Rise Above Lousy Teamwork: 7 Competencies of Teams that Work

Lousy teamwork wastes time and squanders resources.

We’ve all been frustrated with teams that underperformed. But what are the key factors for teams that work? Scott Tanenbaum and Eduardo Salas distill the answer into seven competencies.


Success requires definition.

How would you know if you had an effective team? Scott and Ed offer three components of effective teams in their new book, “Teams that Work.”

Effective teams:

  1. Generate positive results over time.
  2. Work through challenges and bounce back from adversity.
  3. Maintain energy, vibrancy, and resources needed for future success.

7 drivers of team effectiveness:

#1. Capability.

“Does the team have the knowledge, skill, personality, and other personal attributes needed to complete assignment, overcome challenges, and adapt as needed to sustain performance?”

#2. Cooperation.

“Do they trust one another? Do they believe they can be ‘genuine’ with other members on the team? Are they committed to the team and the work they do?”

#3. Coordination.

“Are the team members exhibiting the necessary teamwork behaviors for team success?”

#4. Communication.

“Communication is about information exchange – to accomplish work, maintain awareness, and foster positive relationship both within and outside the team.”

#5. Cognition.

“If we were to interview each person on your team separately, what would they say about the team’s priorities? About who is responsible for certain tasks or who gets to make certain decisions?”

#6. Conditions.

“Local conditions such as resource availability, degree of autonomy, work environment, and time availability can influence team performance.”

#7. Coaching.

How might team leaders effectively provide advice and promote ongoing team learning?

Myths about teamwork:

How much familiarity is enough for effective teams?

What blocks a team’s effectiveness?

Which driver of team effectiveness seems most relevant to you?

Bonus material:

Teams that Work: The Seven Drivers of Team Effectiveness