The measure of a successful team is comprised of three factors:
- Achieving their stated performance goals
satisfying the unique goal of each team member
becoming more effective as a high-performing team
Why, despite our best intentions, are these goals so elusive?
The fact is, research shows that many teams fail to achieve high levels of performance, often because the emphasis is in the wrong place. We spend a lot of time worrying about who is on the team, but that matters much less than how the team structures and coordinates their work, how they communicate with one another, and how they manage conflict and resolve disagreements.
Successful teams have a few things in common that differentiate them from poorly functioning teams:
Structure and clarity. What are your goals, and who is doing what? This seems incredibly obvious, but when you have 4-5 people on the team, all with diverse skills, and different ideas as to what the critical focus is… things can fall apart fairly rapidly.
- Openness and Psychological Safety. Are team members able to be completely honest about what they believe and feel without reprisals? Can they take risks? Can they admit when they are unsure or don’t know the answer?
- Trust and Respect. Can team members count on each other to do what they say they will do, and also believe in each others’ skills and competency?
- Conflict resolution. How teams deal with disagreements and manage conflicts is critical. Over a decade of our research shows that how proactive teams are in managing their conflict and getting at the root causes of their problems is not only critical for team performance, but also for individual satisfaction as well as for long-term team viability.