We can always look at the behaviors and skills of team leaders and team members in analyzing team performance and success, but it is also instructive to look at the overall teamwork as well. The list of attributes that follows describes team units that are highly productive and successful. You can use this list as a set of criteria by which you can judge your own teamwork.
Commitment – Team members see themselves belonging to the team. They are committed to group goals above and beyond their personal goals and agendas.
Trust – Team members have faith in each other to honor commitments, maintain confidences, support each other and generally behave predictably and consistently.
Purpose – The team understands how it fits into the overall business of the organization. Team members know their roles, feel a sense of ownership, and can see how they personally, and as a team, make a difference.
Communication – Effective teams communicate effectively and frequently with each other and also communicate clearly and consistently with people outside the team about team activities. Effective internal communication allows these teams to make balanced decisions, handle conflict constructively and provide each other valuable feedback.
Involvement – Everyone has a role on the team. Despite differences in roles, perspectives and experience, team members feel a sense of partnership with each other. Contributions are respected and expected. True consensus is reached when appropriate. And teamwork goes on smoothly.
Process Orientation – High performing teams have a large number of process tools they can use when needed in their teamwork. Process tools would include: problem solving tools, planning techniques, regular meetings, agendas, and successful ways of dealing with problems, behavioral agreements, and ways to improve those processes within the team.
Continuous Improvement – The team understands the importance of continuous improvement, has the tools, knowledge and time at their disposal to make Continuous Improvement really happen. All improvement efforts are done in support of the organization’s goals and objectives.
If you feel a team is ready for such a discussion, pull out this list of attributes and have a team discussion on how well people feel their team is doing on each of these dimensions, the discussion can be enlightening and help the team move its performance to even higher levels. And as a result you’ll receive a great teamwork improvement.
©1997, All Rights Reserved, Kevin Eikenberry.