before speaking. It is not hard to see how an unwelcome situation might develop, given such a potent chemistry, but the self-knowledge afforded by EQ offers an insight into the behaviors of both parties, with the TMP offering clues as to why. Applying the same method to the other personality types on the Wheel (and taking a look at the way others like to operate) should suggest appropriate behavior approaches.

EQ is young, and I dare say there will be continued debate over the measurement of its competencies. Nonetheless, its impact has already been considerable, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will become a mainstream management development tool very quickly. TMP and EQ combined, if used properly, can provide an approach that gives managers not only an idea of where they are and where they need to go, but also where they need to look in order to raise their game.

Copyright © Roy Howells. All rights reserved.

Roy Howells has been a Training and Development Consultant at the UK Civil Service College since 1989. Prior to this he spent two periods in training with the Ministry of Defence. His portfolio includes Management, Personal Development and Leadership training. He has worked on international projects as well as with a variety of Departments and Agencies at home. An accredited user of a range of psychometric instruments in addition to TMP, he also holds a diploma in Hypnotherapy, Neuro Linguistic Programming and Cognitive Therapy. Roy is at the forefront of Emotional Intelligence following training in the United States and has recently been made an adviser to the Scottish Leadership Foundation. He can be contacted by e-mail:

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