A strong team is made up of a lot more than hardworking employees and a good leader. By Satyaki Sarkar
The success or failure of a business, though affected hugely by decisions management makes, is ultimately determined by the work that its employees do. Be it a product or a service that you are selling, the most critical work is handled by teams working on the project. Therefore, if team members cannot work well together problems are bound to arise. So what are the characteristics that set apart a successful team?
1. Equal participation
One of the bigger elements that makes a team is the fact that it is comprised of a number of employees who work together, sharing equal responsibility to achieve results. This means that the work and responsibilities are divided equally among the team, and each member needs to pick up his/her fair share. Team members not only work in tandem, but also conscientiously carry out their roles and responsibilities of their own volition, without needing any additional reminders or intervention from senior executives. As a result, all of their opinions are given equal value and they are involved in all stages of the work process, creating a healthy, collaborative environment.
2. Constructive dissent
The common assumption might be that a great team is made up of employees who always agree with each other, and never have any arguments, disagreements, or discord. However, what many fail to understand is that disagreements and arguments are also essential to the efficient functioning of a team. Only when people can disagree freely with each other and put forth their counter-opinions and ideas, can there be progress, in the form of the best possible avenue to take, arrived at after weighing all such opinions and ideas. The important thing to remember, however, is that dissent and conflict needs to be handled productively, in a constructive, moderated way. Conflicts and challenges give rise to innovation, and some of the most successful companies, including technology behemoth Apple, actively encourage employees to challenge existing norms and processes to discover optimal solutions and keep growing, instead of remaining stagnant.
3. Cooperative relationships
The core strength of a team comes from its ability to work together to overcome any and all obstacles and challenges, no matter how insurmountable they might seem. Thus, cooperation and understanding is vital for the success and growth of a team. This however, is not only limited to their allotted responsibilities, but extends far beyond it. For instance, a successful team immediately comes together to pick up the slack when one of its members falls sick, or isn’t able to contribute his/her share owing to urgent personal responsibilities, and that team member does the same when someone else is in a similar situation. Successful teams are fully aware of what they can achieve together, and value each member and their contribution. As a result, team members engage in healthy competition with each other, while also celebrating each others achievements and successes.
4. They enjoy their work
People are most effective and productive when they are doing work they are passionate about. As a result, successful teams are made up of employees who not only enjoy what they do, but are inherently driven by their passion for work. They enjoy their work; therefore their discipline and commitment to responsibilities are never compromised by a lack of motivation. They build a positive and engaging relationship with their colleagues, subordinates, and superiors, and enjoy a feeling of belonging. This helps improve productivity, and prevents burnout.
5. They trust each other
A successful team is built on trust. They are successful because team members can depend on each other, share their professional problems, issues, and difficulties with each other, without fear of judgement, betrayal, or misuse of the information. Additionally, teams like these know that even in times of crisis, they can depend on each other to get the work done, without needing to oversee it or constantly worrying about it. Through their professionalism and compassion, they are able to not only interact freely with their peers and subordinates, but also their superiors, and include them in the circle of trust. This not only increases their own productivity but also encourages growth, allocation of additional responsibility, and access to critical resources that they otherwise wouldn’t have been given access too.
6. They believe in their work
Lastly, a successful team is fully aware of not only the work being done but also the why and how behind it. They have a very clear and well-defined idea of the purpose and goal behind their work, as well as the goals and objectives of the company. As a result, they believe in underlying philosophy that drives the business. Therefore, team members are able to efficiently align their own objectives and goals with those of the company. They are able to carry out their responsibilities keeping their importance and impact in mind.