High-performing teams give a company or organization a competitive edge. They produce better results, lower costs and provide creative solutions for customers. Successful teams rely on the commitment, trust, communication and participation of members to achieve goals that cannot be accomplished by individuals alone. Absence of these qualities hinders the effectiveness of the team.
To be successful, all team members must first understand the purpose and goals of the team. Each person must know her role and how it will contribute to the team's goal. The team leader should specifically spell out the ground rules for the group, which includes how members will work together, what expectations they will need to meet and the time line of the project.
Effective team members communicate easily with one another. The environment for team discussions should be informal and open, not formal and stuffy. Meetings should be held on a regular basis so that team members can share their progress and alert the group to any obstacles that have arisen. Members should be discouraged from guarding information that will help the group.
Teams can develop not only task-related disagreements but also relationship conflict. Team members may not like one another and may hold different values and beliefs. To work as a team, members need to put their personal feelings aside and be willing to listen. Open discussions, civil disagreements and the participation of all members will help build trust and enable the team to meet its goals.
Everyone on the team must pull his weight. The most successful teams have members so committed to their goal that they're not afraid to remind an underperforming colleague that she's not meeting the team's standard. Monitoring progress and celebrating results help form a culture of accountability.