There is no "I" in team.
Such maxims may seem trite, but the importance of teamwork is far from overstated. Recognizing the value of teamwork is far easier than creating a successful one though. So what are the ingredients that must be present for a team's success?
While every team is different in composition and purpose, these five qualities can be found in every winning team.
1. They have a vision.
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The most effective teams are those that have a clear vision of success. Each member of the team understands the overarching goals, his or her role in achieving them and the ways in which these goals support the company’s growth and mission. Perhaps most importantly though, the team believes in the trajectory and purpose of the business.
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2. They are engaged.
Like vision, engagement involves belief in the team’s purpose and goals. Every team member is committed to helping the group meet its goals, and they will do whatever it takes to see the team succeed - no matter how complicated or difficult the task at hand may be or whether the goal relies on another team member. Each individual is accountable and takes pride in his or her work.
3. They collaborate.
Collaboration is a key component of winning teams of all sizes.
Collaborative teams maintain open lines of communication, and they avoid competition between team members. However, collaboration is not only the ability to peacefully work alongside others, but it is also the ability to work together with others. Team members understand one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and they leverage these strengths, and shore up weaknesses. They make decisions based on collective knowledge rather than on one person’s ideas or opinions. In short, everyone works together to create a better overall outcome.
4. They are diverse.
A truly phenomenal team is comprised of individuals with varying opinions, skills and work styles. This diversity drives successful collaboration.
Consider this scenario. Five staff members meet to brainstorm on new sales initiatives, but all five have similar backgrounds and identical skillsets. While there may be some variation in suggested ideas, a more diverse team would likely increase a broader range of ideas.
5. They are respectful.
Winning teams value diversity and collaboration. Ideas from all individuals are genuinely entertained and respected, and the team understands that an individual accomplishment is just as great for the team's success. As a result, winning teams respect, encourage and praise their group members on a regular basis - not just during annual or semi-annual review meetings.
Teamwork is one of the few constants that transcend all industries and all types of business. Whether your company is a startup with a single team of three or a multinational corporation with numerous departments, the importance of teamwork cannot be overstated. When these five qualities - vision, engagement, collaboration, diversity and respect -- are present, your team can begin to make real progress toward achieving its most important objectives.