If you lead a team or an organization, whether small or large, one of your goals is (or should be) to create a high-performing, cohesive team. I don’t know a leader who would not desire this result, but I’m not sure how much effort leaders put forth to actually develop and grow their team. A high-performing team sounds great, but are you willing to do the work necessary for making it a reality?
When you are the leader, you can control the environment for your team. You can either create a culture of growth and development, or one of stagnation and complacency. A great team does not just happen — it is something that is cultivated and sustained over a period of time through hard work and dedication. As a leader, you have to decide if developing a great team is a priority for you.
So, what does a great team look like? Following are some of the essential ingredients for creating a team that is not just good, but great.
The beauty of a team is found in the unique differences each member brings to the table through their personalities and perspectives. Is this also a challenge? Of course! Some teams struggle in this area and allow it to breed dissension and discord. However, great teams embrace their diversity and find ways to learn from and respect one another, even in the midst of their differences. Don’t try to create a team where everyone thinks and acts the same.
A great team is comprised of members who are able to be transparent and authentic with one another, which builds trust among the members. Trust is the foundation on which a team is built; without it, the team will eventually crumble when times get tough or tensions run high. But when there is trust, people find a way to persevere through challenges and continue to believe in one another.
Some people might believe that an effective team does not engage in conflict, yet nothing is farther from the truth. Great teams are able to engage in conflict that is constructive because they focus on finding the best solutions to challenges. Does this mean a difference of opinion? Yes of course. But it also means having consistent dialogue that is open, honest, and objective.
Knowing the role you play is essential for the overall success of the team. When you are clear about your role, you understand how you fit in to the big picture and what you must do in order to help the team win. Great teams have members who know and embrace their role, and they do not envy or covet the roles of other team members.
Effective teams get things done, period. At the end of the day, a team is charged with achieving a goal, whether it’s a baseball team, a project team, a committee, or a company department. A great team never loses sight of their mission and what it is they are trying to accomplish, and they work together to produce results, day in and day out.
Work hard, play hard. High-performing teams have fun at work, and they genuinely enjoy what they are doing. They also set aside some intentional time to get away from work and have fun together. In addition to having fun, they enjoy being part of the team and working with their colleagues. Great teams understand that work should be fun!
These are some of the top qualities and characteristics of great teams. How is your team doing in these areas? Take the time to evaluate your current situation to see where you can grow as a team. The good news is that with hard work and the right people, your team can become a great team.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie
“Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” -Vince Lombardi
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” -Henry Ford