• Patty Stern

Characteristics of Successful Teams

Written by Paul White l Appreciation at Work


Thoughts from Patty: This article simply jumped out at me! During the span of my career, I've served on so many boards, worked alongside so many colleagues, collaborated with so many clients, and built teams toward tremendous success! Funny thing is, people don't seem to really stop and think about HOW the team is created, WHO is really the team leader, and HOW the leadership affected the success. I've watched history repeat itself as the team gets overly excited about their successes and doesn't pause long enough to reflect on WHY the success happened! One piece of Paul's article that really resonates for me? That there can only be ONE clearly designated leader on a team and team members follow the leadership. "Too many cooks in the kitchen" still rings true today. Enjoy the article and please SHARE it because there's many knowledge nuggets in here!


Although working with a team of very talented, capable and successful professionals can be fun and exciting, these teams can be challenging as well.

But there are factors, when built into the team effort, that can make these “All-Star” teams incredibly impactful. Examples can be taken from many areas of life: music groups, sports teams, legal and political teams, strategic business partnerships.

Unfortunately, many examples of “Super Teams” that failed also exist – which leads to the question: What are the necessary ingredients for success?


Ingredients for Highly Successful Teams

*Team members voluntarily submit to a selected leader (or leaders). Clear, designated leadership is critical; although it can be more than one person working together as leaders.  Team members must consistently follow their leadership, even when they disagree with the leader(s) (and they will).

*Individuals focus on using their talents what is needed for team success.

In a team endeavor, individual stars may not shine as brightly or accomplish individual feats. Rather, they figure out how to mesh with the other team members to use their talents for the team’s success.

*Team members value and appreciate the role and contributions of other team members.

Not only might team members moderate certain aspects of their performance to mesh together with others, they also truly value the strengths their teammates bring to the team effort. A genuine mutual respect among the colleagues exists, and is communicated freely.

*The approach or strategies used by the team to reach success may be different than previous successful strategies used by the individual team members. Certain strategies work well for individual tasks, but frequently different approaches are needed for cooperative ventures. Deference to the team leader(s) and accepting their approach for the team is critical in this area for the team to be successful.

*A disciplined, strategic approach to reach the team goal guides the behavior and choices of each team member.

This may seem redundant, but the issue is that many times “All-Star” teams are put together for a specific project or limited time. Otherwise, most highly successful professionals would not be willing to participate in a cooperative project because it would interfere with their personal career and requires them to perform in ways they are not typically used to.

Action step: Take a look at yourself and the teams on which you are functioning. See which of these issues are present in your team and which areas need to be strengthened. Identify the area in which you need to improve and take steps to do so.

Being on a successful team with talented team members can be a fun ride, but working together well takes effort and intentionality.


Link to original article: https://www.appreciationatwork.com/blog/characteristics-of-successful-teams/

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