Characteristics of Effective Teams

Many authors have written various features that they believe are essential for team effectiveness. Having read them it can be suggested that the following are the features of an effective team:

  1. Clear Understanding of the Goals/Objectives:  Perfect understanding of what the goals of the team are, is very important. Every member of the team should be able to talk for the team on the progress of their project when called upon. However, this happens when every member of the team understands the team’s goal and can tell if they are making progress or not.
  2. Shared Values:  Effective teams share desires to succeed at whatever they do. They have a common sense of purpose. The team must agree that the work they are doing is worthwhile and that their goals are worth making the effort to achieve. Members interact and work independently to achieve team objectives. They take collective responsibility for achieving shared aims and objectives.
  3. Mutual Trust:  Trust is important for open communication. Team members need to feel comfortable to make their opinions known and also to disagree with whatever has already been said by another. Every member should be willing to talk openly. This can only happen when they trust each other.
  4. Mutual Respect:  Mutual respect among team members is also essential, both as individuals and for the contribution each makes to the team’s performance. Every member should be treated with respect particularly when he/she adds value to the team. This is because, if some team members are not respected, the motivation of the entire team can be jeopardized.
  5. Effective Teams Want Team Success:  They realize the need to focus on group goals and rise above personal ambitions. Team members are secure in their individual capabilities and understand the reason why the organisation constituted a team in the first place. They are able to work towards executing their role in line with the common goals of the team. They have well defined and differentiated roles within the team. They seem to realize that if they carry out their individual roles sincerely, personal recognition is bound to come their way. In other words, there is a good measure of team spirit within the team.
  6. Sustainable Conflict:  An effective team encounters conflict. Conflicts or disagreements pertaining to task-related discussions are treated as a normal occurrence and the team members do not harbor any animosity towards one another once the team meeting ends. However, in as much as it fosters creative thinking, too much disagreement is not healthy. Whenever people disagree it may damage relationships. An effective team therefore has to agree to a process to resolve issues constructively.
  7. Support:  Members support each other even when everything is going wrong. This can encourage them to work harder because they know that they have support of the whole team.
  8. Team First Mentality:  In whatever they do, team members put the team goals first. They never put themselves ahead of the team.
  9. Willingness to share knowledge and expertise:  Team members should always be ready and willing to share knowledge and skills with other members of the team.
  10. Engagement:  Team members should be carried along throughout every assignment. To remain interested, team members need to feel that they are making a strong contribution. They need to feel involved in making key team decisions.
  11. Organizational Connection:  An effective team needs feels that it is valued by the rest of the organization and closely connected to its overall success. It develops a known identity within the organization as a team with defined organizational function. This is because, a team that is marginalized or rejected by the broader organization cannot feel motivated.
  12. Adequate Resources:  For a team to be effective, it must have access to adequate resources to meet its goals and objectives. To however make use of these resources, team members must possess a variety of skills to deal effectively with all its tasks.
  13. Open and Positive Communication:  The effectiveness of a team depends on how much information circulates among the members. Team members need to be fully aware of sensitive developments in their work. It is also, very essential that team members do not embarrass, reject or mock someone for speaking up and sharing ideas.
  14. Feeling of Belonging:  The members of an effective team must be strongly knitted and the members of the team must believe they are a part of it. They must have a sense of belonging.
  15. Having Fun:  The members should enjoy working together. This would keep them motivated over a lengthy period of time. They find ways of having fun while working, through the way they interact on the job or by socializing outside of work. To have fun working together, people need to like each other and enjoy each other’s company.

There are, however other success factors for effective teams but those that meet the above criteria should be well on their way to achieving great things. However, the way the leader behaves toward the team can also make a big difference. There has to be fairness and equal consideration shown to all team members.

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