When leaders are asked about their organizational structure, they will often respond with data about the departmental teams such as, “our accounting team, our facilities team, etc.” In many leaders’ minds, the fact that we have multiple people in a department means that we have a team.
However, a team is far more than just having multiple people working on similar tasks and goals. The number of people simply refers to the size of the task and how many people are required to complete the objectives. There are, however, many instances where we have people are siloed into their individual task list and rarely consider the impact on the department or the organization of their work.
True teamwork should multiply the efforts of those on that team.
In other words, the sum impact is greater than the total of each individual part. When we are truly a team, there is an interdependence that multiplies individual efforts and provides the maximum impact.
Teams are marked by several indicators of team health and success. They include:
- Collaboration: The frequency of communication and the exchange of ideas
- Solutions Focus: Teams spend more time finding solutions versus assigning blame
- Service Orientation: Team members consider the impact of their decisions, work, and actions on the rest of the team
- Teachability: There is an openness to new ideas, different perspectives, and considering how each new perspective adds value to our work
- Commitment: There is a shared commitment to doing excellent work, to driving towards results, towards fulfilling the mission and purpose of the organization
When these characteristics are present, it allows teams to move forward with strength and to accomplish great things. Without them, you have a group of individuals who happen to work together. Where are you and your team at with regard to these attributes? Are you a team, or a group of individuals? As leaders, we must grow our teams and ensure that they are based on principles that will lead to success.