Working in harmony with competent people you like and trust means that ideas and plans go further, faster, and more effectively. It’s the difference between feeling supported and overwhelmed. Between success and failure. Between doing the work you were designed to do and chasing your tail putting out fires.
If your business requires a team at all, it’s crucial that the dynamic is right. There’s a colossal difference between a super team and a bad one, which you might have experienced first hand.
Great teams aren’t forged automatically, it takes patience and persistence and commitment to a common cause, whatever that might be.
Here are 10 signs that you have a great team:
Laughter is a form of communication and plays a key role in group dynamics. Someone cracks a joke and perhaps it’s not even that funny, but team members want to support their teammate, so they laugh along. It’s bonding and it’s encouraging and it’s a very good signal.
2. Beehive mentality
Marcus Aurelius wrote, “That which is not good for the beehive can not be good for the bee”. The hive comes first. The good of the collective is priority, and that will always be good for the bees. Great teams think of the beehive. They can see how one member’s individual work will benefit the work of everyone. For this to work there can be no selfish agendas and no “bee mentality” at all.
3. Enthusiasm for the work
Whenever there’s lots of chatter, it’s because the team is discussing the work at hand. Evolving ideas, asking for second opinions and openly deliberating ways of solving challenges all assist progress and are productive ways of collaborating. If the chatter is based in escapism, however, it could be a sign of disengagement.
4. Benefit of the doubt
In great teams, the benefit of the doubt is always given. Someone doesn’t have to be seen to be trusted. If they have made an oversight, their teammates will assume there is a good reason for it. They might say, “He’s usually very diligent so I can’t imagine he would have overlooked this…” and stick up for them ahead of knowing the actual course of events.
Under camaraderie of this intensity, teams flourish. Conscientious team members know their colleagues are looking out for them and they unite with no need for a common enemy.
5. Expressing gratitude and giving encouragement
When team members are working in the best interests of each other, it’s recognised and appreciated. Members go to great lengths for each other and their work; results are compounded and their efforts go further. Thanks are given generously at every step.
Team members have faith in each other’s abilities and are able to give helpful encouragement that is well received.
6. Horizontal relationships
Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga’s book, The Courage To Be Disliked, says that giving praise implies the passing of judgment by a person of ability on a person of no ability, leading to “vertical relationships” and feelings of inferiority. Phrases such as “well done” or “good job”, in a work or family context, are likely to only be given in one direction.
The authors deem “horizontal relationships” as preferable for fruitful interpersonal relations. Teams with horizontal relationships give praise between all levels of role or, instead, express gratitude or encouragement and avoid praise all together. Strong teams thrive when horizontal relationships are most prominent.
7. Constructive criticism
In the best teams, constructive criticism can be happily given and received among members, regardless of position or title. If everyone is working towards the same goals from a shared ethos, feedback is useful and welcomed.
Team members in great teams are constantly learning from each other in a bid to become better at what they do. No one is precious about suggestions.
8. Whole team recognition
An individual singled out for their great work will make sure their collaborators are recognised. They want it to be known that any triumph was a group effort and they know their colleagues would do the same. They are more likely to highlight the work of the group and play down their individual part.
9. Misalignment is obvious
When everyone is operating for the good of the beehive, it stands out when one person isn’t. Any misalignment with the vision is obvious, because it’s the exception not the rule. Successful and happy teams are unashamedly committed to excellence and wouldn’t put up with one member not contributing or working to improve.
10. Confidence in the future
The best teams ride the rollercoaster together. They know that they will face ups and downs but they have full confidence in their ability to cope with any turmoil. They have trust in their convictions and full faith in their ability to work out whatever obstacle is thrown at them. They can fondly recall challenges they worked through before and know that it’s no worry to do it again.