5 “Make-it-or-Break-It” Characteristics of a Great Team

We know the looks of high-performance teams by the remarkable results they produce and the high levels of satisfaction that is experienced by its members.  But, how many of us know the recipe for cooking up such team?  It’s a simple formula to understand, and like most recipes, the steps are progressive—blending and building on the previous step.  The first step of the process is to check on your ingredients and get a valid measure of how your team is currently performing and where it needs to improve.

How does your team stack up to these measures?

Every Team Wants to Perform, But Not Every Team Is Ready to Do the Hard Work.

Team Development

Some of us can only imagine what a productive, high-functioning team looks and feels like.  Others of us know firsthand of its benefits and wish that we can replicate it with other teams. Those wishes can be realized if the team is ready to do the work. Here are 7 tips for assessing and advancing a team’s readiness for development:

  • Visualize the benefits. There are many upsides to a high performing team.  Like any goal, unless the team has a clear understanding and picture of what it wants to achieve, and why it’s important, it will be a confusing, frustrating, … Continue reading

  • Team Trust: Why are members of my team so guarded and less genuine with one another?

    Team Trust

    At the heart of team trust lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear and simply be themselves. While this can be a little threatening and uncomfortable at first, ultimately, it becomes liberating for those who are tired of overthinking their actions and managing interpersonal politics at work. There are many reasons why a team might be guarded and less open with one another. Continue reading

    Team Trust: Why its hard for team members to willingly apologize to one another

    Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team

    Acknowledging one’s weaknesses, willingly apologizing, and being genuine with one another are all behavioral examples of team trust – vulnerability-based trust*. In part-one, I offered reasons why it’s difficult for team members to acknowledge their weakness, and what leaders can do to promote greater trust. Here, I’d like to share why team members struggle with apologizing to one another – another key trust-building behavior that is absent often within teams. Continue reading

    Team Trust: why it’s hard for team members to be vulnerable with one another

    When coworkers are open about their weaknesses and admit their mistakes, does it help you trust them more?  Well, it should. Team trust is all about vulnerability.

    We know trust is high when team members acknowledge their weaknesses, willingly apologize, and are unguarded and genuine with one another. Without this type of trust, it’s unlikely that teams will be willing to engage in healthy conflict or commit to decisions. In part one of this three-part series, we’ll take a closer look at why it’s difficult for team members to acknowledge their weakness with one another. In part two, we’ll … Continue reading

    Team Commitment and Accountability

    Accountability and Commitment

    Accountability has become another catchword – so overused and with so many different interpretations that it has lost much of its meaning. According to Patrick Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, “When it comes to teamwork, accountability means the willingness of members to remind one another when they’re not living up to performance standards and results.” This includes feedback on individual behavior, such as the extent to which members act with integrity, interact in respectful ways, and are aligned with the team’s values.

    Teams that Avoid Accountability

    The usual source of dysfunction in this area … Continue reading

    Two Keys for Achieving Team Commitment

    Team Commitment

    Great teams understand that they must be able to make timely decisions and commit, even when the outcome is uncertain and not everyone initially agrees.   It’s the desire for consensus and the need for certainty that prevents many teams from achieving commitment and moving forward.

    Teams that fail to commit find themselves revisiting discussions and decisions again and again.  They encourage second-guessing which creates ambiguity and lack of confidence about the team’s direction and priorities.  Whether its avoidance of risk, excessive analysis, or fear of failure, a lack of team commitment means delay and lost opportunities. It … Continue reading

    Mastering Team Conflict

    Team Conflict

    Teamwork doesn't always come easy. To be a strong and cohesive team, team members must trust one another and be able to engage in healthy team conflict.  Mastering team conflict is the second key behavior in The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™  model.

    Trust is a prerequisite for mastering conflict. Only team members who trust one another are going to feel comfortable engaging in unfiltered, passionate debate around issues and decisions. Otherwise, they are likely to hold back their opinions. That’s not to say that some teams that lack trust don’t argue. It’s just that their arguments are often destructive. … Continue reading

    Developing Team Trust

    Team Trust

    The first and most important behavior for developing a high-functioning, cohesive team is to build trust. According to Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, team trust is all about vulnerability.* Team members who trust one another are comfortable being open to one another regarding their failures, weaknesses, and fears. Vulnerability-based trust is based on the simple idea that people who are willing to admit the truth about themselves are not going to engage in the kind of political behavior that wastes everyone’s time and energy and, more important, makes it difficult to achieve … Continue reading

    Five Keys for Building a Cohesive Team

    Five Behaviors Model

    Those of us who have had the experience of being a member of a high-performing team know firsthand of the benefits. It is seen in the quantity and quality of results the team produces and in the high levels of satisfaction experienced by its members. Others of us have seen the opposite – teams that never got off the ground, swimming in unproductive conflict, lacking direction, avoiding accountability, and whose members are fraught with low morale.

    Patrick Lencioni, author of “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team”, holds that the “single most untapped competitive advantage for … Continue reading