One bad apple DOES spoil the whole barrel
Team-work is often slower and always more complex than individual-work; it requires more interaction and greater skill.
Teams go through five stages: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Typically, they are not distinct stages; forming and storming overlap. Additionally, storming, norming, and performing may occur simultaneously.
The success of teams is determined before they are formed, when team-members are selected – who is on the team matters more than what the team does. Random team-members never deliver exceptional results.
Diversity represents the strength, complexity, and difficulty of team-work. If diversity isn’t useful, don’t form teams.
10 Teamwork attributes and skills:
- Self-awareness. You must know what you think and how you are perceived.
- Communication. Beyond knowing what you think, you must effectively express it.
- Conflict resolution.
- Trust building.
- Technical insight.
Negatives don’t produce positive outcomes; they frustrate and constrain.
One “wrong” person destroys team-effectiveness. One dominant person can destroy team-work by silencing diversity. One withdrawn, disagreeable person is a bottleneck to efficiency; everyone dances around them. One irresponsible person blocks progress by arriving at meetings unprepared.
Effective teams consist of individuals who openly share their perspective. Your genius seems simple to you, perhaps obvious, but to others its brilliance.
The fear of looking dumb makes teams dumb. Ineffective team-members ask privately in the hall. When questions aren’t asked publicly, real team-meetings often happen after the meeting between the power-members.
Have you seen great teams working? What made them work?
Have you seen teams crash and burn? What happened?
#9 Responsibility (or true ownership) may be the key internal piece which, when intertwined with #5 Listening as the key external behavior can produce effective teamwork. If you see yourself as responsible, you continually build those communication and tech skills. While we all talk about how important listening is, often there is too much talking about it. 😉 Knowing your sub-role within the group process is also important.
In addition to those you have listed, there are a couple of other gaps in teams that impact success, those include ineffective facilitator, storytellers, and leaders not assuming a team role, but maintaining their leadership aura.
Dan – really resonate with this article, except for the “Say it” paragraph. Did you mis-type?
The great teams I have seen work (and been a part of) had at their core trust. Once members mistrust one another, the flow of power and information go, as you put it, into “private hall conversations” and are diverted entirely away from the goal at hand.
Great teams work on collective focus and goal. They work effectively when they are less biased or unbiased towards each other. I think effective functioning of team is determined by emotional engagement and feeling management. when each member treat others feeling with respect and dignity, that is the good start of any team. When team member are more concerned about the goal than personality, then team succeeds in its effort. So, great team understand, respect and concentrate in single direction. They know that goal achievement is collective which is possible by individual effort.
I think team crash and burns when members have ego and arrogance. Team also crashes when there are dominant people with little knowledge. There are complete absence of empathy and integrity in the team. Team also does not have emotional engagement when it crashes.
I believe entirely that the team, over time, reflects the leader. I’ve experienced this first-hand on several teams. Enthusiasm and negativity are both very contagious dispositions. As a leader, we have to set the tone for our teams, model the behaviors, and inspect what we expect. I think we need to accept that everyone has a bad day, and create an environment where that is okay on a temporary basis – so long as we are also creating a culture of encouragement and tenacity.
Most of the crash and burn I have seen is when the leader allows cancer to spread, usually from not setting proper expectations, playing favorites, or not following up on performance. I think we all know what cancerous teammates look like. It’s harder when the cancer is a top performer. You have to be consistent with what you expect of the environment, but tailor what you expect of the person. Whether a performer or non-performer, cancer will spread to the rest of your team, which will eventually make it difficult to properly manage and motivate.
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I worked for a Fortune 500 company that “said” it used collaboration. However, the small teams frequently felt unlistened to by the power players (read VP’s). No matter how good the team or the msg; the outbound msg has to be put in terms that bring the listener (VP) to think he/she thought of the idea 1st. Man does not like any idea but his own. (Bible)
“Have you seen teams crash and burn? What happened?”
Can you say, ‘micro-manager’?
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