I recently ran a mini-workshop on the subject of teamwork in the workplace. We’ve all been involved in different groups, teams, or committees in our work. Sometimes, it’s a wonderful, synergistic experience. Other times, it can be dull, unproductive, and detrimental to morale. With so many of us experiencing both sides of this coin in our careers, it’s no wonder that the group had a lot to talk about.
It certainly brought up some interesting insights when I asked the group ‘what makes a successful team?’
What Makes a Successful Team
Engaging a group of people in a workshop setting was beneficial for teasing out answers to this elusive question. With input from different voices, we were able to settle on four factors that make a successful team. In our experience as a group, every successful group we’d been a part of at work had all four of these, to some degree.
1. A shared vision
If each member of a team is in it for different reasons, then it will be hard to achieve harmony within that group. A team needs a shared vision or mission that they are constantly working towards, so each action they perform is done with that in mind. Even when people are contributing different pieces, and different skills, they should all be laddering up to the same goal.
2. Strong leadership
Good leadership is like the glue that holds a team together. It can turn a good team into an amazing one. A strong leader helps to motivate the team towards their targets and keeps everything, and everyone, running smoothly. Remember, leadership can be shared among more than one person!
3. Good communication
Communication is important in many aspects of life, but it’s essential when it comes to teamwork. Poor communication can lead to conflict within the group, which is unproductive. A good team talks openly together and listens to what each other has to say. Having well-designed communication channels removes a lot of stress and uncertainty from teamwork.
4. Clear roles and objectives
If everyone understands the purpose of the team and their specific role within it, then everything becomes much clearer. There is less chance of people’s work overlapping and stepping on each other’s toes. With clear roles and objectives, everyone can work better in harmony with one another. This is the final step that takes a decent team, to a highly effective one.
My experience of a successful team
In this workshop, I also shared a story about one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of, and what I thought made it so successful. On this team, we had total permission to be ourselves. We acted professionally, of course, but our personalities and our strengths were allowed to shine. Yes, we were busy, and sometimes it was stressful, but we knew that team success fed individual success, and vice versa.
We were even open about our career goals. Some wanted to progress, some wanted a sideways move, some wanted to stay where they were. Being open and honest helped us to make the most of our passions—and helped us work towards of personal dreams. The best teams are beneficial for everyone involved.
What makes a good team in your eyes? Follow me on Twitter to join in the conversation and share your opinion.