What separates the mediocre teams from the spectacular teams — the ones who lead their companies to explosive growth, tremendous profits, and extraordinary levels of productivity? Believe it or not, it’s as simple as good communication. Here are the communication traits that make for super teamwork and how your team can achieve the same results.
1. Great Teams Embrace Their Differences
Teams that don’t get much done are the ones who say things like, “Sue is just too quiet,” or “James is so unorganized.” The great teams understand that different traits, skills and talents present in different forms. For example, Sue is likely a deep thinker, and if her team learns to give her time and space, she’s likely to produce some incredible insights. James is probably a creative person, and if given a chance, can develop some out-of-the-box solutions that others never considered. Embrace differences, because those represent different strengths that will add to the power of your team.
2. Great Teams Share Goals and Aspirations
Would your team express their goals as, “I hope I … ” or as, “We hope we …”? If the answer is the former, your team probably won’t go very far. As it turns out, your tee-ball coach was right, there is no “I” in team. The best teams share their goals and work together for common success. The teams that don’t can’t expect to see success as a group at all, and are lucky if any individual members are able to make a mark for themselves. A whole team of great thinkers and collaborators is always better than one.
3. Great Teams Leverage Their Tools Wisely
Do your team members all have separate to-do lists, calendars, and contact lists? Or, does your team share these tools? Teams that do great things are those who coordinate, consolidate, and approach their tasks and challenges as a unified group. Empower your team with a flexible tool that is built for communication and collaboration, and one that makes it easy to share schedules, priorities, lists and works in progress.
4. Great Teams Show One Another Respect
Respect does not mean team members always agree. It doesn’t mean they never argue or that they approve of everything the other people do. What respect means is that even when they don’t agree, they do so respectfully. There is no name calling, nothing said behind someone’s back, and nothing done that anyone regrets. Great teams are respectful even when they aren’t in agreement over how to proceed.
5. Great Teams Take Risks but Do It With Smarts
Taking risks is necessary to break away from the norm and become something fantastic. P.T. Barnum did something out of the ordinary. So did Henry Ford, George Washington Carver, Steve Jobs, and Larry Page. But excellent teams take smart risks, not irresponsible ones. Recklessness almost never produces great results.
6. Great Teams Adapt to Changes Quickly and Easily
Change is going to happen. The difference between the great teams and the not-so-great teams is that the great ones embrace change, adapt to it, and use it to their advantage. The others resist change, complain about it, and make sure to showcase their disdain for the “new way” by lowering their productivity, decreasing their efficiency, and blaming the poor results on the instruments of the change. Which group do you want to be a part of?
7. Great Communicating Teams Hold Themselves and Each Other Accountable
Teams that don’t achieve consistent results make excuses for why they aren’t as successful as they should be. Their manager isn’t supportive. They don’t have the right tools. The air conditioning is too high, and there is never any fresh coffee in the break room! The great teams know that success (or the lack of) rests squarely on their shoulders. They take ownership and responsibility for their actions and the consequences of their actions, and they hold the other team members (respectfully) accountable, as well.
Teach your team to be great. Hire the right workers, give them the right tools, provide them with the best training, and demand their very best. It’s what all great team leaders expect.