There is no I in team.


As humans, we seek out companionship and camaraderie with other like-minded individuals. After all, Homo sapiens are social creatures. Whether it be for survival or to work towards a common goal, we do our best work in a group. A la divide and conquer and all that.


And this extends to the modern day workplace. The power of teamwork lies in its capacity to perform at all levels and to deliver results which are greater than the sum of its parts.


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Managers and leaders often put a great deal of effort into assembling their teams. And they also spend a considerable amount of resources to ensure that their teams reach their full potential. But, there is more to it than lumping skilled individuals together and calling it a team. Things like personality, work ethic, and teamwork play a role in getting the ideal results as a team.


For team members, recognizing when a team is doing well is important. However, it is also vital to make positive changes when improvements are needed.


That said, it is sometimes helpful to take a step back in order to recognize when a team is working effectively. This is fairly important as it is not always obvious that a team is meshing well together.


So, what are the habits and characteristics of a highly effective team?


1. Having Trust Between Teammates Is Essential In A Highly Effective Team


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Being in a working environment, trust is often a precious commodity.


People always say that it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. And we agree to that to an extent. You won’t find a shortage of people who will throw you under the bus when it comes to getting that promotion. Nor will you find it easy to maintain relationships with your coworkers because they are always trying to outshine you and look good to the bosses.


But, being in a team entails teamwork whether you like it or not. Transparency is a must for any effective team. Effective teams operate in an environment where they have each other’s backs. They take risks and share successes and praise as a unit.


But more importantly, a team should share the burden of blame together. Whether it be a mistake by one of its members or a misstep as a whole, highly effective teams should always band together no matter the circumstances.


Besides, being in a trustful team will allow the aforementioned mistakes to be easily highlighted and fixed ASAP. And in the best case scenario, the whole team gets to grow by learning from their mistakes.


In short, working as a team in a trust-filled environment breaks down barriers and allows individuals to be more vulnerable.


2. Highly Effective Teams Foster A Positive Environment


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There is a common misconception that a highly effective team should be in constant harmony. On a surface level, a harmonious and no-conflict situation between teammates is desirable. But is it really a good thing?


As individuals, we each have our own upbringings and values. When you put a bunch of these individuals together in a group, there is bound to be conflicting values. Thus, if a team only agrees and gets along all the time, something is definitely off.


So what should an effective team do you might add? Effective teams debate, and we’re not talking about arguing for the sake of arguing. Fostering an environment where you can debate positively between one another is the ideal scenario here. In this way, your team will flourish in a positive setting.


And with trust as a core, this debate will prove to be an invaluable exercise for any team. In the best case, teammates will be able to work out their differences while also fleshing out ideas, concepts, and strategies in the process.


3. Highly Effective Teams Always Keep Their Eyes On The Prize


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In essence, great teams are mission- or goal-oriented. An effective team is one that tends to have the end goal in mind. And an excellent team will be one that is working towards that direction early on.


Even if each team member is working on different aspects of a project, effective teams understand the end goal. They understand the mission and the roles they have to play to work towards that goal.


To that end, your team’s motivation also plays a vital role in scoring the all-important end goal. Always consider the energy levels of your team members. And you should also consider your team’s morale, whether individual or as a whole. Also, competition between members should be kept to a minimum. Try to work out if this competition is working for or against the team.


How would one motivate the team? Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing the team together for a short meeting. Try to set goals and reinforce success. Also, being persistent will help to increase team motivation and morale.


4. Highly Effective Teams Are Result Oriented


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What use is a team if they do not produce results?


There is a misconception that any effective team should always produce the best results, no matter the circumstance. Basically, the team has to always hit the mark. But success is not always guaranteed, especially on complex projects. Effective teams do not over-celebrate their wins or get too low following a loss.


Whether positive results or not, highly effective teams should always remain result oriented. Teams that take the time to study their results are able to learn and refine their mistakes. And hopefully, their results will change for the better the next time around.  


5. Any Highly Effective Teams Needs A Culture of Leadership


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We all know intuitively that any effective team should have a leader to guide the group to victory. But, the leadership role is just that, a role. And everyone within the team needs to be a leader of sorts at times.


More specifically, any one team member should be able to step up to the plate when it comes to leading the team. And more importantly, there could be times where you’ll have more than one leader in a team. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Multiple leaders working together for the team will help in maintaining work efficiency.


The key to having a culture of leadership in a team is communication, transparency, and trust.


When team members are not worried about who gets the credit, they work with clearer minds. Teams that have all the criteria above are not worried about people trying to be the leader. It’s more about the team owning its work and supporting each other because they want the team to be more successful than any one individual.


Final Word


Does your team exhibit any of these habits? Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your team’s leadership methods? And is your team working to its maximum potential?


If not, you should spend time working on these five areas to improve workflow and efficiency in your team. Master these habits and you’ll have a recipe for a highly effective team. Watch the exponential explosion in the performance of your team today!