As business has changed the hierarchical organization chart has given way to flat organizations with cross functional teams. The recent need to work virtually has only accelerated this trend. It is not enough to be a great individual performer if that performer can’t work with anyone or collaborate. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.” Think about this quote as it relates to the business world. All organizations have a great number of individual stars or top performers – employees who are skilled and knowledgeable and have the necessary attitudes and behaviors to accomplish anything they desire, yet the organization is coming up short on their results.
According to Suzanne Willis Zoglio, Ph.D. author of 7 Keys to Building Great Work teams, there are seven elements that high performing teams have in common.
The first element is Commitment. Commitment is being committed to the vision of the organization. All team members are focused on the same goal and moving in the same direction. Every decision is based upon the impact to the overall organizational goals.
The second element is Contribution. Contribution is when all team members are participating and taking responsibility for accomplishing goals. It’s important for each team member to have a clear understanding of his/her part in helping the team accomplish its goals. And to increase contribution, high performing teams are created by utilizing employees with different strengths.
The third element is Communication. Communication is more than just talking. It’s having open and honest communication between two or more people. All team members can provide feedback, accept constructive criticism, and address any issue directly.
The fourth element is Cooperation. Cooperation is when all team members do what they say they are going to do (follow through), it’s done right the first time (accuracy), outside of the box thinking is encouraged (creative), deadlines are met (timeliness), and all are supportive of each other (spirit).
The fifth element is Conflict Management. Conflict management is being able to address conflict effectively. Team members will have differing opinions and ideas, and that’s a good thing.
The sixth element is Change Management. Change management is allowing the team to be innovative. High performing teams need to be flexible and adjust to change.
The seventh element is Connection. Connection is when a team is connected to the organization, other teams, as well as team members. When connection occurs, a new culture is created where team members step in and help each other and all are working toward the organization’s goals.
How is your team? Who do you consider part of your team? Success is determined by the way your team plays together. No one player is more important than another. On the other hand, the team might only be as strong as the weakest member. A good leader will consider the above 7 points and provide the necessary support to create a team that create great results.
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