What Makes a Good Team?

It is quite often to see teams that are comprised by stellar performers fail miserably. In fact, such teams are quite often candidates for failure, almost by default. And they fail not despite the fact that they are comprised by stars but exactly because of that. Individual performance is just a very poor predictor of team success. Quite the contrary! Teams can therefore be formed but good teams need to be forged! And if this is the case it would be interesting to see into what a team is, what a good team is and how a good team may be created.

A number of people working together is not necessarily a team. A number of people working together is just a group. A group of people working together become a team only when there is a common task that no member of the group can handle alone. The very notion of a team is therefore defined around cooperation. But cooperation is still not enough. It has to be a cooperation for a purpose! It is therefore the purpose that requires cooperation that presents the need for a team to be formed.

A good team is a team that it fulfills its purpose. And for that to happen the team needs to take good decisions. In this sense, the team has to do the right thing. The team has to be effective! However, doing the right thing is not the only prerequisite. The team has to implement its decisions well too. The team would need to do things right. It has to be efficient! Good teams are therefore both able to make good decisions and implement them right at the same time. However, this is still not enough. In the organizational context, good teams need to be both effective and efficient both in the sort and in the long-run.

For a team to be effective it has to be comprised by members that command and grand mutual respect. Mutual respect is about acknowledging the right for each of the members of the team to have and freely express opinions. The more the different opinions and the more the freedom of their expression, the best the final decision would be. Good teams therefore not only allow but instead they actively ask for different opinions. And it is only in this way that the final decision would be a well informed one. If mutual respect is good for effectiveness, then mutual trust is key to efficiency. As soon as a good decision is made, the team members have to get themselves to its implementation, even if they disagree with it in the first place. And this is not ensured merely by the fact that they have been heard during the decision making process. Mutual trust is more demanding. And it is more demanding simply because it requires all interests to be taken under consideration. In this respect, all the members of the team need to see themselves into the decisions of the team. They need to see their interests be taken under consideration and finally respected. And that requires time. This is why good teams need time to be forged. Interests cannot simply converge in the short-term. It is therefore faith that this will happen that keeps a team tight during implementation. Faith however becomes stronger when interests are finally satisfied and every time that happens the team becomes better and better!