NMK - Life Coaching and Communication - Three Norms to Regulate Emotions in Groups

Three Norms to Regulate Emotions in Groups

In an era of teamwork, it's crucial to sort out what exactly makes groups in an organization be professionally effective. Just like people, the best and most successful teams are the emotionally intelligent ones. This requires managers and leaders to not only create awareness of emotions in groups, but to teach team members how to regulate these emotions.

We’ve discussed in the previous blog post “Norms to Achieve Emotional Intelligence in Groups” some keys, or “norms”, to create emotional interaction and awareness in businesses to accomplish team goals. As we have stated earlier, the aforementioned norms alone are not really enough. So, here are additional norms which will guide managers and leaders to regulate group emotions to reach ultimate results.

Leaders and managers have to deal and regulate emotions in groups on three distinct levels, they are: the individual level, the group’s, and during cross-boundaries. Correspondingly, Druskat & Wolff (2001) set the required norms that aid in regulating emotions for each:

On the Individual Level


  • Set ground rules and use them to point out errant behavior.
  • Call members on errant behavior.
  • Create playful devices for pointing out such behavior. These often emerge from the group spontaneously.
  • Do not forget to reinforce these behaviors.


  • Support members; i.e., offer help and guidance if they need it, be flexible, and provide emotional support.
  • Validate members’ contributions and let them know they are valued.
  • Protect members from attack.
  • Listen actively and carefully to each group member.
  • Respect individuality and differences in perspectives.
  • Never be derogatory or demeaning.

In Groups

Creating Resources for Working with Emotions

  • Make time to discuss difficult issues, and address the emotions that surround them.
  • Find creative, shorthand ways to acknowledge and express the emotion in the group.
  • Create fun ways to acknowledge and relieve stress and tension.
  • Express acceptance of members’ emotions.

Creating an Affirmative Environment

  • Reinforce that the team can always face some challenges. Yet, ensure that you and every group member remain optimistic. For example, say things like: “we can get through this” or “nothing will stop us”.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Remind members of the value and prominence of their group’s mission.
  • Whenever the team faces a problem, remind them how they successfully solved a similar issue before.
  • Focus on problem solving rather than blaming.

Solving Problems Proactively

  • Anticipate problems and address them before they happen.
  • Take the initiative to understand and get what you need to be effective.
  • Do it yourself if others aren’t responding. Videlicet, learn and accept that sometimes, you must rely on yourself.

During Cross-Boundaries

Building External Relationships

  • Create opportunities for networking and interaction.
  • Ask about the needs of other teams.
  • Provide support for other teams.
  • Invite others to team meetings if they might have a stake in the matter at hand.


Druskat, V. U., & Wolff, S. B. (2001). Building the emotional intelligence of groups. Harvard business review79(3), 80-91. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2001/03/building-the-emotional-intelligence-of-groups

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NMK – Life Coaching and Communication

NMK - Life Coaching and Communication - Three Norms to Regulate Emotions in Groups