Developing Effective Teams

Great teams are the building blocks of any organization. They have shared goals, clear roles, transparent processes for solving problems and making decisions, and the ability to deal with conflicts constructively. A good team may have some of these elements, but a great team will have them all.

There are three key dimensions of great teamwork. The first is alignment on direction. There should be a shared belief about what the company is striving toward and the team’s role in getting there. The second is high-quality interaction. The team should be characterized by trust, open communication, and a willingness to embrace conflict. The third is a strong sense of renewal. There should be an environment in which team members are energized by feeling they can take risks, innovate, learn from outside ideas, and achieve something that matters—often against the odds.

Here are 9 qualities shared by teams that go above and beyond to achieve results:

  1. It’s About Respect. Respect is a crucial requirement for a healthy team and work environment. It promotes increased productivity, efficiency, and growth while demonstrating value for individual’s abilities, qualities, and achievements, and that their role is vital to the team and organization’s success. Being respected and valued promotes a positive culture in which employees are loyal, fulfilled, and motivated to perform at their best. Those who are not respectful of others are unprofessional and a threat to the health of their company.Respect opinions, experiences, backgrounds, and differences. We may not always agree or like a member of our team, but we need to respect them. It may mean agreeing to disagree. If we want to receive respect, we need to demonstrate it.
  1. It’s About Trust. Trust is crucial for a high-performing team to succeed. A team without trust can’t be inspired, resolve conflicts, embrace stretch goals, or communicate effectively. The lack of trust slows down everything.
  1. Set Clear Expectations and Responsibilities. High-performing teams need to have clear and defined roles, responsibilities, and specifics on what success looks like. As that changes—and it most likely will—teams need to continue to communicate and provide input and feedback when and where it’s needed. When there is no trust, there’s no room for safety, innovation, or risk-taking. 
  1. Accountability. As a leader, your role is to hold each team member accountable for meeting their performance objectives. If you don’t, the rest of the team will disengage and check out and not fulfill their objectives. It also means holding yourself accountable. 
  1. Empowerment. To reach stretch goals, high-performing teams must be empowered to be critical thinkers, innovative, and comfortable with making mistakes, and making decisions. Leaders need to “let go” and empower their team. 
  1. Inspire Instead of Push. High-performance teams are skilled at creating energy and enthusiasm. Team members feel inspired when they know they are on a mission. They feel that what they are doing is of great importance. 
  1. Resolve Differences and Work Together. High-performing teams know that conflicts can tear teams apart but also that they provide opportunity for growth. They understand the need to resolve differences and promote cooperation.High-performing teams address problems quickly and directly before they grow. It’s okay to agree to disagree sometimes; you are trying to create one voice as a team, which requires openness, transparency, and addressing all issues. That requires compromise and alignment.Teams that focus on cooperation versus competition achieve outstanding results.
  1. Constant Communication. It’s easy for anyone to get distracted or miss a turn. To keep a high-performing team focused on the vision, you may feel like a “broken record,” especially at first.High-performance teams must stay on message so they will constantly communicate and keep other people focused on the vision and mission they’re trying to accomplish. Teams that successfully innovate are used to questioning the message and ensuring that it fits their needs and situation.
  1. Set “Stretch” Goals. Create stretch goals for your team and generate an internal drive to accomplish the impossible. People aren’t apt to do extraordinary things without motivation. When you set stretch goals, you help your team recognize what they are personally capable of. Inspiring your team to achieve something out of the ordinary helps them see how exceptional they can be when they work together. Do this and watch their engagement and pride skyrocket.

You can read more in Chuck Mollor’s best selling book The Rise of the Agile Leader. Can You Make the Shift?

Want to learn more about your team’s style to see if you are ready for rapid innovation? Take the Behavioral Assessment to get you started.

About MCG Partners

MCG Partners is a leadership and talent optimization firm–aligning your business and people strategy for maximum results.