What’s New with Leading Teams?

By Michael J Griffin, Founder ELAvate!

My evergreen definition of World Class Teams comes from the 1993 classic “Wisdom of Teams” by Dr. Katzenbach and Dr. Smith of Harvard:

“A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”

Recently I read two pieces of new research on what makes highly functional teams. Let’s get an overview of each, and, at the end of this blog you have an opportunity to download both research articles to apply them to your organization’s teams.

The first article by Justin Bariso of INC. Magazine explores the 5 qualities that Google has determined that drive successful teams. Here are the Google 5:

  • Psychological Safety – Simply put team members trust each other to be open, give feedback with no punishment or blame.
  • Dependability – Team members can count on each other to do their part well and on time.
  • Structure and Clarity – Team member job expectations and goals are clear with good process.
  • Meaning – The team members find purpose and fulfillment in their work.
  • Impact – The team members realize they are making a positive contribution or impact.

 This second more extensive paper was presented by my principal TTI Success Insights, (the global leader in employing profiles for effective leadership and collaborative, at teamwork) at the HR.com conference earlier last year.

 TTI Success Insights with HR.com set the goals of the research “The State of Employee Teams in 2018” to:

  • Investigate how organizations rely on teams
  • Discover the challenges teams face in their organization
  • Learn what drives team effectiveness
  • Reveal how companies manage, appraise, and reward teams
  • Uncover effective practices for developing and engaging teams

The TTISI HR.com report is extensive and gives great insights on effective and ineffective teams. There is a summary of all the key findings and I found these insights most useful:

  • Teams face three primary challenges. The top challenge is accountability (49%), followed by difficulty in making decisions (45%) and a lack of participation (44%).
  • Good communication and clear goals are viewed as critical to team effectiveness. Communication (78%) and goal setting (72%) are at the top of essential characteristics for both team members and their managers.
  • Only 16% rated their teams as excellent. Above average and excellent ratings comprise 64% of responses. Over a third view their teams as average or below, suggesting many are in serious need of improvement.
  • Top Characteristics of Effective Team Leaders. The research identified these top 4 characteristics of good team leaders: Good Communicator, Organized, Respectful, and Collaborative.

This 35 page report is full of data, insights, and actionable steps to improve team performance.

How does this new research support and improve the Wisdom of Teams definition? Here’s the new definition I have crafted for the 21st century team:

“A successful team is a small number of high trust people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they find meaning and hold themselves mutually accountable.”

To read the full INC. Magazine article of the 5 Google Team characteristics, click here.

If you with the more in depth research report by TTI Success Insights on team performance, download Employee_Teams_Today_and_Tomorrow_WP_21-06-18.

Contact us at ELAvate to explore how we may help your organization improve team productivity through assessments, training, coaching and measurement.

Have a great week!

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