What Is A Team?

The word “team” has been exhausted and overused in offices and organizations around the world. It typically refers to a group of two or more people who communicate or collaborate about a project or goal. Is that really a team? Or is it just a group of two or more people who communicate or collaborate about a project or goal? Let me know after you read this post. Because in my opinion, a real team possesses the following traits:

  1. Everyone on the team clearly understands each other’s role in the organization. In a performance-driven environment such as sales, everyone’s performance is measured and displayed on the walls for everyone to see. Top-performers call this motivation.  People who spend too much time on Facebook will call a foul.
  2. Everyone understands their individual purpose and is expected to do their job to the best of their ability. This is how to instill a culture of accountability, which leads me to #3…
  3. Team members hold each other accountable and are given the authority, as a group, to black ball the ones who do the bare minimum and can’t be trusted.
  4. For the aggressive-growth company, compensation is also based on how successful the team is at achieving company objectives – not individual.  And again, don’t worry – everyone will quickly identify the team members who don’t pull their own weight. There is no better way to draw on the resources of individual talents and motivate people to jump in and help others in crunch time. In other words, there is more doing than delegating.
  5. There is open honest communication with everyone. No sugar coating and no tolerance for lame excuses. Mediocrity is shuffled out the door.
  6. Teams, not the manager, appoint their own leaders based on project scope. For example, if an advertising agency is charged with developing a campaign for a new product launch, the team is given the freedom to recruit an award-winning creative director and find the best creative writer, even if it means going to the outside.
  7. Leaders provide the tools for teams to solve their own problems and reach their own solutions. After all, members of the team are the ones who understand the problem and are thus in a much better position to brainstorm solutions. The role of a manager isn’t to solve problems. It is to see to it that problems get solved.
  8. Everyone has each other’s back. In a true team environment, you’ll never hear someone say, “That’s not in my job description.”

Of course, creating this type of culture requires you to have the right people on your bus. And you were probably thinking of individual people as you were reading this blog – those who would thrive, and those who would never survive.  Question: Is this the culture for you?

Scott Seroka is a certified brand strategist who has taken Leader Effectiveness Training classes through Gordon Training International.

One Reply to “What Is A Team?”

  1. Great post. I especially like the section about accountability, a concept often left out of discussions about teams. I would add that these traits are present in GOOD teams, EFFECTIVE teams. The attribute that I believe separates a “team” from a “group” is interdependence. The team members need one another to accomplish an objective.

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