One of my favorite reads about functional and dysfunctional teams is the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team as identified by author Patrick Lencioni.
As a refresher, the 5 dysfunctions Lencioni writes about are:
- Inattention to Detail
- Avoidance of Accountability
- Lack of Commitment
- Fear of Conflict
- Absence of Trust
Any team possessing some or all of these flaws will not perform at its best.
But what do you emphasize when building a highly functioning team? In my experience, at least three other characteristics contribute to creating top-performing teams. They are:
- Shared Values
- A Clear Purpose
- Competent Leadership
To achieve maximum performance, tackle any indication of team dysfunction while you also build on these characteristics of top-performing teams.
To build on the top-performing team characteristics, consider these characteristics:
Shared Values: Identify the top values you want everyone on the team to embrace, then select team members around those who share those values personally. You can’t go wrong with my favorites: (1) Positive Attitude, (2) Unselfish Team Player, (3) Effective Communication Skills, (4) Reliable, (5) Proactive.
Clear Purpose: Articulate your team’s purpose to each of the team members individually and collectively. Describe (1) why the team exists, (2) why that person as an individual and the team itself are important, (3) what the expected outcome of individual and collective efforts are.
Competent Leadership: As the team leader, continue to develop and refine (1) the effectiveness of your communication skills, (2) your coaching skills, (3) your critical thinking and decision-making skills.
As you strive to create a high-level functional team, remember these words from Babe Ruth: “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.”