What Makes a Great Team?
By: Recruiting Specialist
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. Here are ten characteristics you should seek when recruiting to create a great team:
- Mutual respect. 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. Inevitably, those six degrees of separation that connect us all will take shape and your team will discover common ground and mutual connections. 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.
- 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.
- 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?