3 Traits of a High Functioning Team

There is a cheesy phrase I love tossing out when working with a group. “Teamwork makes the dream work”. You do not have to roll your eyes at me, trust me I am rolling my eyes at myself! I am not sure where the phrase originally came from, but I have hung onto it for years. While it has a smile factor, there is something to that phrase. When serving with a team of people there is usually a dream – some sort of vision that has drawn the group together. Often the dream is not possible without a group of people working together to make it happen.

I have been reading a great book on team’s and group dynamics recently – Team Genius by Rich Karlgaard and Michael Malone. In the book they highlight what I believe to be 3 traits which are true of high functioning teams. When we serve together on a team we want to be effective. No one desires to be on a mediocre team. Helping your team function at a high level allows you to go farther faster as you serve.

No matter where your seat is on the team bus, here are 3 ways to make your team function at higher levels:

  • Communicate Frequently – teamwork means there is connectivity between team members. The bigger the communication gap, the more people drift into individualism over teamwork. Frequent communication allows team members to operate in coordination with one another. People rarely complain about too much communication, breakdowns occur when there is a lack of communication.
  • Communicate Informally – team gatherings or meetings are like the meat or entrée of a meal. Informal communication is like the veggies or sides of a meal. A well rounded meal includes both, and a well-rounded team experiences a balance of communication inside formal gatherings and outside as well. Studies show that the best predictor of momentum on a team is the energy and engagement of the team outside of formal meetings.
  • Adjust Patterns of Communication – Karlgaard and Malone point out successful teams, “employ malleable communication patterns.” Every member of the team has their own unique way of learning and communicating. Therefore flexibility is needed so that the methods of communication can adjust based on the needs of the team. Whether it is the frequency or means of communication, being able to adjust as needed allows the team to develop as the members grow.

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