Teams that have the characteristics mentioned above are more likely to succeed while teams lacking even a single characteristic won’t match up to the potential and will lack in attaining the goals.
By Miriam Shaju
Great teamwork is at the heart of every successful organization because teams working together deliver best results. When team members share rhythm and understanding between them they can accomplish more in less time, conversely, when there is disarray in a team, it leads to lower productivity. Regardless of what the goal is, the success of a team cannot be attained just by hiring smart manpower. The organisation needs to build a smart but hardworking team, in order to be more successful than any other average team.
Several factors make a team more successful than others, some of which are mentioned below.
The Size of a Team
Team size matters, several startups, and new entrants often topple large incumbents because teams in the former 2 are of an optimum size. Large entities are more complex than smaller ones and as result teams in them are often large and unwieldy. In the early days of Google, its founders believed that keeping the size of teams in the company to between 10 and 20 members was necessary for the company’s success. While today the size of teams in Google regularly exceeds this number, keeping team size as small as possible remains an effective strategy. When teams are small they communicate and collaborate better making them more effective at fulfilling their duties. Once an organization has decided what the optimum size of its teams should be it should nurture a culture of trust within teams.
Team Members Must Trust Each Other
Working together people can accomplish more than working individually. Yet teams suffering from trust issues and whose members are afraid of going out on a limb can be nearly useless. Therefore every member of a team must feel a sense of security within the team, this feeling of security must be tangible in that members mustn’t be afraid to voice their opinion even at the pain of being embarrassed. When members contribute they should do so without any fear that their advice will the shot down. Also, members must genuinely want to contribute and not simply seek personal glory.
Depend on Each Other
While trust between team members is important, being able to depend on each other is equally important. This means every member of a team must pull his or her weight by doing all the work assigned to them. Nothing causes more discord in teams than when team members don’t do work assigned to them. Team members, and those leading teams, must be confident that the work they assign to others in their team will be delivered on time and meet expectations.
The structure is Essential in Teams
In addition to being of manageable size, teams must have structure as well. A team may be small enough to manage, and have team members who trust each other and are dependable, yet if it lacks structure and a defined hierarchy it will fall short of its potential. The manager leading the team must be respected by its members and everyone must defer to his or her authority. Yet the leader of a team must be more than authority figure, he or she must be respected and liked as well. Most importantly a leader must be able to get things done by motivating his or her team members.
A leader, who is ideally a manager, must be assisted by junior managers who manage other members when teams are large. Every member along a team’s hierarchy must have a clearly defined role yet identify as being a member of the team.
Find Meaning in Their Work
Crucially, when members of a team believe their work is important and meaningful they take pride in their work. Hence members in a successful team must be infused with the feeling that the work they are doing is important, not just to their employer, but to society as well. When team members believe their work is impactful it gives them the meaning to do it well and gives them a feeling of pride. Team members who see tangible evidence of how their work is contributing to society are happier and consequently the teams they work in perform better together.
Teams that have the characteristics mentioned above are more likely to succeed while teams lacking even a single characteristic won’t match up to the potential and will lack in attaining the goals. Over the past several years, organizations have realised that having great teams working internally is likely to lead to superior results. Even mediocre organizations can be transformed into stellar ones when they manage their teams well. Hence when an organization isn’t reaching its full potential it’s time for its leaders to evaluate whether its internal teams are organized as they ought to be and have the right culture.
(The author is Associate Director, Human Resource, Visionet India. Views expressed are personal.)