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Great Teams are made of Great Characteristics


Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me.

Over the years, as teams have grown more diverse, dispersed, digital, and dynamic, collaboration has become more complex. But though teams face new challenges, their success still depends on a core set of fundamentals. 

All team dynamics are different. Teams depend on the personalities of the members, as well as the leadership style of managers. However, the ingredients for what makes a successful team are similar across the board. Having mutual respect, common and aligned goals, open communication, and patience can all help make for a successful team.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”… Aristotle

Much of the work done in many organizations, is done collaboratively by teams. The team is the molecular unit where real production happens, where innovative ideas are conceived and tested, and where employees experience most of their work. But it’s also where interpersonal issues, ill-suited skill sets, and unclear group goals can hinder productivity and cause friction.

To have a great team, there is no surefire recipe for success. A combination of solid leadership, communication, and access to good resources contribute to productive collaboration, but it all comes down to having people who understand each other and work well together. Not every team needs that one superstar player to excel. Having the right mix of trust, ambition, and encouragement among your team members is crucial.

A good team is the foundation for any high-performing business. Superficially, a thriving team looks very much like any other. Here are characteristics to create a great team:

Communication. Arguably the most important component of the group. Effective communication is central to every facet of an organisation. A thriving team has open and honest discussions, sharing their thoughts, ideas and opinions. They engender a meritocracy, ensuring no-one is above anyone else and allowing everyone to feel as though they can contribute freely. Creating this sort of culture is one of the fundamental foundations of a successful team.

Problems that emerge in groups can often be traced back to issues with communication. Poor communication leads to crossed wires which in turn can lead to inefficiencies in performance and even conflict! Effective communication is imperative.

Trust and Respect. Every thriving team relies on a high degree of trust. When you know that your colleagues are reliable and competent, you can trust them to work independently toward the team goal. Knowing each other’s accomplishments and work experience plays a key role in relationship development, the catalyst for a strong team. Before a new team begins work on a project, have them meet for an extended period of time to establish familiarity and to bond. As the teamwork progresses and conflict arises – an unavoidable part of collaboration the team that has respect for each other will be able to move past conflict towards resolution and, ultimately, completion of the goal.

Specialization. Just like a team of athletes working together in different roles to win the game, good teamwork comes from members combining their specialized talents to achieve an end goal or resolution. While one may excel at writing, another may boast superior organizational skills, while another is great at presenting to decision-makers or the art of rhetoric. Figuring out who works best where will come naturally as the team spends time together, but it is important not to suppress individual talents. Allowing each person to make their own unique contributions will lead to less conflict and a superior outcome.

Establishing objective. If the goal of the project, whether small or long-term, isn’t clear from the beginning, many hours will be wasted in frustrating meetings that go nowhere. The very first step should be to describe a clear outline of work and the projected end result. Change is always necessary along the way, and this is where our next tip comes into play. Each individual member is accountable and has responsibility for the team’s overall success.

Let's Work Together

Adaptation. Being flexible is a key trait of any team player. Confronting and resolving crises, rushing to meet deadlines, or picking up the slack for an absent or dismissed colleague are all problems that require adaptation. If someone on a team is unable to change gears and refocus, odds are more issues will arise to further complicate the workflow process.

No finger pointing. When a big mistake is made, it is easy for members of a team to find a scapegoat or individual to lay the blame on. This will only lead to distrust and low morale. It is possible that if one person keeps making critical mistakes, they should no longer be a part of the team, but that is not always the case. The entire team should accept the responsibility for the mistake and move forward to correct it and make sure it does not occur again.

Diversity and Heterogeneity: Thriving teams value diversity. They recognise each individual’s strengths and their preferences to assign tasks, and ultimately to boost performance. Each team member is valued for their unique talents and skills. Collectively, a diverse skill set, way of thinking, experiences, idea generation and problem solving helps to create an effective team and enhance results.

Admission of failure when necessary. This tip can go hand in hand with number five. If the desired outcome of a project has setbacks or is predicted to be a complete disaster, it is better to admit failure and start over rather than giving up or presenting a flawed product. A good team will roll with the punches, recognize that each step is essentially an experiment, and stay positive even when facing serious setbacks.

Patience. Working with others requires the most the most difficult trait of all: patience and tolerance. We all strive for it, but few people are truly unflappable. Patience will keep a team motivated and allay conflict.

Delegation of duties. A capable leader will know one of his most important jobs is to delegate responsibility. One or two team leaders should never be saddled with all the grunt work. Instead the workflow should be spread out evenly and each person given a reasonable amount of projects and adequate access to resources.

A natural-born leader. As noted earlier, a team does not need a superstar to excel. But they do need a self-assured, trustworthy, ambitious leader that keeps morale high and knows when to rally the troops. A good leader will listen constructively, act as a mentor, monitor the quantitative and qualitative results, provide consistent feedback, and maintain a good rapport with all team players.

Competitiveness. A healthy dose of competition is fuel for inspiration. When you are working on a team, all your cards are on the table, so it is easy for people to become jealous or possessive of each other’s attributes or contributions. And this motivates others to work harder and develop even better ideas, because it makes people ask themselves, if he came up with this, can I create something even better?

Manage Conflict.This is an essential component to aiding team growth. It is important that when issues arise they are not avoided or ignored. When managed effectively there are a plethora of benefits to be seen including: the quality of decision-making; improved creativity; increased scope of view; increased participation from team members and more effective communication. It is also important for the team leader to differentiate between a culture of challenge/disagreement and blame/criticism. If the environment empowers team members to challenge one another in a constructive and open manner, then the working relationship within the team is likely to be more creative and productive.

Being in the right team is important for one’s future relevance, because, like in the Aristotle quote, the whole can be more powerful than the sum of its parts. Even if you are a freelancer or a tiny team, you work in collaboration with others – be it the same company or with extended teams of partners. These same ideas apply to those situations as well.

All teams, naturally, are different. All teams, too, will be fluid and evolving structures; people come and go (including team leaders); challenges or priorities change; the dynamic constantly adjusts. To that end, creating a thriving successful is something that, as a leader, is never ‘done’ or completed.

Nevertheless, successful, thriving teams do tend to share a range of characteristics and attributes. To cultivate, share and embed these in your team is now your mission.

Collaboration has become more complex, but success still depends on the fundamentals.

I encourage you to think about this. For further reading, check out Google’s page on these results.

Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced, you came across in your life in the comments below. If you enjoyed this, or any other other posts, I’d be honoured  if you’d share it with your family, friends and followers!

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