7 Characteristics of an effective team

Effective teams are the driving force behind successful companies. Talented individuals are of course beneficial, but an excellent team comprised of merely moderate talent will always triumph.

But what makes a good team and why is it important? 

Effective teams are comprised of numerous factors and building one takes time and conscious effort. In this article, we discuss the seven critical factors that make an effective team with some advice on how to obtain them.

What are the characteristics of an effective team?

A strong workforce has synergy, open channels of communication for building trust and promoting creativity, an established hierarchy with clearly defined roles, and a collective purpose that inspires and engages employees. In the following list, we take a deeper dive into the seven factors of an effective team.

1. The team understands its goals and objectives

For your company to reach its goals successfully, your entire workforce needs to understand the goals and objectives. It takes time to ensure that everybody is on the right wavelength, but skipping this step can lead to confusion later on.

The desired outcomes should be very clear and easy to understand, there’s no room here for ambiguous objectives that could be wrongly interpreted. The definition of success should be measurable using key performance indicators (KPI), these data enable you to see which targets you’re hitting and where you’re coming up short.

With a shared vision, team members are given purpose and the autonomy to devise a unique strategy for meeting their objectives. All team members work differently, so it’s important to give them some free rein so they can formulate their own approach.

2. There is a clear hierarchy with a strong leader

Hierarchies have long been used in human civilisations—and the animal kingdom, for that matter—to maintain order and distribute access to resources to avoid zero-sum outcomes. Hierarchies may not be fair for everyone, but they grant team members a specific purpose and boundaries within which to operate. Without a hierarchy, your team will be inefficient, with employees constantly tugging in opposite directions.

The leader of your team must be competent and should be equally respectful and respected. Team leaders should provide their subordinates with encouragement and guidance, helping individual members to reach their potential while nurturing the overall harmony of the team.

A strong team leader is capable of recognising the uniques skillsets within their team and can assign roles accordingly. They should always have their finger on the pulse, recognising who is excelling and who is dawdling. With this information, your team leaders can allocate assistance where needed so that the workforce maintains its efficiency. 

3. Team members are capable of constructively resolving conflict

Regardless of how harmonious your team is, conflict is inevitable, but it doesn’t always need to be negative. In fact, it’s essential for growth. 

Without opposing ideas, your team will quickly enter into the world of confirmation bias which will put you behind your competitors. To harness the positives of such conflicts, your team needs to be adept at resolving them.

Resolving conflicts is a skill that must be learned, and it can be taught in various ways. A common solution is to organise a team-building event that teaches your employees the skills required to resolve a disagreement. There are several games designed specifically for this such as Office Debates.

If your team members are constantly at loggerheads, perhaps they aren’t understanding each other. One way of reducing these disagreements is by organising team-bonding retreats which are designed to foster interpersonal relationships. 

4. Team members both share and adopt responsibility

For a team to operate at maximum capacity, team members must be able to take responsibility for their own tasks while being able to release or adopt further responsibility when required. Team members must assume ownership of their tasks because it allows team leaders to feel confident when allocating responsibilities. However, employees should be flexible, and willing to use their skills to help others when needed.

This dynamic creates a powerful workforce, It builds trust between its members because employees know that they have capable colleagues ready to assist at any given moment. 

5. There are open channels of communication

Open communication channels are essential for any team, whether it’s a sports team, military group, or corporate organisation. Communication channels come in various forms from verbal to written. 

Within a business, there are many ways employees and managers can communicate. Good communication between your employees enables them to build trust with one another, learn from past mistakes, maintain their synergy, adapt to change, and collaborate more effectively.

Communication between employees is one thing, but maintaining these channels across all levels of your hierarchy is equally important. For a team to be effective, team leaders and employees must be able to communicate regularly, whether that be in the form of emails, group chats, face-to-face meetings, or phone conversations.

Employees should feel respected and appreciated when sharing thoughts, opinions or ideas with their superiors. It’s beneficial for businesses to cultivate an environment where employees feel confident as it leads to a more collaborative and creative working environment. 

6. Team members have the right tools to complete their tasks

It sounds obvious, but too often, poor planning causes employees to be ill-equipped for their roles. The right tools can be anything from a comfortable office chair to having the necessary login details and file access. 

When employees are provided with everything they need to complete their tasks, it tells them the company they work for is organised and cares for its staff. In turn, the employees begin to trust and feel proud of their employer. 

Failing to provide your team with the necessary tools not only looks bad but also creates roadblocks within workflows. These roadblocks slow down the completion rate of tasks and lead to overdue projects, ultimately costing the company money.

7. Effective teams encourage growth through the development of new skills

Investing in the development of your team doesn’t just benefit you practically, it also sends a message to your employees that you value their contributions and want to help them to grow within the company. Furthermore, investing in the skills of your employees provides them with stronger skill sets so they can complete their tasks more competently and with more confidence. 

Skills can be developed in many ways. Management teams can organise team building events that are tailored towards improving specific skills. For example, if you want to develop leadership attributes, you might organise a company field day or play a game like Perfect Square. Alternatively, new skills can also be obtained through collaboration and the sharing of experience and knowledge.

Unlock your teams true potential with Surf Office company retreats

Company retreats are a fantastic way of harnessing the true potential of your workforce. At Surf Office, we work with you to create a custom retreat that suits your needs and delivers results

Surf Office has years of experience planning successful team-building retreats for companies such as Google, WordPress, Stripe, and Shopify. Working with us gives you instant access to our refined network and our in-depth knowledge of epic locations all over the world. 

Let us plan your company retreat so you and your team can continue doing what you do best!

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