What are the Main Characteristics of a Good Team?
Your organisation’s success or failure depends on your ability to work together as a team to reach your goal. Without a good team, your company will lack the cohesion needed to handle the wide range of tasks necessary to grow. With a good team, the united efforts of every member will propel your company to new heights of success.
But what is a good team? What are the characteristics of a good team? What elements help to maximize team efficiency and lead to better outcomes?
Below are a few of the main traits that make a team not just good, but GREAT!
If you don’t know what you’re working toward, you’re never going to get there!
A major part of a successful team is a clear, well-laid out objective. You goals need to be well-defined, as that is the only way that your team members will know what they are striving for.
Let’s say your goal is to “sell more”. Kind of vague, right? Your team is already going to be trying to “sell more”, but they have no specific goal to work toward.
But what if you set a goal of “sell 100 units of X product”? All of a sudden, your team members have a clear, quantifiable target. Together, you will be able to figure out an actionable plan to reach that goal – perhaps by selling X units per week/month for X period of time. By having clear, quantifiable goals, you make it easy for your team to know what they are working towards, and you make their objectives as realistic as possible.
How committed is your team to the success of the organisation? If some of your team sees their job only as a means of earning a paycheck, they won’t be personally invested in making your company succeed. There has to be a shared commitment to the success of your company if you want to see results.
The people who have been there from the very beginning will no doubt have that commitment, but what about the later hires, the ones you brought in to fill other roles in the company? They’re there because they can earn a living, but they may lack commitment to anything beyond carrying out their tasks.
If you’re serious about succeeding at business, you need a team that is fully committed to reaching your goals, no matter what it takes. There will always be those who are “in it for the paycheck”, but you need to ensure that your core team has the commitment and drive that will keep your company reaching for more.
The balance of your team is a lot more important than you realize! Balance is one of the vital characteristics of a good team.
There are two types of balance to strive for:
Let’s say you are an accounting firm, and your core team is made up entirely of accountants. While this will help you excel at the specific aspect of your company (accounting), what about all of the other elements- marketing, sales, human resources, and the list goes on?
If you want to succeed, your team needs to be comprised of people with all types of experience. You need input from every division in your company in order to see the real big picture.
If you have a team filled with dreamers, who’s going to keep your ideas and plans grounded in reality? If you have a team of only realists, who’s going to think big? Success only comes when you combine all the personality types into one cohesive team. Some of the people handle the dreaming, while others find a realistic way to make those dreams come true.
There always needs to be a “devil’s advocate” to counteract the “pie in the sky” types, and vice versa. The universe is governed by balance, and your team should be as well!
Who’s leading the team? Is there an experience hand at the steering wheel, or is everyone taking a turn driving? Without an experienced leader taking control, your company will be doomed.
There is no substitute for experience. You can take all of the book learning in the world and it will fall very short compared to years of experience and life lessons. If you want your company to succeed, you need someone with experience to be at the front leading your team.
Now, make no mistake: leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the best leaders are young, dynamic, and driven people, those who have the energy but lack the experience. However, if you have an experienced person to balance them out, it will help to increase your team’s chances for success.
An experienced leader will know how to steer the team, avoid interpersonal difficulties, and stay focused on the objective. There MUST be someone with experience guiding your company’s “ship”!
One of the greatest obstacles to success is a lack of power. What does this mean? Simple: your team members have to have the ability to make decisions and take risks for themselves.
If your team has to run every decision by a subcommittee or a manager, there will be a bottleneck that can halt progress in its tracks. As the team waits for the decision to be made, nothing gets done. Talk about the OPPOSITE of team efficiency!
However, if you give your team members the power to make decisions, all of a sudden things start getting done. There’s no waiting for the final verdict from “on high”, but the team members are able to take things into their own hands to get them done.
That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be a system of checks and balances in place. If your team members start doing their own thing in their own way, your company could suffer as a result of poorly conceived plans and not fully thought-through decisions.
It’s all about finding the balance. Empower your team to make the decisions they need to in order to make progress on their tasks, but handle all the important decisions as a united team.
Clear Roles and Procedures
Who is handling what, and how is it getting done? If it’s not clear to your team, you can be sure your ship will soon veer off course.
For maximum team efficiency, everyone needs to know what their roles and responsibilities in the company are. They need to know what their primary task is, and what secondary tasks they are responsible for handling. Once they understand the full scope of their role, they can focus on doing what needs to be done.
But you also need to clearly lay out the processes and procedures for each task. How are your team members going to achieve their goals? What is the step-by-step process for delivering on each aspect of their role? It’s vital that your processes and procedures are clearly outlined so everyone can be on the same page.
Without clear, effective communication, your team is doomed to failure!
Communication is one of the most important characteristics of a good team. It’s what ensures that everyone is handling their own business as efficiently as possible, with no overlap. It’s what helps you to avoid interpersonal issues among the members of the team, as well as stay abreast of any changes within the structure of your team.
Every healthy marriage or relationship is built on communication; the ‘relationship’ of your team will only work if you communicate with each other.
A team that can think outside the box is far more likely to succeed. There is always a ‘way things are done’, but most of the time, coming up with a new way to do things can lead to bigger and better things.
Yes, the “tried and true” is always more comfortable, but it won’t set you and your company apart from every other company in your industry. If you want to be better and more unique, you’re going to have to find a way to differentiate yourself.
It doesn’t have to be a total overhaul of the industry! Take a look at the GoPro, a digital camera not much better than any others on the market, but with one major innovation: it’s built for active use. GoPro has dominated its niche thanks to the simple change in its design.
Innovation is definitely a major component in the success of your company!
In the end, it all comes down to a team that is cohesive, communicative and driven. Balance, empowerment, and innovation all play key roles in the achievement of your clearly defined goals. If you can bring all these characteristics of a good team together, you have a much greater chance of success!
What do you think of these eight vital characteristics? Have any more ideas you think belong on this list? Leave a comment below and share your experience or thoughts…