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Ten Emotionally Intelligent Team Player Tips

Emotionally intelligent team leaders know that serving others is the key to better business results, greater team involvement and happier followers.

I recently spoke with the CEO of a San Francisco Bay Area company regarding providing executive coaching and leadership development for their senior executives. She asked some very insightful questions to determine fit. She specifically wanted to know how I work with different personality styles, and my methods for facilitating change in thinking and behavior.

The CEO and I spoke about my emotional intelligence-based approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior based on neuroscience is important for coaching executives. We also spoke of the need for her organization to create a high performing team-based culture where innovation and creativity flourish. As part of that effort, leaders would need to be more collaborative team players.

The CEO is interested in collaborating with me to help create an emotionally intelligent and socially wise corporate culture based on trust, involvement and respect. We further discussed how company leaders could become more mindful team players by working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant.

High Performing Teams

Teams are the most common business unit for high performance. Although the word gets used loosely and not always appropriately, there is universal acceptance that teams create opportunities for high performance results. A team’s performance includes both individual results and collective work products, yielding sums greater than its parts.

True teamwork promotes individual and collective performance. Effective teams value listening and communicating, sharing work responsibilities, provide support and can make work more social and enjoyable. Members are supportive of one another and recognize the interests and achievements of each other. When they are working the way they should, they are incredibly effective in achieving high performance results.

Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith (The Wisdom of Teams; Teams at the Top) provide this definition of teams:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

Emotionally Intelligent Teams

The important difference between effective teams and ineffective ones lies in the emotional intelligence of the group. Teams have an emotional intelligence of their own. It is comprised of the emotional intelligence of individual members, plus a collective competency of the group. Everyone contributes to the overall level of emotional intelligence, with the team leader having more influence. Teams can improve their emotional intelligence and boost their performance when comprised of good team players.

Good Team Players

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” - Henry Ford

A good team player is someone who will unite others for a cause by sharing information and ideas and empower them and repose trust in them. So it is essentially shared responsibility, with each team player owning up for what they do.

A team player unites others for a cause by sharing information/ideas; empowers them and reposes trust in them. So it is essentially shared responsibility, with each team player owning up for what they do.

To be a good team player you will likely model most of the following behaviors:

Ten EQ Team Player Tips

1. Mindful and Self-Aware:

Honing the skills of awareness leads to mindfulness—becoming aware of what’s going on inside and around us on several levels. Mindfulness is engaging with others on the team in a state of full, conscious awareness of one’s whole self, other team members and the context in which we work.

2. Adaptable:

You need to adapt and be open to change so you can fit into the team. Be willing to help others and learn and have the power to think outside the box. You may have to re-evaluate your role in the team from time to time. Good team players roll with the punches; they adapt to ever-changing situations. They don't complain or get stressed out because something new is being tried or some new direction is being set.

3. Collaborative:

Collaboration is the key to sustainable success.You need to meet the challenges head-on as a team. There needs to be seamless co-ordination among the members and each one of you has to deliver, working together I the spirit of cooperation. For productive collaboration, you need to be focused and result oriented. Your perceptions need to be clear, transparent and tangible to the entire team.

4. Positive:

Being positive isn’t simply about being nice and giving in, nor does it mean suppressing negative information and emotions. Both are critical for optimal performance. Apparently, however, a 3:1 positivity-to-negativity ratio is the tipping point for individuals and business teams to go from average to flourishing.

5. Communicative:

Teams need people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team. That's what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not shy away from making a point but makes it in the best way possible — in a positive, confident, and respectful manner.

6. Listens actively:

Good listeners are essential for high-performing teams to function effectively. Teams need team players who can absorb, understand, and consider ideas and points of view from other people without debating and arguing every point. Such a team member also can receive criticism without reacting defensively.

7. Problem-solver:

The whole reason why a team is created is usually to address problems. Good team players are willing to deal with all kinds of problems in a solutions-oriented manner. They're problem-solvers don't look for others to fault or place blame. Powerful team players get problems out in the open for discussion, and then collaborate with others to find solutions and form action plans.

8. Reliable:

You can count on a reliable team member to get work done, and do her fair share; to work hard and meet commitments. She follows through on assignments. Consistency is essential for success. You can count on her to always give her best, and deliver high levels of performance.

9. Empathic:

Empathy is the ability to step outside oneself and see the world as other people do. Good team players perform at optimum levels when they know they make a difference. When they demonstrate compassion and kindness for other team members, they become more engaged and energized.

10. Trust:

Trust  entails unavoidable risks.
As a species, we are hardwired to trust others, especially those who appear similar to ourselves and who have similar interests. Trust is one of the essential ingredients to build a great relationship, winning team and culture of greatness. Without trust you can’t have engaged relationships and without engaged relationships you won’t be a successful team player.

Trust is essential for business success, and it’s the foundation of our team relationships. Open and honest communications support the decision to trust. Lack of communication and transparency creates suspicion. Coach savvy team players ask open-ended questions of team members to facilitate dialogue, and really listen to the answers.


Good team players treat fellow team members with courtesy and respect—not just some of the time but consistently.
In addition, they show understanding and the appropriate support of other team members to help get the job done. They display a sense of humor and know how to have fun.

Team players are not ego bound, but care about the team achieving meaningful results. In the end, their involvement is seeing the team succeed and knowing they have contributed to this joint success.

Winning as a team is one of the great motivators of employee performance. Good team players are happy to be an integral part of the team, and enthusiastically tap into their intrinsic motivation and drive to succeed.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to grow emotionally intelligent leaders? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to be better team players? Good team players tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to collaboratively create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Am I a good team player?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching as part of their transformational high performance leadership development program.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help you become a better team player. You can become a team leader who models emotional and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

Working Resources is a San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership Retreats

...About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist and Executive Coach
Trusted Advisor to Senior Leadership Teams

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist and executive coach. He is the president of Working Resources, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies select and develop emotionally intelligent leaders. Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

“Maynard Brusman is one of the foremost coaches in the United States. He utilizes a wide variety of assessments in his work with senior executives and upper level managers, and is adept at helping his clients both develop higher levels of emotional intelligence and achieve breakthrough business results. As a senior leader in the executive coaching field, Dr. Brusman brings an exceptional level of wisdom, energy, and creativity to his work.” Jeffrey E. Auerbach, Ph.D., President, College of Executive Coaching

For more information, please go to, write to, or call 415-546-1252.

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